Category: Analysis (Page 1 of 4)

Cricket in the Emirates without Sharjah? But why?

Inside one mall, you can ski down an 85 metre slope — about the height of 25 storeys — perfectly snow-clad, all year round, even if the temperature is pushing 50°C outside. In another, you can get in a protective cage and, wetsuits and breathing gear in place, feed sharks, even as experienced divers draw them to you. In a third location, you can experience the thrill of sky diving, without being anywhere near the sky or even jumping, forget about diving — the wind tunnel doing all the work for you.

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All that you missed from the Asia Cup

There's no better banter than India v Pakistan in the UAE

There’s no better banter than India v Pakistan in the UAE

The past week has been a bit of a blur with so much action in the Asia Cup that it has been difficult to keep up with posting here. But, fear not, here are a few things you might have missed out on:

What’s it like to watch an India-Pakistan match in the stands with an Indian-Pakistani couple?

Seated in front of your correspondent were three Pakistanis and one Indian, all clearly friends two possibly a couple. The banter began right then. “I told you before we came here. Bat first, make 270 and the game is ours.”

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Catch up on the India-Pakistan previews

India v Pakistan, were you there?

Too much happened too fast for us to update this page. That’s what India v Pakistan does. But words were written in the meantime, and you might want to check them out:

India vs Pakistan: Hong Kong Alert India to Potential Banana Peels on Road to World Cup
Did India take their opening match of the Asia Cup, against Hong Kong, lightly? No. Did they use the opportunity of playing against an unestablished team as a chance to try a few things? Yes. Were they right in doing so? Absolutely. With the World Cup approximately nine months away, and India playing 20-odd 50-over matches in the meantime, any chance to nail down their best players in the top order and lower middle-order cannot be wasted. Read a full preview on CricketNext.com
India plays Pakistan in Asia Cup match in Dubai today. Need more be said?

There’s a huge difference between the way cricketers approach a game and the way fans and supporters approach it. If ever proof was needed, one should look no further than an India-Pakistan match.

It does not matter if the match is a dead rubber at the end of a bilateral series, a World Cup match, or what’s unfolding now, the Asia Cup. Why, there’s a distinct possibility that India could play Pakistan thrice in this short tournament, if the results work out right. How’s that for managing a mini-series even when the governments can’t agree to play each other bilaterally?

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Afghanistan Loss Sees One-time Trailblazers Sri Lanka’s Struggles Carry On

A team that won a World Cup wasn’t even competitive in the Asia Cup

Is it possible to feel empathy for a larger cause even when your team loses? Is it necessary to feel sympathy for a team that loses matches it should have won? Is it relevant that a team that won a World Cup can’t even hold its own in an Asia Cup?

The short answer is that any tournament is poorer when Sri Lanka are eliminated early. Cricketers from Sri Lanka are not merely skilful, they are usually fairly unique, exceptionally talented and the kind of gents you would welcome into your home.

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New-look Pakistan Provide India a Glimpse of What to Expect in Blockbuster Clash

Mercurial Pakistan? Not as much as you think.

Two Indians have already felt the full force of what this Pakistan team is capable of in the Asia Cup. Well, in a roundabout way. Anshuman Rath, Hong Kong born and bred in England, in the fabled Harrow school where he took up a place as a boarder at 14 to pursue cricket was dismissed by Faheem Ashraf and Kinchit Shah, born in Mumbai but having played for Hong Kong through age-group cricket, made 26 before Hasan Ali got him.

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Malinga slings back into menacing form

Lasith Malinga returned to ODI cricket with a fiery spell in Dubai

Rilava bene, girava gahe.
For all non-Sinhala speakers, this pithy sentence was the one that banished Lasith Malinga to the wilderness. When Sri Lanka’s Sports Minister, Dayasiri Jayasekara, questioned the fitness levels of certain members of the team in June 2017, it was widely assumed he was taking a dig at Malinga.

The response? Rilava bene, girava gahe. Roughly translated from Sinhala, this equates to: “What does a monkey know about a parrot’s nest? This is like a monkey getting into a parrot’s nest and talking about it.”

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And we’re back!

The Asia Cup 2018 has begun in Dubai and it’s time to get into the groove once more. Check out some of the early missives from the cricket ground in the middle of the desert.

India are always favourites, but Pakistan are at home in Dubai and the rest aren’t here to make up the numbers

As simple as the flicking of a switch or the changing of channels with the press of a button on your remote, Indian fans will be transported from the relatively cool heat-wave climes of England, where India lost 1-4, to Dubai, where it will be 40 degrees centigrade in the shade, the cricket balls white and kit blue.

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Vintage Yuvraj puts Pakistan in the shade

Yuvraj Singh

It was a Yuvraj special that made the difference in Birmingham

Yuvraj Singh announced his arrival in international cricket in a tournament then known as the International Cricket Council KnockOut in Nairobi. Exactly 295 One-Day Internationals later, he was difference between a decent score and a matchwinning one in the ICC Champions Trophy, a solid 17 years later.

The stage changed from sunny Nairobi to wet Birmingham, the tournament renamed itself, the opposition was not Steve Waugh’s Australia but Sarfaraz Ahmed’s Pakistan. One thing remained endearingly the same: Yuvraj dug out a Glenn McGrath full ball with ferocious intent then, and Hasan Ali suffered the same fate, the followthrough that once reminded the late great Hanif Mohammad of Garry Sobers, being shortened to an economical punch.

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Williamson is more than able to compete with the best

Kane Williamson

Kane Williamson is more than able to compete with the best

For all those people wondering why the Indian team’s principal sponsor is a Chinese mobile phone manufacturer while India’s biggest dairy producer is proudly on the front of the Black Caps’ jerseys, Kane Williamson provided the answer on a rain-drenched Friday in Birmingham.

After scoring a century that was typically smooth, not one shot played in anger despite bringing up three figures off only 96 balls against an Australian attack that was rated among the best at the Champions Trophy, Williamson refused to curse his team’s luck after rain cut short Australia’s innings with them 25 runs behind on the Duckworth-Lewis Stern curve.

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All-round India too good for Pakistan

India v Pakistan

Predictable Pakistan are mercurial no more

It was not so long ago that Indian fans went into a World Cup honestly thinking that the final result was irrelevant. Reaching the final was good, winning would be a bonus, but beating Pakistan on the way there was non-negotiable. In Birmingham at the 2017 Champions Trophy there was a mildly anti-climactic feel toIndia’s comfortable 124-run win.

Here was a Pakistan team that neither mercurial nor unpredicatable. Here was an Indian team on top of its game in almost every respect. For once, India even had a fast-bowling attack far superior to the one it was facing. There was no Imran, no Wasim, no Waqar, no Shoaib, and only in Mohammad Amir’s first spell, especially the testing maiden over to Rohit Sharma first up did the match feel like a contest.

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