Category: Field reports Page 2 of 4

Peerless Bumrah is India’s MVP

Boom. Boom. Boom.

The chants in the stands at Southampton from a sizeable Indian crowd began mutedly, but built up a steady head of steam and exploded in raucous crescendos. They pretty much mirrored the bowling action of Jasprit Bumrah — the man being celebrated — to perfection.

When Bumrah is at the top of his mark he appears to be ready to do anything but bowl fast. His first few steps are baby shuffles, his build up more of a person running to catch a train than an athlete aiming for peak speed but when reaches the bowling crease there is an explosive release of energy. 

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An Indian summer begins in Southampton

The beer had not travelled too well from Indore, described as flat and tasteless by one group of discerning patrons who had travelled some way to watch the match. The samosas, crispy on the outside and flavourful on the inside, flew off the shelves at the concession stalls in the stands. 

The approach to the ground experienced traffic disruptions because a politician was travelling to a nearby town. In the stands, in a box of their own were at least 13 members of a leading business family that also owns an Indian Premier League team.

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Bearded Harry Potter kicks off World Cup

It can be confirmed that rumours of the 2019 Cricket World Cup having begun on May 30 are, in fact, true. But for cricket fans from the most populous participating nation, the tournament begins today, when India play their first match.

Considering that India seem to have been in England for an eternity — they’ve had enough time to go paint balling in the woods and take selfies with Harry Kane — but have not yet been called up to play a match. As has been widely reported, this was to allow the team a sufficient gap, and rest, after the completion of the IPL, but it also gives them a significant advantage.

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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.”

Read the full article on the Economic Times

Switched-on India Show Intent to Outplay Pakistan

Pakistan chose to bat. They slip-slid their way to 162. India knocked off the runs in 29 overs with eight wickets to spare. Perfect game for India? Well, yes and no.

Read the full article on CricketNext.com

Is the Asia Cup more about getting India and Pakistan to play each other?

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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?

For the players, there is only way to approach such a game — like it is a cricket contest, and no different from one against any other top team. If they get caught up in the hype and hoopla — such as the war of words between the fans or the provocative ranting of certain television anchors — they simply would not be able to play.

Read the full article at ThePrint.in READ MORE

High-octane Water, Dubai Vada Pav and the Power of the National Anthem

Dubai International Cricket Stadium in all its glory

The gates at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium open at 1.30pm for a 3.30pm start in the match between India and Hong Kong.There’s a bit of a crowd milling about, and a decent number in the stands. The empty seats look worse than they actually are because this is a big stadium, seating up to 25000.

Once the toss is done, though and news spreads that India are batting first, there’s a steady inflow. The number of blue India shirts in the stands steadily increases, tickets in the AED 45 and 75 categories still being available for the match.

As the sun sets – which is scorching enough in the stands to make one fan observe that a case could be made for the players to be sent back to the dressing-room on the basis of cruelty – the influx increases dramatically.

It is now that families with young children step out in Dubai, and it’s difficult to make an exception, even to watch India play.

The main beneficiaries of the conditions are the company selling chilled water in half-litre bottles and the ice cream stand that does brisk business. As with all things Dubai, however, the pricing of these commodities is a touch confusing.

While 120-ml of top-shelf praline or Belgian chocolate ice cream costs AED 10 (Rs 200) the small bottle of water goes for half that much. But then, in the heat, not everyone can survive on ice-cream alone!

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When it’s time for the national anthems, a lovely quiet settles on the ground. The Bollywood numbers being belted out of the high-decibel boom-boxes go silent, the public address announcers stops his “jeetega bhai jeetega …” exhortations and without being told to fans in the stands take bums off seats and stand.

A good many take out their cellphones to try and capture the moment, but for Indians living in Dubai, mainly to earn a living, the first few strains of Jana Gana Mana are enough to set them off. Most tuck their phones back in and put hand to heart.

Check out the full diary and photos at CricketNext.com READ MORE

Hope you’ve got a conscience left, letter asks BCCI super boss Vinod Rai

Will Vinod Rai reply to the third letter he has got on a serious subject?

Who is Aditya Verma? Until recently, he was an unknown official from the unrecognised Cricket Association of Bihar, but in recent times, he has become the most litigious cricket board official of all time.

It is an open secret that he was used to file multiple cases against board officials, and that the lawyers who spoke for him were among the most expensive in the country and paid for by vested interests, but all those suits were heard.

Now, Verma finds himself in the middle of yet another imbroglio, but this time his targets are those who he earlier fought for.

There are allegations that a senior employee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) behaved inappropriately with a female member of his staff, which culminated in her abrupt abdication of office on 12 February.

Further, Verma alleges that these breaches were brought to the notice of Vinod Rai, the head of the Committee of Administrators appointed by the Supreme Court to oversee the clean-up of the system. And yet, the man in charge did nothing to redress the situation.

n a third letter written by Verma to Rai, accessed by ThePrint, the language is blunt.

“As I had anticipated, there is no response from you or an action on the various issues raised by me in my last two communications to you dated 14.09.2018 and 15.09.2018. I am still hopeful that there is some semblance of conscience still left in your soul that troubles you when you ignore a genuine cry informing you about actions that trample on the dreams and rights of people who are unable to raise their voice because of pressures being applied on them,” the letter states.

Verma goes on to appeal to “the integrity” in Rai and pleads with him to ensure that “there is no shady activity being swept under the carpet”.

His questions to Rai, however biased or motivated, bear a response from someone who has served the country for years and built a name for himself on exposing malpractice.

Read the full story on ThePrint.in READ MORE

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.
They were whipped by Bangladesh in the Asia Cup 2018 and had to beat Afghanistan by a long way to keep their prospects alive. Instead, they could do no better than allow Afghanistan to score 249 and then implode in style.

Kusal Mendis went in the second ball, but Sri Lanka were 54 for 1 at the end of 13 overs. Then the wheels slowly but surely came off. It was not as though one Afghan bowler produced a freakishly brilliant performance to stun a better team — the wickets were shared equitably — but this was a rout nonetheless.

Rashid Khan, the most exotic and dangerous of Afghanistan’s bowlers, wasn’t even called on to finish his 10 overs. He complemented the early wicket of Kusal Perera with the last scalp of Lasith Malinga, and ended with 2 for 26 with 16 potential balls of his breed of leg-spin going spare.

Read the full piece on CricketNext.com
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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.

On Tuesday, Hong Kong will play India but before that the two teams will rub shoulders at the International Cricket Council Academy ground when they practice together. Rohit Sharma is the friendly sort and if Hong Kong’s players want to have a word he will gladly engage and perhaps even ask a question or two about India’s Wednesday opponents.

The Pakistan-Hong Kong match was understandably one-sided – Hong Kong have just 800 active cricketers, about how many you see on a single Mumbai maidan on any given morning – and Pakistan were just too strong for them. Hong Kong don’t even have permanent One-Day International status, although the two matches they play in this tournament will be officially recognised.

Read the full piece on CricketNext.com READ MORE

Star Sports upset Virat Kohli not playing Asia Cup

Star Sports are miffed that Virat Kohli is missing the Asia Cup

There is trouble brewing between Indian cricket board and Star, the host broadcaster of the Asia Cup.

A sharp exchange of emails between Rahul Johri, the BCCI chief executive, Thushith Perera of the Asian Cricket Council, and Sunil Manoharan, a senior executive at Star, accessed by ThePrint, lays bare some serious issues of disagreement over the selection of the Indian squad for the tournament that has just begun in the United Arab Emirates.

Star first wrote to Perera on 6 September, reminding him that it was imperative that teams participating in the Asia Cup field their best players.

Read the full story on ThePrint.in READ MORE

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