Tag: Economic Times

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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Cricket in the time of terror

India v Pakistan

The on-field action was largely calm and quiet

It was not quite Nero fiddling while Rome burned, but there was an eerie sense of calm at leafy Edgbaston where India and Pakistan played cricket in the backdrop of the atrocities of London. Not one full sleep after a van mowed down pedestrians on London Bridge, that most English of landmarks, and knife-wielding men slashed and stabbed people at a restaurant in Borough Market, cricket provided a soothing oasis of normalcy.

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Guha wields the sword in exit

Ram Guha

Guha’s resignation made clear the divisions within the CoA

There is an irony to the fact that Ramachandra Guha’s greatest impact on the governance of Indian cricket could have been his resignation, rather than anything he achieved in his short tenure.

Guha, a lover of certain aspects of the game, a historian with impeccable credentials in his area of expertise was an unusual choice, to say the least, for a seat on the Committee of Administrators. Certainly the haughty attitude he had towards Twenty20 cricket in general, and the Indian Premier League, in particular, left many wondering how he would reconcile his personal opinions with his professional ones.

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What next for inventive Birmingham?

Birmingham

The world has much to thank Birmingham for

Maternity, it is often said, is a certainty, while paternity is a myth. And so it bears that necessity may be the mother of invention, but Birmingham never got credit for being the father.

Anyone reading these words, with acceptable and understandable skepticism should know they would not be doing so, if not for the good folk of the City of a Thousand Trades.

After all, it was Conway Berners-Lee, Birmingham bred, who brought the world the first computer, the Ferranti Mark 1, in 1951, and whose son Tim put forward the first proposal for something that we now know as the World Wide Web, in 1989. But before solving the transmission conundrum, there was the small matter of listening to the players, and Birmingham’s Michael Gerzon invented the microphone, in 1975. Go back further to 1822 and you can thank John Mitchell, who pioneered the technology of mass producing steel-nib pens when the quill was still mightier than the sword.

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Off the field, this Rahul is still silken

KL Rahul nurses his injured shoulder

KL Rahul nurses his injured shoulder

On a warm summer’s afternoon an unremarkable scene plays out in a coffee shop just out of range of a long Chinnaswamy Stadium drive from Chris Gayle. Four young men are huddled around a table, dressed fashionably casually, beards, sassy spiked hair, flip-flops and tee-shirts of varying hues, sipping exotic teas. But there is something remarkable about one of those young men, KL Rahul, who has enjoyed one of the best years of his fledgling cricket career. Recovering from a shoulder injury that needed surgical intervention, Rahul is forced to cool his heels, missing the very tournament that provided the breakthrough in his career.

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One man’s Wisden is another’s IPL

April is Wisden and IPL

April is synonymous with Wisden in England and IPL in India  © Economic Times

There are very few things that purists and modernists agree on in cricket. The older, wiser, more traditional lot believe that Test cricket is the only form of the game that really counts, that whites are colour of cricket and that anything else is not quite cricket. The younger, fresher, more mobile lot have no appetite for games that go five days without a clear winner, want their runs and wickets bookended by pom-pom wielding cheerleaders and that anything longer than a feature film is a waste of time.

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How Kohli won hearts while losing ‘friends’

Virat Kohli

Kohli’s India won’t take a backward step
© Economic Times

Virat Kohli is no sore loser, so it was ironic that the afterglow of his greatest series victory was tinged with bitterness. India got the better of Australia, 2-1, with an emphatic victory in Dharamsala but even as Kohli won hearts through a glorious home season that ended with India having beaten all opposition, he found that the people he once considered friends were anything but.

With India being the No. 1 Test team in the world, and having the rare honour of simultaneously holding victories against each of the other nine teams in the world, with the ICC’s US$ 1 million coming their way and the Indian board announcing generous bonuses, it should have been all smiles. But, the toxic undercurrent that has poisoned this series left Kohli with no option but to reassess his relationship with some members of the opposition.

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Jadeja’s sword cuts deep

Economic Times, March 28

With bat and ball, Jadeja showed why is India’s MVP, Man of the Match and Series
© Economic Times

He rides horses, he plays with swords, he owns a restaurant, oh and he bats, bowls and fields well enough to turn a Test match on its head. What’s not to like about Ravindra Jadeja? For years Jadeja had to put up with cruel ridicule from fans who thought this creature was more strange than wonderful. Was he a bowler who could bat a bit? Was he a batsman who might chip in with the ball? Those questions and several others were answered in Dharamsala on Monday, when Jadeja came up with the kind of performance worthy of any allrounder worth his name, and tipped the scales firmly in India’s favour.

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Day 2: Dharamsala decider evenly poised

Economic Times, March 27

At the end of the second day the match was poised on knife’s edge
© Economic Times

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and you will find; knock and it shall be opened unto you. The Australian cricket team might have met the Dalai Lama on the eve of the Dharamsala Test, but it was these words, Matthew 7:7, from the King James Bible that typified their effort on a second day’s play that left the game poised on the proverbial knife’s edge.

Josh Hazlewood asked questions with the dexterity and tact of an interrogator wearing down a stubborn suspect, marrying nagging accuracy and monstrous movement off the cracks in the pitch, and the wicket of M Vijay was given to him, the batsman playing at a ball that was short enough to leave after being given a torrid time.

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Kohli deserved more backing from the BCCI

Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli’s strong statements should have been backed up more strongly by the BCCI
© Economic Times

The video that you’ve been waiting to watch has downloaded 99% and just as you get ready to click play, the connection drops. The ATM that hasn’t been refilled in a week is finally working and after waiting patiently in the queue, it runs out of cash just as you reach the door. The European vacation you’ve been planning your whole life is within reach thanks to a bonus, but you can’t get a visa because your passport is about to expire. These are the kind of third-world problems that readers of this column will only be too familiar with.

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