Mar 24, 2011

India's Sachin Tendulkar falls shy of 100th ton but racks up 18,000 one-day runs

Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar, India's in-form batting maestro, missed a chance to score his 100th international hundred when he fell short in the World Cup quarter-final against Australia.

Tendulkar, 37, looked in sublime form during his 68-ball innings, hitting seven fours on his way to 53. It was his 94th one-day half-century for India.

Tendulkar edged paceman Shaun Tait to wicket-keeper Brad Haddin in the 19th over and had started walking when umpire Marais Erasmus called him back while he confirmed the legality of the delivery.

Once the replays showed that the delivery was legal, Tendulkar walked away, much to the disappointment of the frenzied crowd packed in to the Sardar Patel stadium for India's do-or-die encounter.

Nevertheless, the veteran batsman, playing his sixth World Cup and probably his last, completed 18,000 one-day runs in the process, consolidating his position as the most prolific one day batsman of all time.

Sri Lankan Sanath Jayasuriya is second with 13,428 runs, while Australian captain Ricky Ponting is third on 13,288.


Mar 21, 2011

To win the World Cup, you have to beat them all: Yuvraj

Yuvraj Singh
Agar harenge to pata hain humein kya hone walah hain!' (If we lose we know what's in store). Yuvraj Singh was laughing when he said that. But he gave the impression along the course of a media conference after the match on Sunday that he was fighting a battle for the team against the Indian media.

"Don't you think you are not practising enough?" somebody asked him the question and that added fuel to the fire. "We know our bodies, we know how to go about it...It's the media that is saying we are not practising. It's your problem, not ours," it seemed that Yuvraj was carrying the mood of his batting to the press conference room.

The left-hander looked relieved that he has delivered the goods just when it mattered. This was his first international century after a gap of two years and he wants to take the good form into the quarterfinal against Australia. "Obviously, I am feeling good about it...Wickets, runs...I think it's all going well," Yuvi's answers were short, crisp and incisive.

Now they are up against Australia and when somebody asked whether they would have preferred some other team in the quarters, Yuvi shot back. "Boss, if we have to win the World Cup, we have to beat every team...It doesn't matter if we are playing Australia or Sri Lanka."

Aussies have three quicks in Brett Lee, Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson in the line-up. So, will the short ball be a problem? "We wouldn't have been the No. 1 Test playing nation and No. 2 ODI nation if we struggled against the short ball...Don't say such things to me," Yuvi seemed to pull the query out of the park.

India are going off the boil a number of times and there was a situation on Sunday as well when the bowlers struggled to get that breakthrough. When asked about it, the left-hander said that it's a matter of keeping the faith in the bowlers.

"When things get tough, it's important that we don't lose confidence in the bowlers...We knew somebody or the other will strike when it matters and that's what happened. Zaheer got two, I got a couple, and we finally won the match," Yuvraj said.

Mar 19, 2011

Sania-Vesnina in Indian Wells doubles final

Sania and Vesnina
India's Sania Mirza and Elena Vesnina of Russia blasted past Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia and Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland 6-0, 6-4 in the semifinals of the $4.5-million Indian Wells WTA event late on Thursday.

In the title round on Saturday, the Indo-Russian pairing, who are yet to drop a set in the tournament, will play the American combine of Bethanie-Mattek Sands and Meghan Shaugnessy.

Mar 18, 2011

Akhtar fastest bowler I have ever faced: Ponting

Shoaib akhtar
Australian captain Ricky Ponting on Friday hailed retiring Pakistani tearaway pacer Shoaib Akhtar as an outstanding cricketer and the fastest bowler he has ever faced.

"Congratulations to him for being an outstanding cricketer," Ponting said of Akhtar who on Thursday announced his retirement from international cricket after the ongoing World Cup.

"I had some great duels with Shoaib over the years. To this day I always said he is the fastest bowler I have faced in international cricket," said Ponting of Akhtar, who broke the 100mph barrier in 2003.

Ponting said particularly he remembered a fierce spell from Akhtar at Perth in 1999.

"There's one spell that everyone can watch on internet of him bowling to me at WACA. That was reasonably entertaining - more so for Justin Langer, who was at the other end laughing at me all the time when I was trying to keep Shoaib's deliveries out. He was express pace, a very good bowler," the Australian said.

Ponting lamented the fact that Akhtar had a injury-prone career, which had reduced his international appearances.

"Over the years he's had his fair share of injuries that have not allowed him to play as much as he would have liked. But even in this tournament so far, you can see that he's still got it with the new ball. He still has good pace, and his experience has helped him at different times as well," he said.

Akhtar returned the compliments, describing Ponting as one of the best batsmen he had ever played against.

"I admire the way Ponting bats. He is one of my favourites, like Brian Lara and Adam Gilchrist," said Akhtar.

Mar 15, 2011

Strauss, Swann suffering from stomach bugs

Strauss and Swann
Andrew Strauss and Graeme Swann missed training in Chennai on Tuesday after being laid low by stomach bugs, though both are expected to be fit in time for England's must-win match against West Indies on Thursday.

Strauss is also England's leading run-scorer in this World Cup with 298 at nearly a run-a-ball, while the first-choice spinner Swann is their joint highest wicket-taker with nine.

England batsman Jonathan Trott, however, was keen to emphasise after the practice session that both unwell players would recover in time for the West Indies match, which England must win to have a chance of making the quarter-finals.

"They are two key players in our side, in anybody's side they would be, especially with Andrew being captain, but I'm fully confident they will be alright," Trott said. "These things are usually 24-48 hour things. I'm glad it happened sort of now and not tomorrow. Hopefully they will be alright tomorrow for training"

England have already lost two high-profile players since arriving in the subcontinent, with batsman Kevin Pietersen returning home for hernia surgery and Stuart Broad picking up a side strain. They play their final league match at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, where they pulled off a comeback win over South Africa nine days ago. That result has kept them in contention for a quarter-final spot despite shock defeats to Ireland and Bangladesh.

Mar 10, 2011

Kamran gets A category despite poor World Cup show

Following the poor performance behind the stumps in the mega event, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has rewarded incompetent wicket keeper Kamran Akmal with A category central contract for the next 12 months.

Kamran Akmal
The strange things are always bound to be happened only in the PCB as yesterday they announced the names of 19 players selected for the Central Contracts. Kamran Akmal is included in the highest category, who dropped Ross Taylor twice when he was on 0 & 4 and also dropped Styris off Afridi, will get Rs. 250,000/- as monthly salary.

It is also important to mention here that Kamran Akmal also missed two stumping chances of Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakarra in their important Group A match. Kamran included in A category with players like one-day and twenty20 captain Shahid Afridi, test skipper Misbah-ul-Haq, Younus Khan, Abdul Razzaq, Umar Gul and Shoaib Akhtar.

Hafeez, Abdur Rehman, Umar Akmal, Saeed Ajmal and Wahab Riaz are included in B category who will get Rs. 175,000/- as monthly salary.

Taufiq Umer, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Ahmed Shehzad, Adnan Akmal, Tanvir Ahmed and Junaind Khan are placed in C category where they will draw Rs. 100,000/- as monthly salary. 

Mar 9, 2011

Who do you think will win the Cricket World Cup?

Ross Taylor

New Zealand celebrated a Ross Taylor-led 110-run victory over Pakistan but they face the disaster of potentially losing skipper Daniel Vettori to a tournament-ending knee injury.

Vettori fell awkwardly attempting to catch a miscued lofted on-drive from Kamran Akmal off Tim Southee in the sixth over. He hobbled from the field but needed the support of two management staff to get to the pavilion.

The team's next game is against Canada.

Mar 8, 2011

Stuart Broad an injury doubt for England

Stuart Broad
A side strain picked up by Stuart Broad in England's dramatic win over South Africa could end his involvement in the Cricket World Cup.

The results of a scan are due later this afternoon (March 8th) and are likely to determine whether Broad will become England's second long-term injury casualty in the space of three days, with Kevin Pietersen's trip having already been cut short by a hernia injury.

Broad, who took 4-15 in the match on Sunday, is a major doubt for Friday's match against Bangladesh.

However, he is hopeful that the injury will not end his involvement in the Cricket World Cup, particularly since his Ashes campaign was disrupted by a similar complaint.

"I'm not too down at the minute because I don't know what the injury is. But obviously, I'll be bitterly disappointed if it's the end of my World Cup," Broad commented.

"It's in a different area. I didn't get the short stabbing pain that I did in the Ashes, so that's a good sign this is not as severe as that."

Ajmal Shahzad is a likely replacement for Broad should he fail to recover in time to face Bangladesh.

Mar 3, 2011

Ireland Vs England : Expert Analysis – ICC World Cup 2011

After eliminating Pakistan from the ICC World Cup 2007 in the West Indies and becoming one of the reasons behind Pakistani coach Bob Woolmer's departure from this world, the Irish cricket team rose to the occasion once again and hammered England in a group ‘B’ match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. The English team's wounds might not be able to match those of Pakistan’s but Andrew Strauss and company will be shattered to say the least.

Ireland vs England
Apart from one of the biggest upsets of the game, the match between England and Ireland will be remembered as one of the best spectacles of One Day International (ODI) cricket. It was a record breaking encounter in more ways than one.

England posted a mammoth total of 327 runs in the first innings and most cricket analysts were predicting that the English team will run away with the match, especially when the Irish lost five of their top batsmen for just 111 runs on the board. A nelson usually works for the bowling team but just like so many extra-ordinary things in today’s match, the nelson changed the fortunes for Ireland batting this time.

Kevin O’Brien and Alex Cusack combined for the sixth wicket partnership and scored 162 runs which laid the foundation for a historic win. The match went down to the last over of the innings but the Irish were in the driving seat in the last 10 overs of the match.

Apart from some cricket fanatics around the world, a majority of cricket lovers may not have heard much about Kevin O’Brien but from now onwards his name will always be remembered in the history books for anchoring one of the most proud triumphs for Ireland. He scored a magical hundred to steer his team towards an unlikely victory and captured a record breaking victory for his country. He also broke the record for scoring the fastest century in the history of world cup cricket.

No team has ever chased down such a total in a world cup match before, even though the English team came very close of doing so against India a couple of days ago. So in many ways, this day was nothing less than a dream for Ireland and will be remembered for many more years to come. No wonder the Irish fans had tears in their eyes after the match.

Even though the English team dropped a couple of sitters, no one can take the credit away from O’Brien, who stunned spectators with some marvelous hitting. Not surprisingly, the centurion was named Man of the Match for his ‘once in a lifetime knock’. O’Brien admitted, during the presentation ceremony, that he himself could not believe all this has happened and said that this is the best innings he has ever played.

"Not able to believe it, I am quite speechless. I got a bit of luck and things went my way. If we would have gotten out soon, it would have been a boring game for the supporters and so I decided to chance my arm, it paid off," the star said while expressing his emotions.

The win once again will highlight the role of minnows in the tournament. The ICC is probably watching with great interest the outcome of this year’s tournament. Time will tell if O'Brien is able to lead his side to another victory on a World Cup stage.

Mar 2, 2011

CRICKET WORLD CUP: Hussey happy with patience

Batsman Mike Hussey says Australia's selectors have made the right move in delaying naming a replacement player for the World Cup squad.

The selectors were able to call up an additional player after fast bowler Doug Bollinger was forced home with injury, and surprised many when they held off on making that decision.

But Hussey, who has been widely tipped to get the call-up, along with bowlers Peter Siddle and Dirk Nannes, said it was correct for them to be cautious.
Mike Hussey

"The squad looks like it's going really well at the moment, the fast bowlers are fit and the boys have been playing really well," he said.

"It's not a bad idea just to wait and see how we go over the next couple of games and make a decision on a replacement then."

Hussey, who was forced out of the original 15-man squad with a hamstring injury, said the selectors had not told him how likely he was to come into the side.

The 35-year-old left-hander will make his return for WA in their Sheffield Shield clash with Queensland which starts on Thursday, after a successful return to Perth club cricket on Saturday.

"It seems like an age since I've played a game of cricket so I'm really looking forward to getting out there," Hussey said.

"I'm feeling good. My training has been fine for over a week now ... I know I can go as hard as I like."

Hussey's international place has come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks, despite starring in the Ashes series, but he said he has not seriously contemplated retiring.

"I love playing for Australia and it took me so long just to get one game, I don't want to stop anytime soon," he said.

"I feel like I'm a better player than I was five years ago ... I've taken a lot of confidence out of this year.

"I also take a lot of confidence out of watching guys like Sachin Tendulkar play so well into their 30s."