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Posts Tagged ‘Zaheer Khan’

Over the next fortnight, as a glorified exhibition event called the Champions League – which proper tournament would have a player eligible to represent two or three teams? – seeks legitimacy in the eyes of the game’s aficionados, India’s selectors will be peering nervously through their fingers. There are three Test series scheduled for the next four months which will decide whether India remain at the top of the tree or come back to Earth with a thud. As important are the 13 one-day internationals tagged on, especially with a six-week-long World Cup to start in February. A player will need to be Bionic Man to play all the games and how shrewdly the five-man panel rotates the resources available will have a huge bearing on whether or not India become only the second host nation to win the World Cup.

It’s one of those little nuggets of trivia now that India’s legendary spin quartet played only one Test together, at Edgbaston in 1967. They took 18 wickets and kept England under 300 in both innings, but traditional frailties with the bat away from home scuppered any chance of victory. Thereafter, it was always a case of musical chairs, with S Venkataraghavan or Erapalli Prasanna usually missing out. (more…)

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After that Wanderers game , I argued long and hard with those who thought it a great game of cricket. Nearly four years on, my views haven’t changed. In the days to come, many will speak of Rajkot as another classic. Some opportunists might even come out with commemorative DVDs, but nothing will change the facts. A game in which batsmen score at more than eight an over hardly constitutes an even tussle between bat and ball. Great entertainment, sure. Great cricket? Not really.

If you want to watch a real classic, watch how Pakistan chased down New Zealand’s total in the World Cup semi-final in 1992, or better still, go and watch footage of the greatest one-day match of all, Edgbaston 1999. Until there’s a tie in a World Cup final, that will remain the greatest cricket played in coloured clothes. The enormity of the occasion and what was at stake ensured as much.

There were two big differences between Rajkot and the Wanderers though.

You can read the full article here.

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So, the preliminaries are over, and we move in to the part of the tournament that actually matters. With one notable absentee. The Australians will be based in Leicester and probably loathe to watch as eight other teams, including Ireland and West Indies, tussle for the one trophy that they have never won. On the evidence of what we’ve seen so far, Asian cricket’s two powerhouses, India and Sri Lanka, look best equipped to carry off the trophy, with the strongest challenge likely to come from South Africa and New Zealand. But with Kevin Pietersen back, England’s chances can’t be completely discounted, and there’s always the prospect of surprises from a mercurial Pakistan team.
Sri Lanka and India will be delighted with the way they concluded the league phase. India never really had to get out of second gear once they sent Ireland in to bat, and Sri Lanka rode on a brilliant opening partnership to see off a West Indies side that rested Chris Gayle. Sri Lanka’s spinners were again extremely impressive, and India would have been boosted by Zaheer Khan’s wonderful spell on his return from injury.
Both teams have minor concerns to address. Sri Lanka could do with some runs from Mahela Jayawardene and Chamara Silva, while India will hope that Irfan Pathan, if chosen ahead of RP Singh, gives Zaheer better new-ball support. The death-overs bowling has also been average, and against batsmen of the calibre of Pietersen, de Villiers and Gayle, that could be a recipe for disaster. So far, so good though.

So, the preliminaries are over, and we move in to the part of the tournament that actually matters. With one notable absentee. The Australians will be based in Leicester and probably loathe to watch as eight other teams, including Ireland and West Indies, tussle for the one trophy that they have never won. On the evidence of what we’ve seen so far, Asian cricket’s two powerhouses, India and Sri Lanka, look best equipped to carry off the trophy, with the strongest challenge likely to come from South Africa and New Zealand. But with Kevin Pietersen back, England’s chances can’t be completely discounted, and there’s always the prospect of surprises from a mercurial Pakistan team.

Sri Lanka and India will be delighted with the way they concluded the league phase. India never really had to get out of second gear once they sent Ireland in to bat, and Sri Lanka rode on a brilliant opening partnership to see off a West Indies side that rested Chris Gayle. Sri Lanka’s spinners were again extremely impressive, and India would have been boosted by Zaheer Khan’s wonderful spell on his return from injury.

Both teams have minor concerns to address. Sri Lanka could do with some runs from Mahela Jayawardene and Chamara Silva, while India will hope that Irfan Pathan, if chosen ahead of RP Singh, gives Zaheer better new-ball support. The death-overs bowling has also been average, and against batsmen of the calibre of Pietersen, de Villiers and Gayle, that could be a recipe for disaster. So far, so good though.

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