Category Archives: Ind In Zimbabwe

Let’s Pledge To Sledge! Err I Hate Grammar! Cricket’s Best Battles

cricket sledging

By Ankush Kumar

The purists hate the idea of sledging; it apparently spoils the crease of their suits. The broadcasters love the banter amongst the players as it fills their coffers a little more, than expected. Cricket as they say is played between two teams of eleven players each, every era has seen domination by one team, but the winners of sledging still remain undecided.

Here are a few from trip down memory lane, enjoy and savor the one liners, and don’t forget ‘cricket still remains a man’s game, gentle though is passé’.

Rod Marsh to Ian Botham, when the England star took guard: So, hows your wife and my kids?

Merv Hughes to Robin Smith, after the batsman repeatedly played and missed ‘ you fucking cant bat. The next bowl was dispatched to the boundary and Smith said ‘Hey Merv we make a nice pair I fucking cant bat and you fucking can’t bowl’.

Michael Atherton during his first tour of Australia stood his ground during an appeal. At the end of the over Ian Healy said ‘Fucking cheat’ he replied ‘When in Rome, dear boy’.

James Ormond while playing his first Test match for England, Mark Waugh quipped ‘what are you doing here mate, you aint good enough to play for England’ He replied saying ‘atleast I am the best player of my family’.

After going past a couple of deliveries Shaun Pollock told Ponting ‘its red and round and weighs about five ounces’. The following ball was dispatched to the boundary and Ponting said ‘You know how it looks like, go find it’.

Glenn McGrath once asked Eddo Brandes ‘Hey man why are you so fat’? The Zimbabwean replied ‘because every time I sleep with your wife she gives me a biscuit’!

A young batsman was clean bowled by the great Fred Trueman and he said ‘that was a great ball Fred’ the great shot back saying ‘ Yeah! And it was wasted on you’.

PS: Hoping you enjoyed it and though you might consider yourself a purist, deep down if you are a man am sure these would have brought back a few youthful memories. 

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Depleted India Rout Zimbabwe To Take The ODI Series

ind vs zim

By Ganesh Subramanian

After M S Dhoni’s heroics in the final of the tri-series in the Caribbean, India embarked on yet another ODI series, this time against Zimbabwe. India was expected to dominate and probably win the series, but this 5-0 whitewash is slightly unexpected. Die-hard Indian supporters may vehemently disagree with this, but I am saying this on two counts. One is that India went in to the series with a new look squad with the likes of Ashwin, Dhoni, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar & Ishant Sharma rested. Secondly, Zimbabwe has always been a nation that has challenged India in cricket. They have been more of a thorn in the flesh kind of cricketing nation when it comes to matches against India. Remember the match in the 1999 World Cup when India lost by 3 runs?

Barring the first two ODIs where Zimbabwe managed to apply some pressure on the Indian side, the Indian team has been thoroughly professional in whitewashing the African nation. Zimbabwe batsmen appeared listless in the whole series, be it against pace or against spin. The batting has let them down badly in the series, mainly due to lack of contribution from their experienced pros. Brendan Taylor, the skipper, had a series to forget with the bat as well as with the gloves behind the stumps. The other seasoned campaigners like Masakadza, Elton Chigumbura and Sean Williams shone briefly in patches in the series and were not able to make a substantial contribution. The bowlers did their best but could not win matches given the low totals they were defending. The positives from the series for Zimbabwe have been Kyle Jarvis who looked impressive and Sikandar Raza Butt, who seems a good prospect for the future. Zimbabwe quickly needs to reflect on what needs to be done since they have series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka coming soon.

India must be pretty happy with their work in the series. All the batsmen have been amongst the runs at different points in the series. The seam bowlers have utilized the new ball to create dents in the Zimbabwean batting line-up and the spinners have polished off the innings quickly. Kohli’s captaincy has been impressive and he has been selfless in dropping himself down the order especially in the last 2 ODIs so that the others can have a hit out in the middle. Personally for me, I would have loved to see Parvez Rasool make his debut in the series to see what he has got. This was the best opportunity for the team management to try him out given that once Ashwin returns to the fold, it would be difficult for Rasool to get an opportunity.

Now India earns a much deserved rest for a couple of months before hosting Australia for one T20 and 7 ODIs followed by a tough tour to South Africa in November. The boys in blue need to make the most of this break to relax and enjoy themselves and get their batteries recharged for the series ahead.

Indian Rookies Have A Lot To Play For

parvez rasool

By Kartik Kannan

India are currently ranked No. 1 in ODIs and one of the hallmarks of a top-ranking side over time is the quality of bench strength. While India get ready to play Zimbabwe without some of their senior players, it’s a good opportunity for some of the newcomers to perform and prove that the team’s DNA is not dependent on a few individuals, but is a high-performance culture that runs deep. I am reminded of the quadrangular series between England, Zimbabwe, Australia A and Australia in 1994-95, where the finals were contested by the two Australian sides. That showed to the world that Australia’s second XI was better than many international sides. India can learn a thing or two from that series as they aim to build an ODI team for the future. Over to the youngsters.

Parvez Rasool

The offspinning allrounder from Jammu and Kashmir has made it to the team on the back of consistent performances in the domestic season. Rasool will be looking to ease himself into the international scene in Zimbabwe, where the pressure on him to deliver would be lesser. He’s had a taste of the highest level, having played against the touring English and Australian sides recently.

If Rasool clicks, India would have found someone to share the spinners’ workload with R Ashwin. Rasool’s partnership with Ravindra Jadeja, who turns the ball the other way, will make for interesting viewing in the middle overs.

Pepsi IPL - The Final CSK v MI

Mohit Sharma

Mohit Sharma’s rise to the top was fast-tracked by his 2013 IPL season for the Chennai Super Kings. Mohit’s key strength is the ball that goes away, and he bowls an impressive attacking line. He was handled well by MS Dhoni in the IPL, and that surely played a part in his success. Having Mohit and Bhuvneshwar Kumar – a swing bowler who bowls at a lesser pace – bowling in tandem will give India an edge with the new ball.

cheteshwar-pujara-2

Cheteshwar Pujara

India’s new-found performance man in Test cricket finally gets a chance to shine in the shorter format. Despite a tremendous List A average of 56.97, Pujara has unfairly been labelled as a slow run-getter. Given his recent successes, there’s no question over his technique on tricky wickets or against good quality seam bowling. In recent times, India have missed a sheet anchor in ODI cricket, and with two new balls coming into play, Pujara could be just the man for them.

Jaydev-Unadkat

Jaydev Unadkat

Unadkat sure knows the demands of international cricket, having endured a forgettable Test debut in South Africa in late 2010. He is a vastly improved bowler now, and has forced his way back into the set-up with consistent IPL performances. He has also had very successful A tours in New Zealand and England in the last couple of years. Zimbabwe’s spongy bounce could be helpful to his style of bowling, which relies on hitting the seam more often than not. His inclusion brings variety to India’s inexperienced seam-bowling group.

Ambati Rayudu

Having been one of the lynchpins of Mumbai Indians’ renaissance since IPL 3, Rayudu’s chance to represent the India team comes at just about the right time. He will lend depth to the middle order, and in Dhoni’s absence, could slot in as a finisher. Dinesh Karthik is likely to be India’s first-choice wicketkeeper, which could work against Rayudu. But if he gets a look-in, possibly ahead of Ajinkya Rahane, he should make it count.

This article was originally published at cricinfo and has been published with the authors permission

Why ICC’s FTP Is Useless

ICC

Ganesh Subramanian, our cricket expert talks of why a packed calendar of ICC could still be justified if they pack it with relevant stuff and make sure important events don’t get lost to nature’s fury

So immediately after a good, exciting Champions Trophy comes a meaningless triseries featuring India, West Indies and Sri Lanka. Although Indian fans are delighted with the Indian victory in an exciting final, it begs the question whether the series must have been scheduled in the first place coming against the backdrop of a highly intense champions trophy. What was supposed to be Srilanka’s tour of West Indies ended up as a meaningless triseries.

While ICC’s FTP’s fundamental premise is the fact that member countries, that is, the top test playing nations play each other in each other’s home territory atleast once in 4 years. Often this rule is not adhered to as individual boards tend to cater more to their commercial interests than stick to the FTP.

As a result, tours are cut short, ODIs and T20 are increased, Test matches are pushed to the backseat and so on. Also the ICC has a fascination for scheduling important ICC events in rainy seasons in different countries. Also the concept of reserve days are accommodated or neglected according to some random whims and fancies.

An important tournament like the ICC champions trophy has no reserve days for rain affected matches and it’s sad that the tournament final turned out to be a 20-over affair, thanks to rain and absence of reserve days. On the contrary, the meaningless triseries that just concluded had reserve days for all the matches.

The ICC’s logic for shelving the Champions Trophy was again appalling. ICC’s logic means only 1 global event for each format of the game – The ICC CWC, World T20 and Test championship. Now who says that only 1 global event needs to be there for 1 format.

Despite the success of Champions Trophy this year and appeal from former players like David Gower to reconsider the decision of doing away with the Champions Trophy, ICC hasn’t budged from its idiotic stance and had maintained that the recent CT played was indeed its last edition. Instead of meaningless and obsolete triseries, ICC would do well to preserve the sanctity of global events like the ICC.

One can only hope that atleast in future ICC’s FTP is designed rationally and helps preserve the sanctity of this glorious game of uncertainties.

Zimbabwe- India’s Achilles Heel In ODI’s?

india-vs-zimbabwe-2013

Kartik Kannan explores via stats and more why India has not been as successful as they should be in Zimbabwe. 

Picture This! South Africa and Australia have won 100% of their ODI’s played at Zimbabwe.  You’d expect the reigning ODI World Champions (India) record to be similar or close, under normal circumstances, but the truth is chillingly different. If one were to rank ODI sides based on their success percentage in Zimbabwe, India figures a poor 8th, with only Bangladesh and Kenya behind it, success ratio being only 57.14%. Over the last 21 years, India has played 21 games in Zimbabwe, losing 4 times to the host (Zimbabwe), twice to New Zealand, once each to Sri Lanka and West Indies. In the light of this statistic, whether the Indian selectors had made the right decision in selecting an inexperienced team to tour Zimbabwe? Statistics and History say no, while the Indian selectors affirm that infusing young blood would augur well for the future.

Table-1 shows how ODI sides have performed in Zimbabwe ever since Zimbabwe became a full member nation of the ICC.

Table-1 -Success % of ODI sides in matches played in Zimbabwean Soil

Played Won Lost NR Success Ratio Ranking
India in Zimbabwe 21 12 8 1 57.14 8
SL in Zimbabwe 23 18 4 1 78.26 4
Aus in Zimbabwe 7 7 0 0 100.00 1
England in Zimbabwe 17 12 4 1 70.59 5
WI in Zimbabawe 15 9 5 1 60.00 7
Pak in Zimbabwe 15 12 1 2 80.00 3
SA in Zimbabwe 8 8 0 0 100.00 1
Bangladesh in Zimbabwe 30 13 15 2 43.33 9
Kenya in Zimbabwe 13 3 8 2 23.08 10
NZ in Zimbabawe 16 10 5 1 62.50 6
Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe 154 46 97 11 29.87 Not Applicable

Digging further, the article aims to look at important factors that correlate with the Indian performances in Zimbabwe over the years, and aims to present the readers the Achilles heel that Zimbabwean soil has been for Indian cricket intermittently. Some of the important statistical cogs in India’s wheel on their Zimbabwean trips are as follows.

a) Contribution of the Top 5 Batsmen

One of the main reasons of India’s ascent in ODI’s in recent times, has been India’s batting and looking into 8 of their ODI defeats in Zimbabwe, 7 of them came when India’s top 5 batsmen have not scored enough runs. India has averaged around 228 in ODI’s on Zimbabwean soil, with the top 5 batsmen contributing 68.19% of the runs. Across all of their 21 matches, 7 of the 8 defeats in Zimbabwe have been a clear case of the top 5 batsmen’s failing to maintain an average of 68.19%, (with the contribution from the top 5 ranging from 15.28% to 64.18% in these games lost as shown in Table 2)

Table-2- Contribution % of the Top 5 batsmen when India has lost ODI’s in Zimbabwe

Game Total Runs Scored by India Top 5 Contribution % Match Result Opposition
2010-M1 285 64.56 India Lost Zimbabwe
2010-M4 268 64.18 India Lost Sri Lanka
2010-M3 194 45.36 India Lost Zimbabwe
2005-M5 276 75.72 India Lost New Zealand
2005-M1 164 15.85 India Lost New Zealand
2001-M5 274 28.47 India Lost West Indies
1998-M3 222 42.34 India Lost Zimbabwe
1997-M1 168 43.45 India Lost Zimbabwe

Excepting one occasion, whenever India’s been all out, India has lost all such matches. So it’s fair to say that once the Indian batting is into its tail, they have not managed to win any game in Zimbabwe since 1993.

When India wins, the average contribution of the top 5 have ranged between 72.94% and 98.35% -9 times out of 12, while India have still managed 3 wins despite the top order contribution having been lesser than the average of 68.19%, which underscores the importance of the number 6 and 7 slot. Table 3, analyses India’s win patterns in ODI’s on Zimbabwean soil, through the contribution of the top 5 batsmen.

Table-3- Contribution % of the Top 5 batsmen when India has won ODI’s in Zimbabwe

Match Links Total Runs Scored by India Top 5 Contribution % Match Result Opposition
2010-M2

243

98.35

India Won SL
2005-M4

255

58.04

India Won ZIM
2005-M3

279

81.36

India Won NZ
2005-M2

226

67.26

India Won ZIM
2003-WC

255

72.94

India Won ZIM
2001-M4

230

90.00

India Won WI
2001-M3

170

82.35

India Won WI
2001-M2

237

85.65

India Won ZIM
2001-M1

137

90.51

India Won ZIM
1998-M2

236

95.34

India Won ZIM
1998-M1

216

94.91

India Won ZIM
1992-M1

239

58.16

India Won ZIM

One interesting observation on Zimbabwean soil, was the success that Mohamamed Kaif,Rohit Sharma, Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly have enjoyed on previous tours, which shows the importance of defence, technique  and flair in the top 5 batsmen, on a tour to Zimbabwe.

Table-4 Outstanding Performances by Indian Batsmen on Previous Tours to Zimbabwe

  Series Matches Runs Average S/R 50/100
Mohammed Kaif 2005 Triangular Series 5 277 92.33 71.2 2/1
Rohit Sharma 2010 Triangular Series 4 260 86.66 91.54 0/2
Sachin Tendulkar 2001 Triangular Series 5 282 141.00 82.45 2/1
Sachin Tendulkar 1998 Bi Lateral Tour 3 198 79 100.63 0/1
Saurav Ganguly 1998 Bi Lateral Tour 3 158 79 75.23 0/1

With the current team selected for Zimbabwe- Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthik, ,Virat Kohli,Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Suresh Raina vie for the top 5 slots, India need to find the right men for the job who contribute substantially. In recent times, at ODI’s away from home, India’s victory is largely proportional to their top 5 batsmen firing above the average ( contributing more than 68.19%), similar to Table 3, which augurs well for the side(captured in Table 5)

Table-5- India’s Top 5 and Top 7 Contribution in recent ODI matches away from Home

Match Link Runs Total Top 5 % Contribution Top 7 Contribution % Impact of Number 6 and 7 Opposition Result
2013-M1 331 75.83 92.75 16.92 South Africa WIN
2013-M2 236 96.19 96.19 0.00 West Indies WIN
2013-M3 102 97.06 97.06 0.00 Pakistan WIN
2013-M4 182 91.21 91.21 0.00 Sri Lanka WIN
2013-M5 129 69.77 95.35 25.58 England WIN
2013-M6 229 65.07 83.41 18.34 West Indies LOSS
2013-M7 187 44.39 88.24 43.85 Sri Lanka LOSS
2013-M8 311 74.92 84.24 9.32 West Indies WIN

b) The Importance of numbers 6 and 7

In Zimbabwe, India had hardly depended on numbers 6 and 7 to bail them out of crisis to win matches, except for 1 match, where India beat Zimbabwe in 2005. On occasions, when India has lost ODI’s in Zimbabwe, their numbers 6 and 7 have contributed between 25-50% of the total runs in 5 losses, but not enough to finish well.

In the last 8 ODI’s away from home, as listed in Table-5, India has relied heavily on its top 5 to win them matches, and when India’s top have scored below 70% of the total runs, India have seen their number  6 and 7, contribute substantially, but not enough to make India win. If for some reasons, India find its top order in trouble, India needs a strong number 6 and 7 to help India finish well. This is a specialized position and India will do well to test if Rahane or Rayudu can complement Ravindra Jadeja at this position, in the absence of India’s best finisher-MS Dhoni. It will be interesting to see how infusing inexperienced talent like Rayudu/Rahane in the middle order works, since India’s past attempts  in Zimbabwe, had not paid dividends. Youngsters like Samir Dighe, Reetinder Sodhi and JP Yadav have fallen by the wayside, after one flash in the pan performance, while other youngsters like Hemang Badani, Naman Ojha and Venugopala Rao had been miserable failures with the bat, in Zimbabwean conditions.

c) Pace or Spin?

India’s batsmen, have shown no preference for the pacers/seamers or spinners when it comes to forcing the runs with the run rate being constant at 4.90 against either of the types of bowlers, but have demonstrated a capacity to lose more wickets to pace with an average of 35.6 against pace, as against an average of 45.92 facing spin bowling. The upcoming Zimbabwe tour, being a bilateral series, will not have other established sides hurling down a swinging cricket ball at high pace, but will see medium pace bowlers from Zimbabwe in action. The Zimbabwean bowling, though performed well against New Zealand and Bangladesh, would need to maintain their line and length against a strong Indian batting line-up.

d) Indian Bowling

Indian bowlers have performed well in Zimbabwe, largely under the leadership of  Saurav Ganguly.  A lot of success was attributed to the fact that each time India played under Ganguly, the bowling unit was mature and managed to capture wickets. Whenever India had experimented with in-experienced bowlers on a Zimbabwean tour, India had performed badly, notably the 1997 tour and the 2010 tour. In Zimbabwe, India has heavily relied on pace than spin to bowl oppositions out. Indian Pacers have taken 89 wickets at an average of 28.85, while the spinners have toiled hard for little returns, taking 37 wickets at a rather high average of 44.76.

But one of the encouraging signs that India are seeing is that Spinners have outperformed pacers in their last tour to Zimbabwe in 2010, with 12 wickets to the 6 that the pacers took. The 2010 tour was India’s worst in terms of bowling, as India picked up only 21 wickets out of a possible 40. India’s pace department struggled for rhythm, with their 6 wickets coming at an average of 69 runs.(way above the average of 28.85 that Indian pacers have in Zimbabwe), as opposed to the 46.75 runs a wicket that the spinners conceded. On the 2010 tour, India experimented their bowling with Ashok Dinda, Umesh Yadav, Amit Mishra, Vinay Kumar and Pankaj Singh, all of whom came a cropper, largely due to collective inexperience.

The years 2001 and 2005, were the best tours India have had in Zimbabwe, when the Indian bowlers picked up 39 and 34 wickets out of a possible 50 wickets in 5 matches, while the worst tours  were 1997 and 2010, when they did not have a strong leader and had an inexperienced attack. India’s current team will miss the strength and leadership of MS Dhoni, as they deal with an interim captain and an inexperienced bowling attack.

India’s bowling arsenal this year for the Zimbabwe tour is very similar to the 1997 and 2010 tours, with no real leader of the bowling unit. India’s bowling unit sports a whole bunch of inexperienced bowlers in Shami Ahmed, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohit Sharma and Pervez Rasool.  The bowling attack will largely rely on the experience that Ravindra Jadeja and Vinay Kumar bring to the table, apart from expecting the new comers to come good.

Table 6  analyses India’s bowling in Zimbabwe by series and by bowler types.

Table 6- Indian Bowling statistics for ODI’s in Zimbabwe by tours

  Matches Total Wickets Pacers Wickets Spinners Wickets Pacer Avg Spinner Average Pace Eco Rate Spin Eco Rate
2010 Tri Series 4 21 6 12 69 46.75 5.93 4.88
2005 Tri Series 5 39 28 8 25.21 42.5 5.00 4.86
2003 CWC 1 10 7 3 14.14 24 3.58 4.24
2001 Tri Series 5 34 28 4 26.10 74.75 4.16 4.53
1998 Bi Lateral Series 3 22 12 8 32.25 36.25 4.55 5.00
1997 Bi Lateral Series 2* 2 1 1 86 37 4.82 4.63
1992 Bi Lateral Series 1 10 7 1 20.71 57 4.01 4.38
Overall 21 138 89 37 28.85 44.76 4.64 4.77

*- While 2 matches were scheduled, only match is taken for computation as the second ODI in that series in 1997 was washed out without a ball being bowled.

Based on the current form, will India’s swagger help in mowing down Zimbabwe, or will India’s inexperience lynch them at their familiar Achilles heel? Many questions show up, as India prepare for their future, in the hope that they brush aside history.