Tag Archives: Caribbean

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.


Why ICC’s FTP Is Useless


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.

Rampaging India Continue Their Bull Run!


By Kartik Kannan

India continued their bull run in England with yet another convincing win in the ICC Champions trophy, trouncing West Indies by 8 wickets and 65 balls to spare. The Indian victory, was largely built around Ravindra Jadeja’s spin bowling and the batting of Shikhar Dhawan, both of whom have hit purple patches in 2013, for extended run of great form. Ravindra Jadeja put the brakes on the Caribbean juggernaut, by choking runs and claiming wickets with his fastish off spinners, while Shikhar Dhawan tore into the very attack that had Pakistan at sixes and sevens last week, that had Kemar Roach interestingly this time taking the brunt, giving away 47 of 6 overs. Shikhar Dhawan’s consecutive hundred, was built without a faux paux, in an aggressive counter attack that was largely built around the squares on both sides, including 10 fours and a six to bring up his hundred.

Put into bat, the West Indies found their mojo early on, with Chris Gayle and Johnson Charles being severe on Bhubhaneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav. With 2 boundaries over deep midwicket, and 2 trademark slaps over the bowler, Chris Gayle was slowly getting into ‘RCB’ mode, just when a short of length delivery from Kumar, crapming Gayle for room, lifted enough for Chris to make a meek cut  at the ball, only to have Ashwin cling on to sharp chance above his head.

Darren Bravo and Johnson Charles, then steadied the innings with a 78 run stand in 89 balls, with the pace being set by Johnson Charles, after an  lull in the early stages of the partnership where he preferred to play of the backfoot watchfully. Johnson exploded with 2 sixes over Long off and Deep Midwicket and managed to work his way around 3 boundaries behind the wicket through glances and late cuts. While he was batting, a stat that was beginning to hang like a Damocles sword over the Indian bowling, was that he had a 100% conversion to scoring a century, whenever he has crossed 50, but Ravindra Jadeja’s introduction changed all of that, when he trapped Johnson Charles, Marlon Samuels and Sarwan, all of whom fell pray to playing for the turn against fast non turning deliveries. While Charles and Samuels were out leg before, Sarwan, in an attempt to glance the ball, was caught down the leg side. 3 wickets in 14 balls, giving away 5 runs, Jadeja had West Indies on the backfoot.

Even as these wickets well, Darren Bravo, struggled to score runs, and his misery soon came to an end, when he came down the track in frustration to clear Ashwin, and tried checking his shot after being done in by the flight, and Dhoni stumped him to leave West Indies at 140/5 in the 34th over. Pollard and Dwayne Bravo steadied the innings by knocking the ball around, but their wickets at crucial junctures in the game, followed by a couple of tailenders falling left West Indies miserably positioned at  182/9 by the 46th over, for a side that was 100/1 in the 19th over.

They say ‘Cometh The Hour, Cometh The Man’ and Darren Sammy came into playing an aggressive cameo that made you wonder, how could the West Indies have possibly believed he wasn’t good enough for the first game. Sammy, who’s played a large part in the renaissance of the Carribean cricket from the nadirs of 2008/09, chose to announce why he belongs to this team, by putting up his hand up, to clean the mess when it mattered. A flat batted six over covers in between a six to Long off and Long On, just made mouths drop as he successfully managed strike with number  11 (Roach) to bludgeon 9 boundary hits(4 sixes) in a 15 ball exhibition, scoring 52 runs, helping West Indies put a respectable 233, which incidentally is how much South Africa set Pakistan the other day.

Given the way, chases have been funnily difficult, one wondered if India were to fall prey to choking while chasing a moderate target, but India came out with all guns blazing and smoked out the Caribbean pace attack. It was a lively chase that saw Indian openers strangely dominate square off the wicket, with no hits in the arc between covers and deep midwicket, with all of the 17 boundaries scored between Dhawan and Sharma. Virat Kohli, was unlucky to have missed out on the run feast, done in by a Narine special, bowled round the wicket, but Dinesh Karthik made merry of an attack that had by then given up to notch up a fifty, while allowing Dhawan to score his ton around the same time, leading India to a domineering 8 wicket victory, that pushed Pakistan out of the tournament.

[Originally Written for ESPNcricinfo]