Tag Archives: Rahul Dravid

IPL 2013 – Dream Eleven

Ganesh Subramanian draws out his dream 11 based on the performances of stars in IPL 2013. Do you agree. 

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1. Mike Hussey: The orange cap winner can walk into any team based on his reputation alone. But as is the quality with great players, they hardly rest on their laurels. Mike Hussey takes the opener’s spot in the playing eleven purely on the basis of his consistency this season. Only in four innings in this year’s IPL does he have scores of less than 20. That should tell us something about this Western Australian’s amazing run of form this year.

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2. Chris Gayle: If we look at consistency, Gayle would have struggled to find a place. But given that he has changed his game a little bit particularly in this year’s IPL where he took his time, saw off the threat of the new ball (atleast for 2 overs. I know threat of new ball in T20 hardly makes sense) and then went about his merry ways and pulverized bowling attacks, makes him even more fearsome. I am sure Pune Warriors would agree with this.

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3. Rahul Dravid: Having batted at this position for India for years, he is no stranger to walking in and trying to repair the innings in case of early loss of wickets. Although Dravid opened in most of the matches for RR, still I slotted him at number three for the stability factor.

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4. Shane Watson: This batting mainstay of Rajasthan also finds a spot easily purely on his allround abilities. Providing crucial breakthroughs with his bowling & batting with a demonic power makes Watson an invaluable asset to any team.

5. A B Devilliers: A brilliant fielder, an excellent wicketkeeper and a freakish batsman, ABD has the ability to turn matches on its head by his sheer genius. His unorthodox batting at the death overs has left many a bowler bewildered.

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6. Dwayne Bravo: The purple cap holder on current form finds a place in the eleven. Despite getting his wickets at a higher economy rate, he has been the go-to man for CSK in the death overs often tilting matches in CSK’s favour in the end overs. Plus with Dwayne around, there would be no need of an entertainer too.

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7. M S Dhoni: Captain of India has also continued his success story well into the IPL. Leader of the most successful and the most consistent franchisee in IPL history, MSD’s finishing capabilities will see him walk into any playing eleven with ease.

8. Azhar Mahmood: This Pakistani born British citizen has often helped Punjab with hi experience this season. Apart from picking wickets regularly for Punjab, his promotion to the No. 3 slot helped him rediscover his batting abilities as well.

9. Sunil Narine: Amongst the top 5 wicket takers in this year’s IPL, Sunil Narine is a definite pick for the spinner’s slot given the mystery he brings with him. Even if he doesn’t pick wickets, he has ensured that the run rate doesn’t increase by bowling economically.

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10. Lasith Malinga: The slinga from Srilanka after a quiet start to the tournament has got his rhythm back in the last few games. He was instrumental in derailing Chennai’s chase in the final by picking up Hussey and Raina with well thought out deliveries. His variety at the death makes him indispensable.

11. Amit Mishra: Again on current form in the IPL, Amit Mishra picks himself. With crucial wickets in the middle overs and a potent googly making his leg break more effective, Amit Mishra has played a major part in Sunrisers getting into the playoffs.

This list aims at picking at the eleven best possible players to form the dream team. Lot of excellent players may have been left out and this list in no way should be considered demeaning them.

Rajasthan Royals: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

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Having had its best year in the last five years, the Rajasthan Royals definitely won many a hearts during IPL 6, even with Spot-Fixing allegations initially surfacing from their own premises. 

Rahul Dravid was very clear from the outset that they were the underdogs and moneyball team in front of the mighty Mumbai Indians in the second qualifier. The fact that his team actually stretched the game to the last over from a position of losing it says much about a side which on paper look rank underdogs in front of the might of some teams in the tournament. There had to be some highlights of the team, some good and bad. Let’s look at them one by one. 

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1. Home Advantage: If there is one team which actually took the home advantage seriously, it has to be Royals. With that kind of a team winning 8 out of 8 at Jaipur is phenomenal. No matter how much we stress on home conditions, to be fair, no ground except for crowd support, which we know is how hollow sometimes during the IPL, can actually be called home to any team. All the teams being Indian and most players coming from India, makes real advantages like knowledge of pitch, weather etc redundant. Rajasthan though played like they know Sawai Man Singh more than any other team, any other captain. The results are there for all to see.

2. Inspiring Captaincy: Frankly if you ask me one highlight of the IPL, it has to be seeing Rahul Dravid cross bat and heave deliveries over mid-wicket. No one could have made him do that in his international career and he actually customized himself to suit the format. He came out at the top like a role model to his players as to how to take the challenges front-on. He created stars like Share Warne did and am sure players like Sanju Samson will be indebted for life to him. His strategies where-in he made his superstars wait till the threat of new ball was off paid off more times than one. All-in-all we know his was a stint cut-to-made to suit an underdog side.

3. The Good Things: Start counting 

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– Sanju Samson: Fabulous batting and what a find

– Stuart Binny: No one thought he is a threat, he proved everyone wrong

– Dravid’s tactics: Wrote about that above

– A brilliant seam attack – That came out of nowhere.

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– Team Effort: Someone or the other stepped up, raised his hand and did it for them. Kemon Cooper, Brad Hodge, Samson, Binny and even Trivedi.

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– Shane Mighty Watson: Do we even need to name him. He is one rockstar that always proved his mettle for the RR.

4. The Bad Things: A few of them are here

– No quality spinners: They always lacked one and especially at the business end because of wrong reasons. In fact in their last two games, on spinning tracks they actually went in with an all-seam attack and actually won one of them. Speaks some thing about confidence, doesn’t it. To add to this RR lacked a very threatening bowler and though Shaun Tait was in the squad, it would be correct to assume he is well past his prime.

– The rate of scoring: This is one area that the Royals struggled all-through. Except sometime when Watson got going, they hardly had a net run-rate of 8 plus to boast of. Even Rahane who otherwise has been seen as someone with a more than decent T20 strike-rate looked like playing safe this time more often than not.

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5. The Ugly: Enough has been spoken of the spot-fixing saga and for the sake of Rahul Dravid, let’s keep the ugly to only the three of the so called “Rotten Eggs”. We hope and pray not any other of that side is involved in the rut.

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6. Best Player: Without a doubt this could have gone to either Watson or Hodge. While Watson kept playing good cricket through, it was Hodge who proved what he is capable of in the all important eliminator when he took upon the mantle of cracking down on the best bowling attack on display and winning the game for his side, all this after his name was also being discussed in the fixing saga. Some mettle these Aussies are made up of, isn’t it? And yes, while we keep talking of the batsmen because of the format, we should not forget, it was James Faulkner who won all our hearts with some supremely good bowling in the tournament. Not many end up with two five-fors in the same IPL, do they? Faulkner actually did it. My prize for best player goes to the Purple Cap holder Faulkner.

This team has always been a surprise package and it would be extremely interesting to see what and who they buy next year when everyone goes under the hammer for only the second time. They though cannot afford to let go of the fact that they first need an inspiring captain to lead them like Warne and Dravid have done. 

 

 

Rajasthan Royals And The Art of Remaining Underdogs

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Everyone loves Rajasthan Royals, even the fans of the opposition teams. You know why? Because they are the eternal underdogs. Right from the time they lost their first game in the inaugural edition of IPL, they remained underdogs. Even after winning the tournament and creating a fortress at home from the very first edition, they continued being tagged the underdogs and today after a very successful IPL 6, where they have almost made it to the playoffs, have won all their matches at home, beaten Chennai in their own game, they are still being called the underdogs. 

Why are they underdogs? Simple, they never had huge stars except one or two. They created stars who made their destiny and fielded guys who came from the hinterlands with dreamy eyes of shining on the big stage. They were underdogs because they were the cheapest side to be bought during the auctions in 2008. They were underdogs because they look to be working more hard on their fallacies than anyone else.

They were underdogs because they did not get hyper on the cricket ground. They always smile at the opposition and go about their job methodically rather than aggressively.  They know that aggression cannot work in their favor considering they do not possess the likes of Gayle and Kohli, so they’d rather focus on hardwork and technique to control the outcome.

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The Real Difference Creators

1. Rahul ‘Gentleman’ Dravid: If there was one good example of a great servicemen of the game who always upheld the spirit of the game no matter what, Rahul Dravid’s name would come foremost. Remember what he did when Adam Gilchrist was short of his ground a few days back. He withdrew the appeal, thereby setting an example for his team. Though Dravid might not be as celebrated as a Sachin Tendulkar or a Sourav Ganguly, we all know who was the worker behind all great victories India had in the last decade and a half. This is what RD probably is ingraining in Rajasthan Royals. To win but remain nonchalant about it. Plus, the amount of trust he shows in his youngsters is something that would turn an example for any future captain in IPL. We know Sanju Samson because a Rahul Dravid made him a superstar, picking him up from nowhere. As Harsha Bhogle always says, “It is the process which matters the most, if that’s taken care of, the results take care of itself”. Rahul Dravid seems to embody this thought.

2. Shane ‘Watto’ Watson: As I write this one, am hearing that Watson has overtaken Chris Gayle in the Most Valuable Player in the IPL. With very little to go in the tournament and Watson himself being in great form, I would not be surprised if he actually pulls that off. Now that in itself is some achievement because IPL if anything is known for Gaylestorm and to beat that man in his own arena is a genius’s job. Watson brilliance lies not only in the fact that he is a great player from Australia but also in the manner he plays alongside the juniors around him in the Royals side. Probably playing first under Shane Warne and now under Dravid is helping his attitude immensely. He brings to the table extraordinary skills and am sure playing around him would be an academy for the youngsters of the side. Lastly, if he plays anywhere as good as he did in the last match, only God save the opposition from the harakiri this big guy can bring.

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3. The Bowling Attack: We often talk of how a batting unit has helped RR win the first edition and has helped them this year too to almost reach the playoffs (I am sure they will but am just not taking a risk). What we forget more often than not is that it is the bowling that actually without the presence of any big star pulled off what many teams in IPL could not with big names. Not that RR never had a great bowling attack. In the first season names like Shane Warne, Sohail Tanvir and Munaf Patel (he was a decent enough bowler then) did don their jersey but as time passed, these names went away and in came a fragrance of youth and they did well we must say. Just take yesterday’s match for example. Against CSK who have the most devastating batting line-up, the bowlers were Malik, Faulkner, Watson, Trivedi, Cooper and Binny. What did they do? made Chennai fold up for 141. This is no one-off, its a regular feature now that this bowling attack sans any superstars does to opposition. They are probably taken for granted and from there they show everyone who is the boss. Probably again being underdogs helps challenges them to do their best.

4. The Fortress That Cannot Be Breached: The team has now actually equalled their own record of highest home wins at a trot (8). It is something about the place that aids the home team like no other ground. In the last game against CSK the challenge was stiff. They were pitted against a tough team and Chennai’s record was simple, you give them to bat first and they don’t lose. Knowing this fully well, Dravid still allowed Dhoni and his men first usage of the helpful wicket at Sawai Man Singh Stadium and the result is for all to know. Teams would be thanking their stars that none of the qualifiers or the final is at Jaipur or else only one team would have come out on top.

With their non-violent style of cricket, this team has already made rapid progress. The next task would be to end the league stage on top and make a clear statement that this team can dazzle and well as be consistent. If they win this would be an additional jewel in the crown of The Eternal Gentleman Rahul Dravid. 

4 Reasons Why We Love Rajasthan Royals

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An underdog and low-cost side, Rajasthan Royals have always performed, risen to the occasion, delivered and had one star puller. Here are 4 reasons you cannot deny being a fan.

  1. First Shane Warne and now Rahul Dravid, this team has always had one leader around whom a brigade of young players play. This icon player is chosen with due diligence. He is senior and credible enough to motivate and inspire and makes sure the team hinges around him. A clear case of a leader in charge vis-a-vis other teams where we almost on all occasions see everyone a part of the discussions and multiple thought processes working.
  2. The underdog quotient works big time for them. They neither have Dhoni, nor Tendulkar, nor Yuvraj Singh, but what they do have is a bunch of youngsters like Kevon Cooper, Ajinkya Rahane, Siddharth Trivedi and the likes who lift the spirit when needed the most. Who perform out of their skins to show they are no less, at least in a format which requires flamboyance more than any other thing. Take for example their last game against Kolkata. Sunil Narine was bowling his last over of another great spell and the Royals were struggling to get to 140. Who came to the party, a relatively unknown Dishant Yagnik. He hit a six and four and damaged a spell that could have so well been a match winning one.
  3. This is one team which has taken the setbacks of losing their stars pretty well. If Yusuf Pathan and Ravindra Jadeja were two key players for them in their winning first season effort, they lost both of them in the re-auctions. The loss probably impacted the players more as both Jadeja and Pathan have looked a pale self after having been disassociated with the Royals.
  4. Like all Indian rulers, especially from the state of Rajasthan, this team has made their home ground a fortress of sorts. They hardly lose a game, leave losing a game, it is pretty difficult to have them on the mat here even on occasions. Someone or the other pulls off something spectacular and victory comes home. This is one of their most attractive capabilities which need to be mentioned about them.

Not that there aren’t any more reasons (yeah Shilpa Shetty is definitely one reason which attracts loads of eyeballs) but to me these four are the key ones. We like this team because of a spirit and fight we don’t see from many other big sides in the tournament and we also like them because with Rahul Dravid at the helm they always keep the spirit of the game on top, even in a format where aggression is justified on occasions. 

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5 Reasons To Watch IPL Season 6

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Like it or hate it, Indian cricket’s biggest extravaganza is back and no matter where you try and run away to escape, some form of it will catch up. So better fasten your seat belts and enjoy the action. Here are my five reasons for this year.

1. This Would probably be the first time and maybe the last when I would see Sachin Tendulkar playing under an Aussie captain, that too none less than Ricky Ponting. Even if Sachin has not captained this side in one season (MI played under Harbhajan Singh then), the master blaster had always been in the forefront of things. Will we see the same this time or with Ponting at the helm, the Indian champion will take a backseat, only time will tell.

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2. This IPL could very well be the last one for many Indian and Foreign stalwarts. Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Mike Hussey and many others could actually call it a day from this tournament. So this will be a last chance to see some of the biggest heroes in action for the last time.

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3. Hyderabad has a new team and an exciting one at that. They have been one side which has always done the extremes. In season one, when they probably had the best team they turned out to be the worst performers and in season two and when nothing was expected from them, they actually lifted the trophy. They have a new look team this time with different owners, definitely something to look up to.

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4. If there is one justification IPL gives for its existence and help towards developing Indian cricket, it is the talented youngsters it throws up to the fore. The likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are without an iota of doubt the products of this tournament. It would be exciting to see who this season of IPL throws to the main league.

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5. And finally, one of my biggest reasons to look on for the IPL is none other than the West Indian great Chris Gayle. It’s his batting and spanking bowlers all and sundry is what makes the tournament just so extra attractive. The art in the manner he butchers bowlers of all statures is so much delight for the visual senses. I hope, this turns out to be another rollicking season for him and courtesy him, Vijay Mallya actually ends up winning something in an otherwise losing year on all fronts.

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