Tag Archives: Rohit Sharma

India Look Good To Lift Champions Trophy 2013

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By Ganesh Subramanian

Post IPL, there were apprehensions of India’s performance in a tournament as important as the Champions Trophy, given the constant travelling and playing associated with the IPL. At the end of Group B matches, with India cementing their place in the semi-finals, one can say that those apprehensions have been well and truly given a decent burial.

India’s young brigade have responded to the challenges in the tournament featuring the top 8 ODI sides with clinical demolition of three quality sides in the group stage and look good to add more victims to their list. Seaming conditions in England have always troubled the sides from the sub-continent and India has overcome that hurdle with consummate ease.

It’s difficult to rack our brains and try remembering a time when the top order has been so consistent. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, a new opening pair for India, have responded brilliantly so far and have been instrumental in India posting big totals batting first or professionally chasing down targets. In fact, it would be fair enough to say that opposition teams did not have the luxury of running through the Indian batting lineup beyond Dinesh Karthik.

Such is the remarkable maturity with which the top order has done the job. As always, there is a worry that the likes of Raina, Dhoni and Jadeja haven’t had much batting practice. But the fact is that these three have had some decent outing in the tournament so far including the warm-up matches and can be expected to step up to the plate when needed. All these have been achieved with an out-of-form Virat Kohli. It’s not too hard to imagine the bowlers’ plight once Kohli finds his own in the tournament.

Indian bowling, probably a trifle weak compared to its batting, has gone about its job quite efficiently despite not possessing some star bowlers like the other sides. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav have ripped the heart of the opposition batting line-ups by slicing open the top order of opposition teams and spinners Jadeja and Ashwin have tightened the noose in the middle overs to ensure that the opposition challenge is snuffed out even before it got going.

The fielding looks tigerish with the likes of Jadeja, Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Dinesh Karthik swooping down on opposition batsmen like a vulture onto its prey, cutting off singles, choking the run flow and also effecting runouts. Dhoni’s captaincy, as always, has been admirable. With attacking fields like slip, silly point and leg slip, Dhoni has never given a breather to the opposition. Dhoni has even found use for the slowest fielder in the team, Ashwin, by getting him the slip cordon.

After beating Pakistan, a first for India in the Champions Trophy, Dhoni looks all set to add another trophy to his cabinet. Time to bleed blue!

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Twitterati On N Srinivasan and his Defiance

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Here are 10 awesome tweets on Srini uncle’s power love and his inability to move away from his chair. 

The UnReal Times (@TheUnrealTimes): N Srinivasan: “Rochelle Rao will be the third person on the 3 member commission probing spot fixing scandal” 😛

Keh Ke Peheno (@coolfunnytshirt): N Srinivasan is a power hungry enthusiast. And, everybody else is his resignation enthusiast.

Faking News (@fakingnews): Disclosure: I’ve no business relations with N Srinivasan. I’m just a Srini Enthusiast.

Alternative Cricket (@Altcricket): N Srinivasan, India’s New Wall: http://j.mp/nsrinivasan 

Tanmay Bhat (@thetanmay): Trying hard to think of a joke better than Sharad Pawar and N Srinivasan saying they have zero tolerance for corruption.

Ramesh Srivats (@rameshsrivats): Currently N. Srinivasan is checking with his CA whether Rohit Sharma is tax deductible.

Sanjay Jha (@jhasanjay): N Srinivasan of BCCI is right. He has no conflict of interest, only interest in conflicts.

Ramesh Srivats (@rameshsrivats): N. Srinivasan becomes the boss of BCCI. Board of Cement & CSK in India.

Ramesh Srivats (@rameshsrivats): Yes. CSK is sure to win CLT20. They have the two best players in Indian cricket today. Dhoni. And N. Srinivasan.

Err_responsible: (@ca_boy19): Rajiv Shukla & Sharad Pawar asking resignation of N Srinivasan on moral grounds. Irony just shots itself in head.

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Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings: The Grand Finale

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As the cricketing fraternity all over  is shockingly disturbed over the fixing theories going around the IPL, the 76th game and the most important is about to commence in the next few hours.

Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super King are undoubtedly the two strongest teams of the tournament and it makes tremendous sense for the two to make to the finals. At least this could have been natural and without much external influence, you know what I am talking about.

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Not only did Chennai win most number of games and qualify on the basis of winning the first qualifier, they are also the only team which has won more games outside their home strip than any other. With both the highest run-getter (orange cap – Mike Hussey) and hight wicket-taker (joint Purple Cap – Drawne Bravo) in this unit, they don’t lack a punch for sure. Their fielding is what sets standards for other teams and their batting order can send any bowling attack a shiver down their spine. Mumbai is no less though in fielding and the fact that three out of top 5 catches this season has been held by the jumping Pollard speaks volumes of Jonty Rhodes’ efforts as a fielding coach.

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Mumbai on the other hand are a team built with strong people as well. The way they actually dropped an out of form Ricky Ponting (yeah really) and made Rohit Sharma the captain made one clear sound, and that was that they are here to win the tournament. The chopping and changing has worked for them this time and they have been another franchise, alongside Rajasthan, to win all games at their home venue. Unfortunately, the final is at a neutral venue and Mumbai’s record abroad is not as great as Chennai.

Comparative Analysis: 

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While Chennai Super Kings bat deep, Mumbai Indians batting has never let them down this season. With Ambati Rayudu coming into form in the last game, their batting looks an in-form line-up with Dwayne Smith, Rohit Sharma, Keiron Pollard and Dinesh Karthik making a star-studded line-up. If Sachin Tendulkar is fit, this will probably be a test for the Chennai bowlers who have leaked runs in some important games. Lasith Malinga, Harbhajan Singh and Mitchell Johnson have led the Mumbai bowling well and if they have a good day together even CSK batting will look a little less strong.

Chennai batting is no less. Murali Vijay is is top form, Raina is probably batting as best as he always does in the IPL, Hussey is orange-cap holder and we all know what MS Dhoni can do in crunch games. With Badrinath adding the much needed stability to the side, this team does not look any less than the opposition. The bowling though is of concern to Chennai. They do not have match winners in their like a Malinga as the Mumbai team does. There might not be a weak link but at the same time all of them, the Bravos and the Sharma’s we know could leak runs in dozens.

Players To Look For: 

Chennai: Hussey, Dhoni, Bravo, Raina

Mumbai: Smith, Pollard, Rohit Sharma, Malinga and Johnson

Pitch and Ground conditions: Except for the rain impacted last match, the pitch at Kolkata is notoriously famous for being slow and spin friendly. This would assist both sides as they are packed with good spinners. Unfortunately unless it rains again, the team winning the toss might hold a massive advantage batting first.

Mumbai might be a tad more confident winning 2 out of the 3 games played this season between the two sides. The way though they lost the first qualifier would be a cause for concern. Both the teams have a super record at Eden and overall this should be a grand finale for an otherwise controversy prone tournament. Hoping the best team on the day wins, other than the bookies.

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Mumbai Indians And The Problem Of Resources Vs Resourcefulness

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Mumbai Indians have a great team but a very poor resource utilization strategy. Venugopal Rajagopalan writes about that and more in this insightful piece.

Resourcefulness is optimal utilization of resources of a resource. From a corporate perspective, it is not cash that fuels the journey to the future, but the emotional and intellectual energy of every employee.

“A firm can sit atop mountains of cash and command legions of talented people, and still lose its preeminent position. Likewise, a firm can sometimes overcome enormous resource handicaps and successfully scale the heights of industry leadership” – Gary Hamel & C.K.Prahlad

Quoting another excerpt from the book Competing for the future – “Too often companies are judged in terms of resources rather than resourcefulness. Resourcefulness stems not from an elegantly structured strategic architecture, but from a deeply felt sense of purpose, a broadly shared dream, a truly seductive view of tomorrow’s opportunity.”

Now, relating this to Mumbai Indians’ case in the IPL, you can draw the same parallels. They have some of the biggest names in the business in the form of both players  and support staff. The likes of Sachin, Ponting, Pollard, Rayudu, Johnson, Oram, Harbhajan, Rohit Sharma etc prove that talent is there in abundance. In the coaching and support staff, we have people like John Wright, Anil Kumble, Robin Singh and even Mike Horn as a motivational speaker.

However, the point here is, you might have the best of resources and money power; however it’s of no use if you do not know how to utilize them. That’s what one can make of the performance of the Mumbai Indians team in all editions of the IPL. What’s the point in having spent so much to buy and retain a player of the pedigree of Kieron Pollard, if he gets to only face an average of 5-10 balls a match? In yesterday’s game against RCB at Bengaluru, he faced only 2 balls and that too at a stage where he hardly had any time to play himself in. You can’t possibly expect a man to come in to bat and hit an imaginary 30 runs in 5 balls and win you a match even he is Sir Vivian Richards.

MI has faltered in the area of strategy since the time IPL started. They lost the finals of the 2010 edition to CSK because of the very reason of not giving enough balls for Kieron Pollard to face and chase down the total. Their team management has not learnt from their mistakes in the previous editions at all. Any cricketing pundit would bat Pollard at #4 if not higher to give your match winner and best T20 player maximum time at the crease. It is not rocket science to understand that just giving him solitary 5-10 balls to face every innings is a waste for a player of his caliber.

Just imagine if Chris Gayle was asked to bat at number 6 by the RCB. Would RCB be the same force? The answer is a clear cut NO! T20 is a different ball game all together and the needs are different from the batsmen. However mouth watering the sight of seeing Sachin and Ponting opening the batting might be, the fact is that both are well past their prime. Either one of them, (ideally Ponting) should be batting at 3 or Rohit Sharma should be opening the batting for their batting order to be more effective. Pollard should be batting no lower than #4 or #5 to be effective in this format. Ideally, he should be coming in to bat not later than the 12th over of the innings to have maximum impact on the outcome of the match. If he fails to deliver or if there is a top order collapse, the Ambati Rayudus and the Dinesh Karthiks can surely resurrect the innings and get MI to a respectable total.

Will MI learn from yet another mistake or not, only time will tell, however it would be interesting to see if any other team would use this failed strategy to their advantage. Having said that, full marks to Vinay Kumar for bowling the perfect Yorker on that last delivery to Pollard under extreme pressure in that final over.

RCB Vs MI at IPL6 in Bengaluru