Monthly Archives: November 2010

Ranji 34 – Update 4

Here we are back with the latest update on our designated 34 players to watch in the 2010-11 Ranji Trophy season. Many of the matches were interrupted because of rain around the country. The games still produced some good performances. Some of the stars like Yusuf Pathan, Yuvraj Singh, Vinay Kumar did not play becasue of their inclusion in the Indian ODI side. Irfan Pathan is still not playing. Cheteswar Pujara played a game finally for Saurashtra but got only 22. Not the best of preparations for the SA tour though. Badrinath continues to celebrate his exclusion from the Indian ODI side to rattle up scores of 83, 104, 195 & 149. Is anybody even noticing??? No matches were played in the Plate league this round.

Ranji Super League

Bengal
Wriddhiman Saha – 36 (Delhi) 11 (Mumbai) 178 no (Assam) DNP (Gujarat)
Manoj Tewary – 69 (Delhi) 14 (Mumbai) 50 (Assam) 92 (Gujarat)
A Dinda – 4/132 off 45 (Delhi) 1/130 (Mumbai) DNP (Assam) DNP (Gujarat)
Delhi
V Kohli – 173 (Bengal) 139 & 7 (TN) 6 (Gujarat) DNP (Saurashtra)
S Dhawan – 42(Bengal) 41 & 88 (TN) 149 (Gujarat) 51 (Saurashtra)
P Sangwan – 23 no & 0/86 (Bengal) DNP (TN) 3/16 & 1/57 (Gujarat) DNP (Saurashtra)
Mumbai
Rohit Sharma – 93 & 74 no (Saurashtra) 200 no (Bengal) 1 & 31 no (Railways) DNP (Assam)
Ajinkya Rahane – Did not play (Saurashtra) 110 (Bengal) 43 & 94 (Railways) 22 (Assam)
Iqbal Abdulla – 150 no & 1/33 (Saurashtra) 81 & Did not bowl (Bengal) 4/42 & 1/74 (Railways) 2/48 & 3/22 (Assam)
Saurashtra
Jaydev Unadkat – 0/116 (Mumbai) 3/46 & 2/55 (Gujarat) 0/46 (Delhi)
Ravindra Jadeja – 40 & 4/189 off 56 (Mumbai) 13 & 0, 3/49 & 5/59 (Gujarat) 63 & 0/134 (Saurashtra) DNP (Delhi)
Baroda
Ambati Rayudu (playing for Baroda) – 4 & 200 no (Orissa) 22 (Haryana) 91 & 0 (UP) 79 (Punjab)
Yusuf Pathan – 10 & 27 (Orissa) 195 (Haryana) 15 & 49 (UP) DNP (Punjab)
Irfan Pathan – Did not play
Tamil Nadu
R Ashwin – 1/51 off 19 & 2/74 off 34 (Assam) 5/94 & 6/87 (Delhi) 2/118 (Saurashtra) DNP (Railways)
Abhinav Mukund – 22 & 32 (Assam) 2 & 59 (Delhi) 232 (Saurashtra) 131 (Railways)
Dinesh Karthik – 4 & 0 (Assam) 6 & 23 no (Delhi) 30 no (Saurashtra) 17 no (Railways)
S Badrinath – 83 & 6 no (Assam) 104 & 25 no (Delhi) 195 (Saurashtra) 149 (Railways)
Punjab
Yuvraj Singh – 52 & 24 (UP) 39 & 79 (Karnataka) 27 & 92 (HP) DNP (Baroda)
Sarabjit Ladda – 1/55 (UP) DNP (Karnataka) 2/101 (HP) 5/118 (Baroda)
UP
Praveen Kumar – 5/72 & 1/51 (Punjab) DNP (Orissa) DNP (Baroda) DNP (HP)
RP Singh – 2/82 & 1/71 (Punjab) 6/50 & 3/29 (Orissa) 1/73 & 0/14 (Baroda) 3/38 (HP)
Piyush Chawla – 2/51 & 2/78 (Punjab) 0/65 & 2/31 (Orissa) 0/71 & 0/40 (Baroda) Did not bowl (HP)
Bhuvaneshwar Kumar – 0/54 & 2/52 and 35 (Punjab) DNP (Orissa) 47 & 55 and 4/51 & 4/37 (Baroda) 0 & 2 and 2/14 (HP)
Karnataka
Robin Uthappa – 149 (Punjab) 42 & 48 (Haryana) 9 (Orissa)
Abhimanyu Mithun – 0/52 & 4/94 (Punjab) 2/61 (Haryana) 1/45 & 4/70 (Orissa)
Manish Pandey – 49 (Punjab) 37 & 55 (Haryana) 171 (Orissa)
Vinay Kumar – 5/61 & 3/64 (Punjab) 2/57 (Haryana) DNP (Orissa)
Ranji Trophy Plate

MP
Naman Ojha – 88 (Goa) 73 (Rajasthan)
Monish Mishra – 71 (Goa) 8 (Rajasthan)
Rajasthan
Deepak Chahar – 8/10 & 4/54 (Hyderabad) 4/67 & 0/75 (Goa) 1/136 (MP)
Pankaj Singh – 2/11 & 4/45 (Hyderabad) 5/58 & 2/89 (Goa) 0/86 (MP)
Jharkhand
Saurabh Tiwary – 20 (Tripura), 45 & 32 (Hyderabad) 4 & 12 (Goa)
Vidarbha
Umesh Yadav – 2/73 (Andhra) 7/74 & 0/30 (Maharashtra) 1/22 (Kerala)
Sanjay

 


Ranji 34 – Update 3

Another round of matches got over in the Ranji trophy. Some interesting games. The best being UP’s fantastic “come from behind” victory against Baroda. Assam overhauled a 562/6 decl by Bengal to get the first innings leand! Gujarat after being all out for 71 managed to draw the game by 1 wicket against Delhi. Punjab are languishing at the bottom with another bad game this time against HP! Cmon Yuvi wake up!!! Mumbai won after a nervy chase against Railways. BTW Jaffer did not score even a fifty! In the Plate Saurabh Tiwary continues to fail and Shadab Jakati (of CSK fame) got 10 wickets against Jharkhand to win it for Goa. And for some of us to feel nice about, Hyderabad won a game against Tripura.

Ranji Super League

Bengal

Wriddhiman Saha – 36 (Delhi) 11 (Mumbai) 178 no (Assam)

Manoj Tewary – 69 (Delhi) 14 (Mumbai) 50 (Assam)

A Dinda – 4/132 off 45 (Delhi) 1/130 (Mumbai) DNP (Assam)

Delhi

V Kohli – 173 (Bengal) 139 & 7 (TN) 6 (Gujarat)

S Dhawan – 42(Bengal) 41 & 88 (TN) 149 (Gujarat)

P Sangwan – 23 no & 0/86 (Bengal) DNP (TN) 3/16 & 1/57 (Gujarat)

Mumbai

Rohit Sharma – 93 & 74 no (Saurashtra) 200 no (Bengal) 1 & 31 no (Railways)

Ajinkya Rahane – Did not play (Saurashtra) 110 (Bengal) 43 & 94 (Railways)

Iqbal Abdulla – 150 no & 1/33 (Saurashtra) 81 & Did not bowl (Bengal) 4/42 & 1/74 (Railways)

Saurashtra

Jaydev Unadkat – 0/116 (Mumbai) 3/46 & 2/55 (Gujarat)

Ravindra Jadeja – 40 & 4/189 off 56 (Mumbai) 13 & 0, 3/49 & 5/59 (Gujarat) 63 & 0/134 (Saurashtra)

Baroda

Ambati Rayudu (playing for Baroda) – 4 & 200 no (Orissa) 22 (Haryana) 91 & 0 (UP)

Yusuf Pathan – 10 & 27 (Orissa) 195 (Haryana) 15 & 49 (UP)

Irfan Pathan – Did not play

Tamil Nadu

R Ashwin – 1/51 off 19 & 2/74 off 34 (Assam) 5/94 & 6/87 (Delhi) 2/118 (Saurashtra)

Abhinav Mukund – 22 & 32 (Assam) 2 & 59 (Delhi) 232 (Saurashtra)

Dinesh Karthik – 4 & 0 (Assam) 6 & 23 no (Delhi) 30 no (Saurashtra)

S Badrinath – 83 & 6 no (Assam) 104 & 25 no (Delhi) 195 (Saurashtra)

Punjab

Yuvraj Singh – 52 & 24 (UP) 39 & 79 (Karnataka) 27 & 92 (HP)

Sarabjit Ladda – 1/55 (UP) DNP (Karnataka) 2/101 (HP)

UP

Praveen Kumar – 5/72 & 1/51 (Punjab) DNP (Orissa) DNP (Baroda)

RP Singh – 2/82 & 1/71 (Punjab) 6/50 & 3/29 (Orissa) 1/73 & 0/14 (Baroda)

Piyush Chawla – 2/51 & 2/78 (Punjab) 0/65 & 2/31 (Orissa) 0/71 & 0/40 (Baroda)

Bhuvaneshwar Kumar – 0/54 & 2/52 and 35 (Punjab) DNP (Orissa) 47 & 55 and 4/51 & 4/37 (Baroda)

Karnataka

Robin Uthappa – 149 (Punjab) 42 & 48 (Haryana)

Abhimanyu Mithun – 0/52 & 4/94 (Punjab) 2/61 (Haryana)

Manish Pandey – 49 (Punjab) 37 & 55 (Haryana)

Vinay Kumar – 5/61 & 3/64 (Punjab) 2/57 (Haryana)

 

Ranji Trophy Plate

MP

Naman Ojha – 88 (Goa) 73 (Rajasthan)

Monish Mishra – 71 (Goa) 8 (Rajasthan)

Rajasthan

Deepak Chahar – 8/10 & 4/54 (Hyderabad) 4/67 & 0/75 (Goa) 1/136 (MP)

Pankaj Singh – 2/11 & 4/45 (Hyderabad) 5/58 & 2/89 (Goa) 0/86 (MP)

Jharkhand

Saurabh Tiwary – 20 (Tripura), 45 & 32 (Hyderabad) 4 & 12 (Goa)

Vidarbha

Umesh Yadav – 2/73 (Andhra) 7/74 & 0/30 (Maharashtra) 1/22 (Kerala)

 

 

Team for the South African tour

The team for SA tour has also been announced.

Squad for South Africa Tests: MS Dhoni (capt), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh, Suresh Raina, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Sreesanth, M Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Wriddhiman Saha, Umesh Yadav, Jaidev Unadkat, Pragyan Ojha.

This time I really don’t have any problems with the side, though  am not sure if Umesh Yadav deserves a place. He plays for Vdarbha in the Plate division. I would rather have Vinay Kumar or Abhimanyu Mithun in the team. I think Mithun is getting a raw deal. He bowled his heart out on lifeless pitches in SL and really deserves a chance.

Sanjay

Indian ODI team for the first 2 games against NZ

The team for the NZ ODI series has been announced. Dhoni wanted a break and has been given. Afterall Dhoni is in a position to ask and getting anything he wants from the BCCI. Given the current state of the game at Nagpur, a win only confirms this more than anything else. Zaheer, Harbhajan and Sachin have also been rested. Gambhir has been named the captain out of seniority. Raina had led the side in Zimbabwe but with Yuvraj and the likes in the team Gambhir’s appointment makes sense. Coming to the team, most of it is along expected lines except for the following.

1. Saurabh Tiwary – He is being picked in the squad consistently but has not a got a game. We had already indicated that his selection is based only on the IPL. His Ranji performances are nothing to write home about. That too after playing for Jharkhand in the Plate division which supposed to be easier!

2. Wriddhiman Saha – After repeated failures from Dinesh Karthik it is good that the selectors are finally looking at someone else. But should it be Saha? Has he done enough to get a place in the ODI squad. Given that the selectors are picking people based on the IPL, Naman Ojha could have been a better choice. The Cricinfo correspondent however thinks  Saha “is fresh from a century against Assam in the Ranji Trophy Super League.”

3.  Munaf Patel – He keeps coming back into the Indian team on a regular basis without any real great performances to speak about. I would have like Abhimanyu Mithun, Sudip Tyagi or even Bhuvaneswar Kumar to get a look in.

4. Sreesanth – Now his Test performance has got him a place in the ODI team? But no place for Ishanth Sharma, Jaidev Unadkat or Umesh Yadav? I think it is a big risk playing Sreesanth in a one day side. BTW can someone tell me why Nehra is not in the team?

5. Yusuf Pathan – He gets another chance. I would rather have a batsman like Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, or Badrinath in the team.

Squad for first two ODIs v New Zealand: Gautam Gambhir (capt), M Vijay, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Saurabh Tiwary, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, R Vinay Kumar, Munaf Patel, Sreesanth, Yusuf Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja.

Your comments are most welcome.

Sanjay

Ranji 34 Update No 2

The next set of matches in the Ranji trophy got over today and here is an update of our 34 players’ performance. Since both Ashish Nehra and Abhishek Jhunjhunwala haven’t yet played a game I have decided to include Manish Pandey & Vinay Kumar in the list. Also notable have been Murali Karthik with a 9 wicket haul and Wasim Jaffer with 3 hundreds and a 73 in 4 innings!!! Still we might wait for one more match to see if the list needs to be expanded to 36 or not. As usual if any of you find some extraordinary performances that needs to be highlighted or a name to be included in the list please just comment below this post.

Ranji Super League

Bengal

Wriddhiman Saha – 36 (Delhi) 11 (Mumbai)

Manoj Tewary – 69 (Delhi) 14 (Mumbai)

A Dinda – 4/132 off 45 (Delhi) 1/130 (Mumbai)

Delhi

V Kohli – 173 (Bengal) 139 & 7 (TN)

S Dhawan – 42(Bengal) 41 & 88 (TN)

P Sangwan – 23 no & 0/86 (Bengal) DNP (TN)

Mumbai

Rohit Sharma – 93 & 74 no (Saurashtra) 200 no (Bengal)

Ajinkya Rahane – Did not play (Saurashtra) 110 (Bengal)

Iqbal Abdulla – 150 no & 1/33 (Saurashtra) 81 & Did not bowl (Bengal)

Saurashtra

Jaydev Unadkat – 0/116 (Mumbai) 3/46 & 2/55 (Gujarat)

Ravindra Jadeja – 40 & 4/189 off 56 (Mumbai) 13 & 0, 3/49 & 5/59 (Gujarat)

Baroda

Ambati Rayudu (playing for Baroda) – 4 & 200 no (Orissa) 22 (Haryana)

Yusuf Pathan – 10 & 27 (Orissa) 195 (Haryana)

Irfan Pathan – Did not play

Tamil Nadu

R Ashwin – 1/51 off 19 & 2/74 off 34 (Assam) 5/94 & 6/87 (Delhi)

Abhinav Mukund – 22 & 32 (Assam) 2 & 59 (Delhi)

Dinesh Karthik – 4 & 0 (Assam) 6 & 23 no (Delhi)

S Badrinath – 83 & 6 no (Assam) 104 & 25 no (Delhi)

Punjab

Yuvraj Singh – 52 & 24 (UP) 39 & 79 (Karnataka)

Sarabjit Ladda – 1/55 (UP) DNP (Karnataka)

UP

Praveen Kumar – 5/72 & 1/51 (Punjab) DNP (Orissa)

RP Singh – 2/82 & 1/71 (Punjab) 6/50 & 3/29 (Orissa)

Piyush Chawla – 2/51 & 2/78 (Punjab) 0/65 & 2/31 (Orissa)

Bhuvaneshwar Kumar – 0/54 & 2/52 and 35 (Punjab) DNP (Orissa)

Karnataka

Robin Uthappa – 149 (Punjab)

Abhimanyu Mithun – 0/52 & 4/94 (Punjab)

Manish Pandey – 49 (Punjab)

Vinay Kumar – 5/61 & 3/64 (Punjab)

Ranji Trophy Plate

MP

Naman Ojha – 88 (Goa)

Monish Mishra – 71 (Goa)

Rajasthan

Deepak Chahar – 8/10 & 4/54 (Hyderabad) 4/67 & 0/75 (Goa)

Pankaj Singh – 2/11 & 4/45 (Hyderabad) 5/58 & 2/89 (Goa)

Jharkhand

Saurabh Tiwary – 20 (Tripura), 45 & 32 (Hyderabad)

Vidarbha

Umesh Yadav – 2/73 (Andhra) 7/74 & 0/30 (Maharashtra)

A visit to Chepauk

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I had just logged into Cricinfo to check on the progress of the TN-Delhi Ranji game. Cricinfo does not do live commentary (which is sad) but there were session updates. Delhi had declared at 209/9 with TN needing 319 for a win form 56 overs. TN were already 21/0 off 3overs at lunch and I thought there will be an exciting chase on offer in the afternoon. So around 1.30 after dropping off our son (he was officiating as an “explainer” in his school project) we set off to Chepauk to see what was happening. I was hoping TN would be around 120-130 for 2 or 3 and we could hopefully get a good chase. The stadium was quite a sight with the renovation works happening in full swing as you can see from the fotos. As we stepped into the pavillion terrace, we found a fairly decent sized crowd of almost 200 people watching the game. Abhinav Mukund was still batting and it looked like Badri was giving him company. I could not see the score as the main scoreboard had been pulled down. A youngish looking off spinner (M.Chauhan making his debut) and a sharpish left arm medium pacer (Suyal?) were operating. Badri was struggling a bit with his timing. The crowd was cheering every single with some old fashioned clapping, as the score crawled for a couple of overs. Then suddenly Abhinav tried a fancy late cut off a short one from Chauhan and guided it straight to Kohli at 1st slip. He walked back slowly looking dejected to a warm sprinkling of an applause and the TN captain Dinesh Kartik walked in to a slightly exaggerated applause. DK played a couple of balls quietly, Badri got 4 leg byes before the umpires called Tea. A few older gentlemen, who might have had an important role to play in the annual War of the Roses (State Bank vs Parry) in the 1960s TNCA league got up looking bored, I thought that TN would be happy to take 1 point from a draw. I looked up and caught sight of a small scoreboard that read 101/3. As the players got back, Kohli got some catcalls from some of the young kids, and he waved upstairs. Soon Shikhar Dhawan follwed in and we decided to leave after about half an hour. Watching live cricket is always fun and different from watching on TV. I feel this everytime I go to the stadium to watch a game. Given the noise and shouting that accompanies international games, it was a pleasure to just sit and watch some old fashioned cricket with clapping. Another interesting thing that I always notice in a live game is that the faster bowlers just seem much quicker than they appear on television! Just shows how difficult playing cricket can be! Got back home to find that TN finished with 143/3 drawing the game in the end. I am hopeful that I can get to watch for a longer period of time in the coming month as TN has most of its games at home. Have attached some pictures of the ground that is getting a facelift and is beginning to resemble some of the Australian grounds now.
Sanjay

Ranji 34 Update

We had identified 34 players in the Indian domestic scene that we intended to keep a watch on. Today the next set of matches begin so I thought I’ll just update the performances of our Ranji 34. Karnataka play their first game today.  After the next set of matches if there are more that we should follow  just drop a comment below.

Ranji Super League

Bengal

A Jhunjunwala – Did not play

Wriddhiman Saha – 36 (Delhi)

Manoj Tewary – 69 (Delhi)

A Dinda – 4/132 off 45 (Delhi)

Delhi

V Kohli – 173 (Bengal)

S Dhawan – 42(Bengal)

P Sangwan – 23 no & 0/86 (Bengal)

Ashish Nehra – Did not play

Mumbai

Rohit Sharma – 93 & 74 no (Saurashtra)

Ajinkya Rahane – Did not play

Iqbal Abdulla – 150 no & 1/33 (Saurashtra)

Saurashtra

Jaydev Unadkat – 0/116 (Mumbai)

Ravindra Jadeja – 40 & 4/189 off 56 (Mumbai)

Baroda

Ambati Rayudu (playing for Baroda) – 4 & 200 no (Orissa)

Yusuf Pathan – 10 & 27 (Orissa)

Irfan Pathan – Did not play

Tamil Nadu

R Ashwin – 1/51 off 19 & 2/74 off 34 (Assam)

Abhinav Mukund – 22 & 32 (Assam)

Dinesh Karthik – 4 & 0 (Assam)

S Badrinath – 83 & 6 no (Assam)

Punjab

Yuvraj Singh – 52 & 24 (UP)

Sarabjit Ladda – 1/55 (UP)

UP

Praveen Kumar – 5/72 & 1/51 (Punjab)

RP Singh – 2/82 & 1/71 (Punjab)

Piyush Chawla – 2/51 & 2/78 (Punjab)

Bhuvaneshwar Kumar – 0/54 & 2/52 and 35 (Punjab)

Karnataka

Robin Uthappa

Abhimanyu Mithun

Ranji Trophy Plate

MP

Naman Ojha – 88 (Goa)

Monish Mishra – 71 (Goa)

Rajasthan

Deepak Chahar – 8/10 & 4/54 (Hyderabad)

Pankaj Singh – 2/11 & 4/45

Jharkhand

Saurabh Tiwary – 20 (Tripura)

Vidarbha

Umesh Yadav – 2/73 (Andhra)

 

 

The Motera farce and the great escape from Dubai!

We have been witness to two separate events within the realms of cricket in the last week. One was labelled as a test match between India and New Zealand. The game ended in a draw thanks to superlative batting performance by a gentleman who was supposed to win us the game by bowling off spin. To me, the Indians gave the impression that they were reluctantly involved in this competition. Sehwag blasted his way to 170 in the first innings and got out playing “french” cricket. And he walked off like a man who lost his wicket to his best friend’s kid in a club game between Greater Kailash and Janakpuri.

And then everyone went to sleep for three days only to be woken up by Chris Martin’s incisive spell. India ended the 4th day at 82 for 6. Despite this precarious position, Pragyan Ojha was confident that he and his colleagues would save the game. While I did not get to see the final day, all reports suggest that India saved the game without much sweat. Blame it on the pitch, the quality of the opposition, umpiring, scheduling etc. etc. Whatever be the reason, what struck me the most was the India was not present on a major part of the 5 days. They seemed to go through the motions from Day 1, and yes, Sehwag can score hundreds even when he is going through the motions. I would rather play a second rung Indian team than watch this lineup treat this like a club game. This New Zealand team is only slightly better than a club side. Don’t believe anyone who thinks otherwise. I do hope that Hyderabad is a different story and the Motera farce can become a thing of the past.

Not far away, the South Africans are involved in a series against a Pakistani team that provides more drama and entertainment than most Bollywood offerings. Wine, women, heroes, villians, crime, cheating, kidnapping, disappearances, gang wars, jealousy, back stabbing, exciting chases, they seem to have it all. It’s just the credibility of the games are taking a beating. I simply cannot watch a Pakistani game without thinking about the possibility that game is fixed. That thought is even more pronounced when it happens at the Mecca of match fixing. The country, the team, and the players ultimately seem to seek refuge at the Mecca of the game. The irony of it all. I think it may not be a bad idea to keep Pakistan out of international cricket till their Board gets its act together. There is a lot of talent in that team that is getting wasted resulting from the actions of a irresponsible Board.

– Srikanth

 

 

When Selvi came alive

In his compelling collection, Lawley Road & Other Stories, R. K. Narayan narrates the highly poignant tale ofSelvi, the leading classical singer of her day. The subject is accustomed to the adoring applause of celebrity audiences, and yet immune to it through her piety to music. Following a renunciation of the spotlight, she restricts the expression of her art to a daily saadhana, witnessed & cherished by a handful of Malgudi commoners. The descent from exclusive chamber sessions at her estranged husband’s plush residence in upscale Lawley Extension, to impromptu rehearsals in the verandah of her late mother’s humble dwelling in decrepit Ellamman Street, fails to tarnish the quality of music.

Art breathes in its own inspiration. Dispossess it of the big stage. Divest it of adulation. Yet it remains resplendent, adorned by its inherent effulgence. It was a happy coincidence that I read Selvi in the car on my way to watch 2 artists grace an occasion more modest than their habitual realm. It has been second nature for Rahul Dravid & V. V. S. Laxman to parade their gifts in the rarefied echelons of international cricket. It is also to their credit that their relationship with domestic cricket (since they graduated to higher honours) wears proud commitment and goes beyond random dalliances. It was one such tryst with the Irani Cup in 2003 that gave me an opportunity to watch them forge a memorable partnership in flesh – one that didn’t win them as many accolades as their triple-century heists at Kolkata & Adelaide against Australia, but no less memorable for me personally. It was a game that saw most of their peers follow their example and embrace domestic cricket. Indeed, Rest of India, led by Saurav Ganguly, was pretty much the Indian Test XI save for Sachin Tendulkar who captained the opposing team, the Ranji champions Mumbai.

The first 3 days saw one of the most delicious contests possible – Anil Kumble bowling to Tendulkar – playing out to near empty stands at Chepauk. Neither man bested the other, but their gratitude for not having to lock horns in an international game was reinforced. Twin half centuries by Tendulkar & a substantial first innings lead for Mumbai meant RoI had to get 340 on a wearing wicket to lay their hands on silverware. They got 50 of those by stumps on day 3, but lost both openers Virender Sehwag & Sanjay Bangar. Dravid walked out the next morning amidst enthusiastic cheering from a healthier Sunday crowd for local boy L. Balaji, and quickly banished Ramesh Powar over long on for a couple of sixes. The nightwatchman’s resolute defiance nearly lasted through the session, but altogether progress had been relatively slow. Laxman took guard with the misery of a 53-ball 5 in the first knock hanging over his head. On the other side of the luncheon interval, both men blossomed. Leg-spinner Sairaj Bahutule looked to exploit the rough. In a twinkling exhibition of decisive footwork, Laxman repeatedly met him on the full and the expanses at extra-cover & midwicket lay enslaved to a sovereign whim. Dravid stayed crisp and efficient against the faster men Ajit Agarkar & Avishkar Salvi, combating the short stuff with the fierce cut and the regal pull in all his majestic glory. Powar came back for a new spell with an over that was bookended by 2 4s and 2 6s. The former brought Laxman his half century, both full tosses caressed away. The latter took Dravid from 88 to 100, in a manner that would go on to become synonymous with Sehwag. On each occasion he danced down the track flouting open impertinence to the challenge, and thundered the ball into the Royal Sundaram stand high over the bowler’s head. A stalwart of Indian cricket had shown an upstart his place. After tea, Laxman relegated even Dravid to spectator, uncorking one champagne stroke after another. The promise of a glorious hundred wasn’t honoured though, Bahutule pooping his party one short of the landmark. That was my cue to leave as I had to catch a train back to my college in Vellore. As I haggled with an autowallah near Buckingham Canal, Chepauk went up in a groan that could only have meant Dravid’s dismissal.

With my hair standing on end, I wondered what the forthcoming season – featuring important tours to Australia & Pakistan – would have in store for the partners-in-crime. Dravid had started the season with a legitimate claim of being India’s finest. Six months later, he would end it undisputedly as the world’s best. 3 double centuries in 9 Tests, each one successively higher than the previous, would propel his Test average from 53 to 58. Laxman would also score 3 Test hundreds, and curiously, 5 ODI hundreds that winter. His 99 that day had been scored at nearly run-a-ball.

I got an SMS from my father as the Yelagiri Express pulled out of Central Station. I learnt that Ganguly & Kumble had steered the Rest home after a mini-collapse. I was also informed that I had left Selvi behind, my copy of Lawley Road & Other Stories having been forgotten in the car.

– Kartik

 

The 2010-2011 Ranji Season Kicks Off

The Ranji Trophy season 2010-2011 kicked off on Monday 1 November to the stunning news of Hyderabad slumping to the lowest ever Ranji total at the hands of an 18-year old debutant pace bowler, Deepak Chahar from Rajasthan. Hyderabad made just 21 runs in their 1st innings in which Pankaj Singh bowled 8 overs (for 2 wickets) and Chahar bowled 7.3 overs for his 8 wickets! Early on the 3rd morning of the match, Hyderabad folded to an embarrassing innings defeat with Chahar getting 4 2nd Innings wickets!

The Ranji Trophy 2010-2011 announced its arrival and so did young Deepak Chahar! Although, as Sanjay Subrahmanyan says on Twitter, “Chahar gets 8 on his Ranji debut! If he had got even 4 on an IPL debut, he’d be in the Indian team! Right?”

Such is life. But for us, what this has done is that we will add Deepak Chahar to the list of players we will be “watching” in this Ranji season. This list of players includes (in no particular order):

Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Abhinav Mukund, S. Badrinath, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Manoj Tiwary, Naman Ojha, Wriddhiman Saha, Dinesh Karthik*, Monish Mishra, Abhishek Jhunjhunwala, Sourabh Tiwary*, Yusuf Pathan, Yuvraj Singh. Irfan Pathan, Robin Uthappa, Ambati Rayudu, Pankaj Singh (Deepak Chahar’s bowling partner in the Rajasthan team), Deepak Chahar, Umesh Yadav, Pradeep Sangwan, Abhimanyu Mithun, Ashish Nehra, Ashok Dinda, Jaydev Unnadkat, RP Singh, Praveen Kumar, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja*, Piyush Chawla, Iqbal Abdulla, Sarabjit Ladha.

A few other points:

  • We do not intend “following” players like Cheteshwar Pujara, Amit Mishra, Suresh Raina and M. Vijay who have “already made it” (thus, it is likely that these above-mentioned players will play very few Ranji games this season anyway).
  • The sad reality is the paucity of spinners in the above list.
  • The players with a * by their name are in the list for their curiosity value and answers the questions: “Why are they valued?“, or “What do the selectors see in them that we do not?” or “How do they make it to where they are?“.

Other than his hairstyle which reminds us of a young Dhoni and a few thwacks in the IPL, one might, for example, wonder what Sourabh Tiwary’s credentials are? Sourabh Tiwary plays in the Plate League (against teams like Tripura, J&K, etc) and has an average of 48.9 (with 6 centuries and a highest score of 169) after 21 matches. We are not sure that that is good enough for a Ranji Plate player. More importantly, we are not sure that that is good enough to propel him into the National team.

We will post an occasional column titled “Ranji Watch” every now and then — perhaps even after each round — to see how our “watched” players fared.

In a recent article, Cricinfo featured a sharper list containing only 12 players. Their list of “hopeful men” included Ashish Nehra, R. Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Umesh Yadav, Jaidev Unnadkat, Irfan Pathan, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Piyush Chawla, Abhinav Mukund and Virat Kohli. We felt that our list of 34 players, which includes all 12 names of hopefuls from the Cricinfo list, is larger and more inclusive.

Most of the above 34 players have had a steady — if not reasonable or excellent — outing in the 1st round Ranji games. Virat Kohli has scored a century. Shikar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, et al made a few runs. Pankaj Singh and Deepak Chahar were part of Hyderabad’s embarrassing rout. We will wait for the 1st round to finish before posting some observations.