Tag Archives: Domestic Competition

Ranji Trophy 2007-08

Mahesh Krishnan sounded the bugle for the 74th Ranji Trophy 2007-08 season in his earlier post. I will be looking forward to the “Ranji Player Watch” series that Mahesh Krishnan has suggested. We will also try and provide round-by-round analysis here at the conclusion of each round.

The 74th ‘Ranji season’ kicks off Saturday 3 November 2007. Most matches will commence on 3 Nov, with two matches — Bengal V Hyderabad and Delhi V Rajasthan — commencing Sunday 4 Nov 2007. The Bengal V Hyderabad match was postponed by a day to allow Team India use of the Eden Gardens practice facilities. The Delhi V Rajasthan game starts a day late because Delhi will play Pakistan in a tour game starting today (2 Nov 2007). In all, 13 matches will be played in this round in the Plate League and Super League.

For a curtain-raiser on the Ranji Season, see the excellent 5-part “Eye on Ranji” series in CricInfo (Part-1, Part-2, Part-3, Part-4, Part-5).

This promises to be another cracker of a season and we will try and bring the news to you as it happens.

The Teams:

Super League:
Maharashtra, Orissa, Baroda, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Bengal, Hyderabad, Saurashtra, Mumbai, Punjab, Delhi

Plate League:
Assam, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Railways, Services, Tripura, Vidarbha

— Mohan

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Letting out some steam…

Rested

What is with the term “rested”? This word must classify as the biggest  euphemism in Indian cricket. Why don’t the selectors say exactly what the intention was? Are they trying to not offend the seniors in the team by saying that they were rested and not dropped?? I am sure Dravid is pleased that he was actually rested and not dropped.

Team selection

Ok. I don’t even want to get started on this. It’s not that the team selection has been bad. It is the lack of planning and policy in picking the team.  No offence to Pravin Kumar and Sehwag (..and I want them to succeed badly) – but there were better choices out there based on current form.

Dropping Dravid from the team

I don’t have any problems with the selectors dropping Dravid from the ODI team. In fact, Dravid, Tendulkar and Ganguly should be “rested” (if I may use the word) from the ODI team so that they can prolong their career in Test cricket. And I am not alone in this (based on various other comments that we have received in this blog). What I am pissed off is the fact that they unceremoniously dumped Dravid without any long term plan or strategy. If they wanted him to get some match practice then why did they not pick him for the Challenger Trophy?

Challenger Trophy

This is supposed to be the tournament that pits the best cricketers in India against each other. Instead what do we have? All the big names are being “rested” and we are left with the second rung of cricketers fighting each other out. Now if I was a selector, I would certainly like to know how Ojha and the likes bowl to Tendulkar, Dravid or Dhoni. Or how Praveen Kumar faces up to Zaheer, Sreesanth or RP. But then, I am no selector…If I was one, I would have also waited till the finals of the trophy before I announced the team.

Picking a coach

Just look around. Every team that has been searching for a coach has found one. And India, the biggest cash cow as far as cricket is concerned can’t seem to find one. Sigh! Is it the incompetence of the people who are trying to hire? Or are there no real people out there willing to take on the challenge of coaching a team like India?

Test captaincy

The selectors want to watch Dhoni’s captaincy for a while longer before taking a decision on the Test captaincy. How long? For another 2 games! Huh?  I don’t know about you, but I just don’t get it. If you haven’t made up your decision by now, I don’t know how an additional two games is going to help you.

-Mahesh-

The India ODI team I’d like to see for the games against Pakistan

As I mentioned in an earlier post, keeping in mind the hectic schedule that is on the cards for Team India over the next 6 months and given the importance of the flagship series against Pakistan and Australia coming up, it would be best if the selectors rested Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid from ODI duties for the series against Pakistan. That is probably the best thing that can happen for Indian cricket right now provided the alternative is sensible — and this could be tested out somewhat in the Challenger Series that starts tomorrow (25th Oct 2007) at Ahmedabad.

By skipping the Pakistan ODIs that go from 5 November to 18 November, Tendulkar, Dravid and Ganguly would be fresh for the Tests against Pakistan that commence 22 Nov. Dravid, Ganguly and Tendulkar should turn out Karnataka, West Bengal and Mumbai (respectively). Mumbai plays Karnataka and Bengal plays Hyderabad in the first games of the Ranjis this year! They would be handy matches for the Big-3! In the second round that starts 15 November, although Karnataka has an easy outing against Himachal Pradesh, Bengal plays Baroda and Mumbai plays Tamil Nadu.

Provided the Big-3 get asked to play the Ranji games, following is the ODI team I’d like to see for Team India against Pakistan:

Virender Sehwag
Gautam Gambhir
Robin Uthappa
Yuvraj Singh (vice-captain)
Rohit Sharma / S. Badrinath / Suresh Raina / Manoj Tiwary / Mohammed Kaif [2 of these 5]
M. S. Dhoni
Praveen Kumar / Yusuf Pathan / Joginder Sharma [2 of these 3]
Irfan Pathan
Harbhajan Singh / Murali Kartik / Piyush Chawla [2 of these 3]
Sreesanth
Zaheer Khan / R. P. Singh

Views/comments?

— Mohan

Challenger Series…

The Challenger Series starts tomorrow (October 25 2007) in Ahmedabad. It will run for 4 days with the Final to be played on October 28th at the same venue.

It is a flagship ODI tournament for the N. K. P. Salve Cup and, coming on the heels of the Irani Trophy, signifies the curtain raiser for the domestic season. It has also been the platform for many an impressive showing. Suresh Raina and Piyush Chawla were already good young players when they played the Challengers in the last few years. But their performances in the Challengers shot them into the national conscience — and national team selection.

Siddhartha Vaidhyanathan talks of some strange exclusions and inclusions in this years’ episode in his Cricinfo piece.

Big-name players like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Sreesanth, Zaheer Khan, R. P. Singh, Irfan Pathan, are not playing. And now, with Piyush Chawla having recovered, Murali Kartik has also been rested! Why? He has only played a handful of games in the last few weeks. Why should Kartik not play on in the Challengers? I just don’t get it. I’d have thought that more time in the middle merely serves to augment match-fitness and match-readiness, especially for a spinner!

I have already mentioned in an earlier post that I find it strange that R. P. Singh, Sreesanth and Irfan Pathan are not playing. Yes, the road ahead is littered with matches, but it is not likely that R. P. Singh and Sreesanth will play all of those games and Irfan Pathan is only now getting into a solid rhythm and momentum. In my view, they should have played this series. It is also strange, albeit understandable, that V. V. S. Laxman does not figure. Another strange exclusion is V. R. V. Singh.

As Siddhartha Vaidhyanathan says, the galling feature is the dominance of the West Zone players. Simultanesouly, the absence of players from Rajasthan (finalists in the Ranji ODI Championship last year) apart from Pankaj Singh and Karnataka (quarter-finalists in the Ranji ODI Championship) is quite galling. I’d have thought that at least Shailender Gehlot (Rajasthan) and Barrington Rowland (Karnataka) would have had a look in. This is particularly so in light of some strange inclusions, like Siddharth Trivedi. The case of Satyajit Sathbai’s inclusion makes good comic material even by BCCI standards! Initially, it seems Satyajit Parab’s name was announced. A day later, it was retracted and another Satyajit’s name was included — this time, the right one… Sathbai. But even his inclusion reads silly. I can’t see what Sathbai has done to warrant inclusion in the team! Tanmay Srivatsa, Pradeep Sangwan, M. Vijay, C. Raghu, B. Akhil and J. Arunkumar are others that can feel quite miffed at being left out.

And the name Yadav is apparently worth quite a bit in Indian cricket these days! Young lans will not be blamed for queueing up at magistrates courts across the land to change their surname to Yadav!!

With a growing expectation that the Big 3 will be rested for the Pakistan ODIs, the time is ripe for the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Mohammed Kaif, S. Badrinath, Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, and Manoj Tiwary to make a strong statement or two.

It will also present an opportunity for Munaf Patel to redeem himself in the eyes of the selectors. Yo Mahesh should grab this opportunity too.

I expect Yusuf Pathan, Praveen Kumar, Joginder Sharma and Pankaj Singh to emerge strongly from this though. This is a wonderful opportunity for these players to make their cases and emerge to give confidence to the selectors that they can address team-balance with these sorts of players. Having said that, Pankaj Singh is less of a batsman than Pathan, Kumar or Sharma. A dark horse in the team-balance stakes with bits-and-pieces players could be Abhishek Nayar. He is a first-change media-fast bowler for Mumbai and is in terrific form for Mumbai (back-to-back centuries against Karachi Blues and RoI).

I know I have been talking up Praveen Kumar quite a bit over the last year or so. I really do expect this lad to be a part of India’s ODI plans for the future. A strong showing here may even propel him into the Pakistan ODI series. It is a chance that he has to grab with both hands.

India Red:
Mohammad Kaif (capt), Karan Goel, Gautam Gambhir, Subramaniam Badrinath, Virat Kohli, Ravneet Ricky, Praveen Kumar, Mahesh Rawat (wk), Pragyan Ojha, Siddharth Trivedi, Ishant Sharma, Pinal Shah, Shrikant Munde, Paresh Patel.
Coach: Lalchand Rajput

India Blue:
Virender Sehwag (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Suresh Raina, Niraj Patel, Arjun Yadav, Joginder Sharma, Ramesh Powar, Amit Mishra, Yo Mahesh, Ranadeb Bose, Swapnil Asnodkar, Rakesh Dhurv, Saurabh Bandekar
Coach: Venkatesh Prasad

India Green:
Parthiv Patel (capt/wk), Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Murali Kartik, Manoj Tiwary, Yusuf Pathan, Abhishek Nayar, Niranjan Behera, Iqbal Abdulla, Pankaj Singh, Munaf Patel, Gagandeep Singh, Srikkanth Anirudha, Satyajit Satbhai.
Coach: Praveen Amre

The series schedule is:
Oct 25: India Red v/s India Blue
Oct 26: India Green v/s India Red
Oct 27: India Green v/s India Blue
Oct 28: Final

— Mohan

RoI win Irani Trophy

Rest of India won the Irani Trophy season opener convincingly. In Mumbai’s first innings, Kukreja (110 off 210 balls) and Abhishek Nayar (118 off 108 balls) scored tons to get Mumbai to a decent total of 453 all out.

Abhishek Nayar is shaping up as a really useful allrounder to watch out for in the future. He bats left handed and is a right-arm fast medium bowler. In this match, Nayar bowled more overs than any other Mumbai bowler. Not that this fact alone counted for much in the end, but it talks of the confidence that the team has in this 24-year-old!

After a shaky start in response to this large total, RoI responded soundly, with Parthiv Patel (179 off 235) and Manoj Tiwary (130 off 184) scoring brisk centuries. Parthiv Patel opened the innings with Akash Chopra and has been in stunning form with the bat! In the end, RoI had a slender 1st innings lead. Badrinath had made 29.

It was around this time that news may have leaked of Badrinath’s impending selection in the India team. He may have hoped for the Irani Trophy match to get over soon so that he could pack up is kit and join Team India! But even Badrinath, — who commented, “I can’t leave till this match gets over. I hope we win it tomorrow.” — would not have expected the swiftness of the RoI victory!

In the second innings, Mumbai folded for 106 off 33.3 overs in a mere 166 minutes! RoI had to make 90 to win, which they did for the loss of only 1 wicket! Parthiv Patel smashed a 48-ball 59 to continue his dream run with the bat.

There were several positives and some questions asked from this match:

  • Parthiv Patel will continue to put pressure on Dinesh Karthik for a place in the team, especially since Patel is opening too!
  • For Manoj Tiwary, this century represents a timely reminder to the selectors that he can’t be forgotten.
  • Mohammed Kaif continues to be the most successful representative captain who probably didn’t play much for his country!
  • Ramesh Powar didn’t make any impression on anyone!
  • Ajit Agarkar continued to bowl like a millionaire that he is not.
  • Young Iqbal Abdullah continues to impress and so does Pragyan Ojha.
  • But most interestingly, after an insipid first innings, Munaf Patel bowled with fire in the 2nd innings for RoI. His 5-for-25 off 7.3 overs wrecked Mumbai and caused them to crumble to 106 all out (and his fighting partnership with Ranadeb Bose in the RoI 1st innings to take RoI to a lead will perhaps help his cause too)!

Ps: Who is Omkar Gurav? What happend to Vinayak Mane?

EDIT: Vinayak Mane is injured.

— Mohan

ODI team for Bangladesh – Ranji ODI stats giving some pointers?

As we have already started speculating about the ODI team to Bangladesh I just pulled up some stats from the Ranji ODI competition. This is the stats according to most runs scored for the top 10 batsmen.

Mat I NO Runs HS Ave SR 100 50 Ct St Team

W Jaffer 7 7 1 394 170* 65.66 84.18 2 1 2 – BOM
K Goel 7 6 1 369 111 73.80 74.69 1 3 3 – PNJB
BM Rowland 7 7 2 341 102* 68.20 87.66 2 1 2 – KNTKA
M Kaif 6 6 1 340 151* 68.00 88.77 2 1 3 – UP
SA Asnodkar 5 5 1 325 104 81.25 72.06 1 3 1 – GOA
D Mongia 7 6 1 299 97 59.80 81.91 – 3 4 – PNJB
G Gambhir 6 5 0 296 116 59.20 87.05 2 – 2 – DELHI
RG Sharma 7 7 0 296 102 42.28 82.91 1 1 5 – RAJ
AS Jain 6 6 1 286 95 57.20 69.24 – 2 – – RAJ
S Badrinath 7 7 2 278 120 55.60 87.69 1 1 4 – TN

From the above I really want to see Jaffer in the team. I think Mogia also should come in. Rohit Sharma does not seem to have scored in this competition, but he has done a lot this year apparently and he can bowl usefully.. I think Kaif may also get a call again. Though Tewary is not in the above list, he has done more than enough this year. The no 2 on the list Karan Goel is very young and is only 20.

Jaffer, Uthappa, Tewary, Dravid, Yuvraj, Mongia, Dhoni/Karthik, Powar, Munaf, Zaheer, Sreesanth, with Ranadeb Bose and Gambhir completing the 14. What say?

– Sanjay

Can Mazumdar do a Hussey for India???

In India there is a general perception that a player over the age of 30 should not be made to make an international debut. But I was looking at the case of Michael Hussey and his success at the international level and wondered if there was anyone of comparable experience, talent and form to get into the national side. The first name that I came across was Amol Mazumdar. So I just pulled out his domestic record and this is what I get.

Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave 100 50 Ct St
127    192      22    8685    260 51.08 22     50 140  0

Now let us look at Michael Hussey and his domestic record.

Mat  Inns  NO   Runs HS   Ave    100 50   Ct St
193     345       33     16956   331*   54.34 44   75 209  0

OK, the Hussey record is so much superior. No comparisons. He has played more games and scored tons more centuries. Also the Australian domestic competition is at a much higher level. But we had our own Sachins and Dravids coming through our own ‘inferior’ domestic seasons. So!!!! But I am interested in a couple of factors here.

1. They are both approximately the same age.

2. They both have a very similar batting average.

3. In about 70 odd more matches, Hussey has scored about 20 more centuries and 25 more fifties.

My point is in the next 8 tests, if Mazumdar can score about 800 odd runs at an average of 40 odd with about 2 or 3 centuries we have got someone who is doing better than what Sehwag has done. Can we see if there are other comparable over 30 candidates out there. Mazumdar is in good nick now, Mumbai has won the Ranji Trophy, and if Mazumdar can do better than what I want him to do, he could even be considered India captain! Anyway we are speculating and this is an India fansite!!

– Sanjay