Tag Archives: Kapil

Dream Team

The Deccan Herald has reported in its edition today (Sunday 1 July 2007) an all-time Team-India Dream Team to mark the 75th anniversary since India played its first cricket match against England (in 1932). The Dream Team was selected by G R Vishwanath, Dilip Vengsarkar, S Venkataraghavan, Kris Srikkanth, Ajit Wadekar, Nari Contractor, Syed Kirmani and Abbas Ali Baig. The Dream Team represents India’s all-time Test XI.

This panel of eight submitted its shortlist to a special panel consiting of E. A. S. Prasanna and Rajan Bala, who then came up with the Dream Team!

Surprisingly, Bishen Singh Bedi and Anil Kumble do not make it while Dravid is a ‘Reserve’!

Dilip Vengsarkar and Syed Kirmani (both panel members) and E. A. S. Prasanna (from the elite panel) do make it! Make of that what you will!

Most surprisingly, the now-banned-for-life middle-order player (and ex-captain) Mohammed Azharuddin, who was apparently not chosen by the intial panel of eight was chosen by the elite panel in the end!

The Dream Team (in batting order) is:
Sunil Gavaskar (captain), Vinoo Mankad, Vijay Hazare (vice-captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Mohammed Azharuddin, G R Vishwanath, Kapil Dev, Syed Kirmani (wk), Javagal Srinath, EAS Prasanna, Subash Gupte.
12th Man: Vijay Manjrekar.
Reserves: Mohammed Nissar, B S Chandrasekhar, Rahul Dravid.

— Mohan

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Not just Whatmore!

The next 3 or 4 days, all cricket news in India will be centered around the new coach to be appointed. Already Dav Whatmore is being considered the top favorite for the post. Meanwhile Cricinfo reports that both Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev are keen that India have a home grown coach, while the players prefer a foreigner. But the most interesting piece of news is another name that has just cropped up.

It is that of Graham Ford a South African. Who is this guy? Some digging inside Cricinfo revealed this

“Unassuming and determinedly low key, Graham Ford ascended gradually to the position of South African coach, by-passing several bigger and more familiar names along the way. A competent all-round sportsman, Ford is a former provincial tennis champion, has provincial colours for football and is a qualified rugby union referee to go with his cricketing credentials. As a player, Ford had an eight-year first-class career in the Natal B team during the 1980s, but as a coach he moved steadily through the ranks, from the University of the Natal team, through the Natal Colts side to become senior Natal coach in 1992. He was the first to admit that he was fortunate with Natal in having Malcolm Marshall and Clive Rice on hand to help him guide a crop of outstanding young players which included Shaun Pollock, Jonty Rhodes, Lance Klusener, Neil Johnson, Dale Benkenstein and Errol Stewart. At the same time, his personalised approach proved not only popular, but effective as Natal astounded South Africa in the 1996-97 season by winning the domestic first-class and one-day competitions. He had already had a go at coaching the South African A team and in 1998 took the A side on tour to Sri Lanka. At the beginning of 1999, Ford was appointed assistant to Bob Woolmer in New Zealand, a role he carried through to the 1999 World Cup, before taking over the senior position when Woolmer’s contract ran out after the World Cup. In his time, they won nine of the 11 series under his guidance.. The Hansiegate Affair, however, has massively disrupted the South African side, and Ford was fired in 2001. Many believed he unfairly paid the price for internal power games within South African cricket. He moved to Kent as director of cricket in 2004, and while there oversaw an influx of South African players to the county. In 2006 he returned home to take charge of the Dolphins. ”

Of couse Cricinfo always has a way of coming with bits of info much before anybody else. The last time India chose a coach, there was a third candidate, Desmond Haynes, who I though was invited just to make up the numbers for the interview. Maybe it is the same this time and a new name has been dropped into the hat, especially after Whatmore’s statement in the press yesterday that he has not yet been offered a job in India.  I am sure another name or two will come up in the next few days before the BCCI meeting on June 4th. Meanwhile let the discussions begin.

– Sanjay

News in brief: 7 May 2007

According to some reports Virender Sehwag is likely to lead India in the first ODI against Bangladesh on May 10 in case regular captain Rahul Dravid sits out of the match with a nose injury. However, Dravid was quick to dismiss such speculation and added that he was looking forward to a thumping win agaist Bangladesh.

Ravi Shastri has urged fans to be patient with Tendulkar, Ganguly and Sehwag while addressing the press in Kolkata. Earlier, the Indians were practising on a grassy pitch ahead of the first One-dayer.

While Tendulkar and Dravid were injured, Sehwag and Ganguly appeared to be all at sea against the pacers on the lively strip. Batting on such a wicket does’nt make much sense since the Indians are most likely to play on a slow, low turner against a team packed with left arm spinners, a view shared by Cricinfo’s Sidharth Monga who also reckons that it will be the most evenly contested series between Bangladesh and a Test-playing nation other than Zimbabwe.

Kapil Dev had a veiled dig at some of the players by asking the Indian team to be collective in standing up to Bangladesh’s challenge rather than relying on the heroics of any one player in the upcoming away series

India’s schedule over the next 17 months is jam packed and are likely to play 20 Tests and around 62 ODIs over the next 17 months.

News in brief: 2 May 2007

The five-day conditioning camp of the Indian team for the tour of Bangladesh has seemingly started on the wrong footing. Sachin Tendulkar bruised his ankle while batting at the nets today during the Indian team’s preparatory camp in Kolkata ahead of the Bangladesh tour. Although unlikely, we would’nt be surprised if Sachin Tendulkar is ‘rested’ again for the first test and a youngster takes his place.

Speaking of youngsters, Parvin Amre thinks that the talented duo of Manoj Tewary and Rohit Sharma have a very good future in Indian cricket.

Former India captain Kapil Dev wants Tendulkar and Ganguly amoung others to interact with the National Cricket Academy trainees.

The BCCI has no immediate plans to table a no-confidence motion against the International Cricket Council, contrary to reports appearing in the media. When will the BCCI appoint a full time media manager since most of us are tired of Niranan Shah’s shoot-from-the-hips comments?

After the World Cup disaster, the Pakistan team has found itself in a religious muddle. Check out this video report. and this interview with Pervez Mir, the manager of Pakistan’s World Cup cricket team.

– Vish

All time India One Day XV

The Aussies went through the exercise of picking an all time XI before the World Cup and while discussing in another thread with Mohan Krishnamoorthy, we came up with this idea of an all time India XV.

So, here is my team:

Opening

1. Sachin Tendulkar

2. Sourav Ganguly

Others who were considered for this slot were Virender Sehwag, Kris Srikkanth, Navjot Sidhu, Ravi Shastri and  Sunil Gavaskar.

Kris Srikkanth was one of the first openers in the world who attacked from the get-go. Navjot Sidhu could hit those amazing sixes coming half way down the pitch. But as far as openers go for an all time India XI, you can’t go beyond the peerless Tendulkar and Ganguly combination. Together they have over 25000 ODI runs and over 60 centuries. Moreover, the left-hander-right-hander combination would make this a killer opening pair. Even a Sehwag in his prime would not be able to dislodge this opening combination at its peak.

Middle order

3. Virender Sehwag

4. Rahul Dravid

5. Mohammed Azharuddin

Although I have not penned Sehwag as an opening batsman, with his “near 100” strike rate and attacking game, he would come out at No. 3 in my team. Rahul Dravid, aka ‘The Wall’ will easily slide into No. 4. His 40 plus average and 70-plus strike rate makes him an ideal bat in the middle order. I would slot Mohammed Azharuddin at No. 5. Although he exited International cricket in disgrace, he had accumulated over 9000 runs and was a great batsman and fielder.

The others who were considered but didn’t make the cut included Dilip Vengsarkar, Ajay Jadeja, Mohinder Amarnath, Sandeep Patil, and Yuvraj Singh.

Lower middle order/allrounders

6. Ravi Shastri

7. M. S. Dhoni

8. Kapil Dev

As far as all rounders go, you can’t beat that list. Ravi Shastri swatting the ball for a six after coming in in the 45th over was an awesome sight. Promoting him into the opening slot pretty much killed his slog game in his later years. He was also a useful spinner who could bowl out his 10 overs.

Dhoni’s business card should actually read “Mahendra Singh Dhoni: Wicket keeper, Batsman, Slogger”. Need I say more? He has got a strike rate of 98.49 and an average of 46.61. Dhoni comes in at No. 7 in my team. Kapil Dev, the allrounder, could easily bat up the order, but he would have to settle for No.  8. 

Full time bowlers

9. Zaheer Khan

10. Javagal Srinath

11. Anil Kumble

The No. 9 slot was a tough fight between Zaheer Khan and Manoj Prabhakar. Manoj Prabhakar at his best was a very good bowler at the death and wasn’t bad with the bat either. But for sheer energy and the variety he offers with his left arm pace, Zaheer edges out Manoj Prabhakar for the No. 9 slot.

Srinath would easily grab the No. 10 slot ahead of the likes of Agarkar and Prasad. A lot of people forget that Srinath was the leading wicket taker for India in one dayers until Anil Kumble overtook his record. Bowlers like Chetan Sharma, Roger Binny and Madan Lal shined in the odd game, but they just weren’t good and consistent enough to get into my pick.

Kumble, the highest wicket taker for India would get the lone spinners slot, ahead of the only other person challenging him – Harbhajan Singh.

To make up the XV, I would pick 2 other batsmen and 2 bowlers. The 2 batsmen slots would go to Jadeja and Yuvraj. Both very different players, but excellent fielders. Prabhakar and Agarkar would take up the two bowling slots.

So here is my final XV – Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Mohammed Azharudin, Ravi Shastri, M. S. Dhoni, Kapil Dev, Zaheer Khan, Javagal Srinath, Anil Kumble, Yuvraj Singh, Ajay Jadeja, Manoj Prabhakar and Ajit Agarkar.

The XI, I have picked contains 5 bowlers who can bowl all of their 10 overs in addition to the “batting” allrounders such as Tendulkar, Ganguly and Sehwag. In some matches where just 4 bowlers would suffice, we would have the flexibility of bringing in an additional batsman such as Jadeja or Yuvraj in to the XI (who can themselves bowl a few overs).

So who would be the captain? The team is filled with players who have captained India, but my choice would be Ravi Shastri. He has a shrewd cricketing brain, but was never given enough chance to lead India.

-Mahesh-

Rahul Dravid :: The best World Cup batsman India has ever had?

This article was prompted by a statement that Chinaman made in response to an earlier article that I had written on this blog.
In full flow
In that comment, Chinaman said, “I fail to understand why Rahul Dravid is in an ODI team. In the past he has kept, so did perform dual tasks, but now he is occupying a position as a single attribute cricketer. When all players are being encouraged to improve their weaker attribute, why do I not see Dravid bowl? That because he is ‘the wall’ we cannot do without him in ODIs is a myth. He has fallen for low scores time and time again. And when he does so, he has nothing else special to contribute for the rest of the match.

He did raise a few good issues and questions. But if he had a few facts at hand, his fears may have been dispelled!

I could have responded to Chinaman in the comments section. However, I was in the midst of constructing this article anyway! So, here goes…

If we look at the performance of a few top Indian batsmen in World Cups (min qualification of at least 10 matches), we have the following — arranged in the descending order of their batting averages:

Name |M |Runs |HS |Avg |100s |50s |W |Best |BowlAv |
Dravid1977914564.9125
Tendulkar33173215259.7241262/2878.16
Ganguly1884418356.264193/2231.44
Sidhu124549345.4006
Kapil26669175*37.1611285/4331.85
Vengsarkar112526336.0001
Gavaskar19561103*35.0614
Jadeja21522100*34.801232/3247.66
Azharuddin308269339.330853/1921.80
Sehwag112998227.180221/344.00
Srikkanth235217523.68020
Amarnath142548021.1601163/1226.93
Shastri141855718.5001123/2632.41

And yes, I do know that there are other factors to consider in ODIs, such as Strike Rates, fielding, etc. But please humour me as I only consider the batting average metric for this exercise.

It is clear from the above table, that Dravid’s performances in World Cups have been excellent. Given that he also ‘kept wickets in some of the games (in 2003) this makes for a fascinating contribution from a great Indian cricketer. But even if we ignore his ‘keeping, he would be in my ODI team any day just on the strength of his batting.

There are others like Sanjay Manjrekar, who have 11 games, but with an average of 26.81 (as a pure batsman in World Cups), do not really count. I think I have captured all the relevant personnel in the above table.

Let’s now look at performances of the top batsmen in the current Indian scene over their last 20 ODI appearances for India — the number 20 has been picked somewhat arbitrarily; we could carry this analysis over (say) the last 2 years. However, I decided to look at the last 20 games.


Name |M |Runs |HS |Avg |100s |50s |W |Best |BowlAv |
Yuvraj2063010342.001462/3434.50
Tendulkar20637141*39.812462/2550.83
Dhoni2050567*38.8404
Dravid205497834.3106
Ganguly205569832.700511/29105.00
Sehwag204629725.660341/2263.25
Kaif2030966*19.3103
Raina203225318.9401
Dhoni2050567*38.8404

Dinesh Karthik has an average of 21.28 from 10 games and Uthappa has an average of 39.25 from 5 games (clearly, early days yet).

Great Shot from DravidThe fact is that Indian batsmen haven’t been faring that well lately. However, even here, it is clear that Dravid’s place in the team is dictated purely on the basis of his batting strength. He earns his ticket purely as a batsman in form. The other batsmen who bowl a bit haven’t really set the world on fire with their bowling in recent games. Dhoni is the only one in the above list who can claim an effective dual-role. It is also perhaps clear from this why Kaif and Raina were dropped — perhaps they have only themselves to blame!

Given Table-1 which shows Dravid towering above the rest when it comes to performances in World Cup games, it would be safe to assume that he would have been the second (if not the first) name-pencil in the team sheet — just on the strength of his batting prowess!

— Mohan

Indian Team Writers’ XV

It is clear that cricket dominates everything in India at the moment. Indian TV news is dominated by cricket. Panel discussions and audience-based programmes have commenced… Well, they have never stopped really have they? Every second ad on TV apparently has a cricket flavour. There are cricket songs being penned furiously. Even Bollywood has gone cricket — well, they always were, but more so now!

Shah Rukh Khan MC’d a farewell event organised by Pepsi, which featured the new Pepsi Gold bottle — sigh! Apparently the event had, amongst others, Priyanka Chopra and Mandira Bedi — her of noodle-straps-fame. The event also featured songs by Sukhwinder Singh, Adnan Sami and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy who belted out numbers from Salaam-E-Ishq, etc.

Everything is cricket in this cricket-crazed country!

Everyone is talking about cricket. Sunil Gavaskar, Kris Srikkanth, Kapil Dev, Harsha Bhogle and Ravi Shastri have never been busier. They are wheeled from one studio to another to talk about one thing or another. The topics may be incredibly diverse and varied as long as they focus on team composition! Well at one programme Gavaskar talks about team composition. At the same time Srikkanth and Mohinder Amarnath are at another studio, talking about team composition. You may have missed a simultaneous programme on a totally different topic on a rival channel. So you might record it. A later replay would show that at another programme, Shastri, Bhogle and Gavaskar collide to talk about team composition. Fresh eyes. Fresh views. Meanwhile, another programme has developed a scoop on team composition and that gets a lot of airplay and repeats too! Looking for a fresh angle, yet another programme wheels in Gavaskar and Bhogle to talk about team composition. By then, a tired looking Gavaskar, with match-sticks to prop up his eyelids, charges like a wounded bull into yet another studio where he and Srikkanth are going to talk about team composition. Srikkanth is looking fresh although he has hardly had time to blow his nose!

Occasionally, Kapil Dev will say something nasty about Greg Chappell. This merely serves as a temporary distraction before the amazing diversity of topics resumes around… team composition! Diversity is apparently good!

Then at about 1am, when the whole nation has slept, these pundits have to rush home to write articles for the next mornings’ newspapers… articles about team composition!

Then another day begins and so does yet another round of expert-comments, interviews and studio-audience-shows.. on team composition!

Prompted by a lovely article by Shailaja Bajpai in The Indian Express — in which she talks about much of the things that I have talked about in this article — I set about looking at the number of celebrity-cricket-writers that are writing about cricket; the assorted army of now-old cricketers who are providing a healthy dose of sound-bytes about cricket to the various channels — of course, all of them on team composition!

I have seen the following ex-cricketers write about and talk about cricket in the last little while. I may have missed a few, but I think I have captured a fair few of them.

And they have been organised in batting order!

Sunil Gavaskar, Kris Srikkanth, Arun Lal, Mohinder Amarnath, Sanjay Manjrekar, Mohammed Azharuddin, Sandeep Patil, Ashok Malhotra, Yashpal Sharma, Ajay Jadeja, Kapil Dev, Ravi Shastri, Kirti Azad, Syed Kirmani, Kiran More, Madan Lal, Javagal Srinath, Atul Wasson.

That’s about 18 ex-players — not a bad team to field huh?

Virender Sehwag’s form, Sourav Ganguly’s return and Irfan Pathan’s fitness have dominated their bleat-time. But each one is unique. Each one has a voice. Each one has an opinion. Each one is heard… As long as they talk about team composition, everything else is forgiven!

— Mohan