Tag Archives: Warne

ICC’s “Best Ever” batsmen and bowlers!

The ICC has released its “Best Ever” Batting and Bowling ratings.

Its best ever batsman is Don Bradman. No arguments from anyone on that one, I’d think! The ICC’s 3rd best ever bat is Ricky Ponting. Its 6th best ever bat is Kumar Sangakkara! And the ICC 10th best ever is the recently retired Matt Hayden.

Sunil Gavaskar sneaks in at an impressive 20th, just 8 places behind that huge pillar of consistency and fluency, Mohammed Yousuf (#12), and 3 places behind the stellar Mike Hussey. But lest Gavaskar drown in his own tears, he can at least take comfort from the fact that he is three places ahead of a 23rd-placed also-ran called Brian Lara! Meanwhile Sachin Tendulkar just makes it to the top-30. He is at #26, just ahead of a somewhat inconsequential Rahul Dravid (#30) and a somewhat lazy Steve Waugh (#28)!

Javed Miandad comes in at an honourable #34, but at least he is ahead of Greg Chappell (#35), Bill Lawry (#36) and Alan Border (#37). Meanwhile, Adam Gilchrist (#42), Graham Gooch (#44) and Gundappa Vishwanath (#45) would be immensely satisfied for a former England captain — for they are all behind Matthew Vaughan (#39) in the pecking order!

Shane Warne would be highly pleased to learn that he is the 15th best ever bowler on a list that has Sydney Barnes at #1 and George Lohmann at #2.

In case anyone is wondering, George Lohmann played a whopping 18 Test matches for England in which he took an impressive 112 wickets! Shane Warne toiled for 145 Tests and some 190 ODIs taking over 1000 wickets in both forms of the game! Clearly, he was not good enough to be even in the top-10 best ever ICC bowlers!

But Shane Warne should be happy that he is marginally ahead of D. Steyn (#22), who may have died of shock this morning when he reads that he has been rated much ahead of D. K. Lillie and Kapil Dev — #34 and #35 respectively! But at least Lillie and Dev are marginally ahead of Stuart Clark (#38)! Meanwhile, the marginally effective and highly inconsistent Wasim Akram brings up the rear at an extremely healthy placing of #59! Airbrushing is easy with something like Luminess Air.

What are these ICC guys smoking these days? Would be good to toke some of that stuff while on a holiday!

These ratings are called the “Reliance Mobile ICC Best-Ever Test Championship Rating”. If I were the CEO of ‘Reliance Mobile’, I’d use this early “April Fool Joke” from the ICC as a reason for providing a pink slip to my marketing manager who signed up the naming rights’ deal for this joke!

— Mohan

Shane Warne to change his name!

With his popularity in the IPL, it looks like the whole of India is celebrating Shane Warne after he led the Rajasthan Royals team to victory in the inaugural version of the IPL.

Prem Panicker has written about S. K. Warne’s exploits and leadership skills. Times of India, Hindusthan Times, CricInfo and everyone who has anything to do with cricket in India is writing about S. K. Warne’s exceptional cricketing abilities. Bollywood is said to be interested too.

So much so that S. K. Warne is seriously said to be considering a name change to Shane Kumar Warne 🙂

— Mohan

Super Kings super

Kings vs Super Kings

The first game of the night saw two teams with similar sounding names compete – The Chennai “Super Kings” took on the “Kings” XI Punjab. One was lead by the captain of the World cup winning T20 team, and the other was lead by the vice-captain. After the inaugural game between Bangalore and Kolkata, it seemed 222 in twenty overs was going to be hard to beat, and yet Chennai managed to score 240 without breaking a sweat. Punjab stayed in the game a lot longer than the what the final score shows – ending up with a score of 207.

Daredevils vs Royals

Finally a low scoring game. But it was only because Jaipur failed with the bat. The Jaipur Royals look like one of the weakest teams in the tournament at the moment.  The match saw the return of Shane Warne and Glen McGrath – one of the deadliest bowling combinations in the world. But this time, they bowled for opposing teams.

The game ended up being one sided with Delhi easily overhauling the score with about 5 overs to spare.

The Aussies

There were 9 Aussies playing last night and some of their performances stood out – Hussey was brilliant and McGrath looked as if he never stopped playing. Hopes was outstanding with the bat, but took a stick while bowling. Some of the others weren’t bad either – Hayden chipped in with a quick fire 25 and Shane Watson scored 21 before he was run out.

Hussey outdoes McCullum

McCullum’s innings in the first match was a one-off innings. A hundred in 53 balls would be hard to beat. Or so we thought. Hussey outdid that with a hundred of just 50 balls! And if he had come in to bat any earlier, he would have even beaten McCullum’s score. The main difference between Kolkatta’s innings and Chennai’s innings was that, the partnerships weren’t one sided. Raina and Badrinath in particular looked impressive with scores of 32 and 31* scoring a tad faster than Hussey.

-Mahesh-

Australia v India :: Boxing Day Test :: Day-1

Australian arrogance destroys a good start…

While the Indian bowling was good mostly, it wasn’t that great to suggest a score of 337 for 9! Any Indian fan — and perhaps even a Team India cricket player or two — would have gladly taken a score of 337-9 at the end of Day-1 of an MCG Test Match faster than a magician can shuffle a card deck! If anyone had suggested to any Indian at lunch time — when the score board read 111-0 — that the closing score would be 337-9, they would have recommended a visit to a shrink! But that is precisely how the day ended. And it can be put down to Australian arrogance.

There is a thin line between confidence and arrogance. The Australians crossed that line today and paid the price for it. As Rahul Dravid said so eloquently in 2003 after the stunning win in Adelaide, “the best way to [beat Australia] is to, in a sense, play to their arrogance“! Today, on Day-1 of the Boxing Day Test match, Australia shot itself it the foot by playing arrogant cricket.

The day started nice and early. Vish, Mahesh, Paddy and I (all i3j3Cricket Contributors) got to the ground at 0800 for a 1030 start! We did not want to miss any of the action at all. We saw the Indians and Aussies go through their fielding drills.

In the lead up to this day, one observation we made was that the Aussie Press, which normally goes to town on visiting teams, stayed mostly muted or appreciative of the visitors. Whether this would have been the case if Sree Santh had also been on the team is a moot point. Perhaps this muted response was a result of this somewhat crazy split-summer of cricket in Australia. However, the press was noticably quiet against the visitors in the lead up to Boxing Day. On the contrary we had Shane Warne and Ian Chappell getting stuck into the Australian establishment! So much so that Adam Gilchrist had to issue a plea to former Australian cricketers to tone down their criticism! This was, indeed, turning out to be a wierd season!

I think India missed a trick by selecting Harbhajan Singh ahead of Irfan Pathan or Ishant Sharma. To have Sourav Ganguly as the 1st change bowler in Austraian conditions was perhaps a wrong decision. This decision would have worked best if India had won the toss and elected to bat. With a team composition that included Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble, India had to have last bowl on the pitch. As it turned out, Ricky Ponting chose to bat after winning the toss. As expected, India went with Rahul Dravid as opener.

The Indian bowlers started inconsistently. While Zaheer Khan was bowling strongly, beating the bat constantly, R. P. Singh was constantly bowling outside offstump. After 6 overs, Australia was 5 for no loss! The Australian method was perhaps to see out the early juice in the wicket.

Phil Jaques clearly rode his luck early. Zaheer Khan struck him on the pads a few times and at least one of them looked very adjacent. Billy Bowden wasn’t interested though!

The wicket appeared to ease off after the first half hour. R. P. Singh did not help by bowling a few half trackers wide outside off stump. This enabled Australia to reach 48-0 at the end of 12 overs!

Soon after the first drinks break, India had Sourav Ganguly and Harbhajan Singh bowling in tandem. While both of them started off with maiden overs, the bowling was largely harmless. Early indications were that the pitch did not have any spin in it. After 21 overs, Australia was 89-0. This segment of play already included an ungainly Sydney Harbour Bridge fielding effort from Ganguly that let the ball through for a four!

It was, at this stage, begining to look like a long and painful summer for the Indians and Team India fans!

R. P. Singh was brought in for another spell of bowling. I was quite amazed that Anil Kumble held himself back! Perhaps Kumble the captain was unable to manage Kumble the bowler quite so well as other captains might have!

Australia went to lunch on 111-0 after 27 overs.

After lunch, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh commenced proceedings. This was also somewhat strange! One could not understand why Kumble was holding himself back. At the end of 31 overs, Harbhajan Singh had bowled 9 overs and Anil Kumble had bowled 2! Something was surely amiss here! This stupidity was exposed when Kumble came on for Harbhajan Singh. He immediately got Phil Jaques out to a smart stumping by M. S. Dhoni for 66. Soon afterwards, Anil Kumble dropped a tough chance at gully off Zaheer Khan. Another wicket at that stage would have provided a tremendous boost to India’s morale.

India continued to be be ugly in the field though, with Sourav Ganguly, R. P. Singh and Zaheer Khan being the worst offenders.

The key to success would be to get Ricky Ponting early. However, Ponting started off reasonably well. He was middling the ball and Matthew Hayden was making batting look so easy.

Suddenly, Zaheer Khan produced a beauty — perhaps even the ball of the day — that straightened when he bowled from around the wicket to bowl Ricky Ponting. Immediately after, Mike Hussey was out LBW to Kumble for a duck! India were squeezing themselves back into the game, thanks to Anil Kumble who had been cooling his heels pretty much until lunch time. India’s best bowlers were bowling in tandem for the first time in the match and it wasn’t a surprise India was doing well in this little post-lunch spell. In the first hour after lunch, Australia had hit 62 runs and lost 3 wickets in 14 overs!

Somehow, Kumble wasn’t bowling all that well to Matthew Hayden. He either bowled the wrong line or bowled too short. In this period, Hayden seemed to hog the strike and kept Michael Clarke away from Kumble. We won’t know if this was a deliberate ploy by Hayden and Clarke, but in 9-10 overs that the pair played out there in the middle, Clarke had faced only 17 balls for his 3 runs! At this stage, Clarke was looking distinctly nervy and uncomfortable.

At this stage, R. P. Singh was bowling excellently. He bowled a terrific line to Michael Clarke from around the wicket. Instead of trying too hard, he bowled a steady line and length, denying Clarke easy runs. The idea was to frustrate the batsman.

Kumble continued to bowl somewhat badly to Hayden who continued to keep Clarke away from the wily Indian leggie. Australia went to tea only 3 wickets down for 213. They had scored 102 runs in that session and lost 3 wickets.

While the 1st session clearly belonged to Australia, perhaps India could claim the second session by claiming those 3 wickets…

India opened after the tea break with R. P. Singh and Zaheer Khan. Immediately after tea, R. P. Singh induced a silly stroke from Michael Clarke who was caught beautifully by V. V. S. Laxman in the slips. Clarke was out for an unconvincing 20 off 60 balls. Clarke’s dismissal was via a silly shot. He chased down a wide ball only to find it land in Lazmans’ hands!

Immediately afterwards India got another wicket. Matthew Hayden, who was batting like a king up until then, played a waft at ball that Zaheer Khan held back just a bit. The ball stopped a bit but Hayden went through with the shot. The resulting catch was taken comfortably by at mid wicket by Rahul Dravid. Another silly shot in an attempt to dominate the bowling — rather than play as the situation demanded!

Australia reached 250-5 off 65 overs and were still going at a healthy rate of 3.85 per over. Andrew Symonds and Adam Gilchrist were settling in to the task ahead.

With 24 overs to go, Harbhajan Singh, who was largely ineffective up until then, came on to bowl. He continued to bowl utter nonsense in this next spell thereby confirming my earlier suspicion that his was a bad choice for Melbourne. Perhaps Ishant Sharma should have played after all.

Then against the run of play, Sourav Ganguly contributed to the teams’ cause by heading to the pavillion. Dinesh Karthik came in his place and snapped up a smart catch at mid wicket off a short ball from Anil Kumble to send Andrew Symonds back in the pavillion. The ball wasn’t short enough for the pull and the situation perhaps demanded more respect from Symonds. At 281-6, perhaps one could say that India were in front. But then respect is perhaps not a word that sits well with the Australians! Arrogance fits the bill more…

The Australian batting arrogance continued through Adam Gilchrist who slogged at a flighted googly from Anil Kumble to be caught at cover point by Sachin Tendulkar. After being 135-0, Australia had squandered the advantage by losing 7 wickets.

Suddenly, Kumble had his 5th wicket when Brett Lee was out LBW. The Indians were truly on top and if there was another in-form spinner bowling at the other end, things just might have been sewn up by India.

Who would have thought that a spinner would get 5 wickets on Day-1 of an MCG Boxing Day Test match?

Meanwhile, the mood in the stands was distinctly Indian. The Australians in the crowd were silenced and numbed by all the mayhem!

Even a few streakers, each of whom would be lighter in the purse to the tune of $6,000, could not lift the Australian spirits!

The Indians in the crowd found more voice when Brad Hogg was caught in the slips by Rahul Dravid off the first ball that Zaheer Khan bowled with the new ball.

Interestingly, Anil Kumble bowled with the new ball. This wasn’t a particularly smart move in our view. Apart from his initial spell, R. P. Singh did bowl well. He may have been a better bet to share the new ball.

India ended the day 2-1 on a session-by-session count and can be pleased with a good days’ work at the office. They were, in my view, helped by an arrogant display by the Aussies…

— Mohan

MacGill injury may be blessing for Australia

I have been reading a lot of reports in Australian newspapers that Stuart MacGill’s injury is a big set back to Australia when they play India this summer. IMHO, it is the exact opposite.

No disrespect to MacGill – he is a great wrist spinner, probably the best in Australia since Warney retired. But the fact is that India have always played spin well. Even the greatest spinner of all time – Shane Warne has struggled against India. His average of 47.18 is in stark contrast to his career average of 25.41. Clearly the Indians play spin well. If you look at MacGill’s stats against India, it is a modest 14 wickets @ 50.78 in 4 tests. Even if McGill played he wouldn’t have been a big threat. Now that he is out of the equation, the other spinners in the scheme of things appear to be an even lesser threat –

  • Brad Hogg, who has bowled reasonably well against India in ODI matches but Test cricket is an altogether different game
  • Dan Cullen, who bowls off break and has played one test against Bangladesh 
  • Bryce McGain, the Victorian leggie who is the leading wicket taker among spinners in the domestic tournament this season.

Spin bowling appears to be the weakest link in the Australian bowling attack.  The best strategy for Australia would be to play all four fast bowlers – Lee, Tait, Johnson and Clark. Andrew Symonds and Michael Clarke can act as relief slow bowlers. Fast bowling is Australia’s strength and they should use it. They should do this even in Sydney and Adelaide where there is chance of turn in the wicket. If MacGill is fully fit, the thought of playing 4 fast bowlers would never arise (except maybe at the WACA), and that is why MacGill’s injury is a bad thing for India and its supporters.

-Mahesh-