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Will England go down, Down-under again in Adelaid? Or a Miracle Awiates

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In my Post yesterday I did mention that England had no chance to come back still, I don’t change a word from that. The scoreline might speak 50% chance for either side, but the way every English batsman played was far from convincing to chance a 350+ target with root being the only exception.
 
Root is under immense pressure, he grinded it out to finally show his class in Aus backyard. But there is still a long way to go, they way Starc, Cummins and Lyon are bowling attacking lines all it takes is one moment of concentration loss or half a loose shot to take a wicket first thing tomorrow morning. It looks like apart from Root the rest of the lot seems to be getting into a shell and then a moment of lapse in concentration to throw away their wicket. If England wants to win this game tomorrow they need to take the game on to the Aussies. Wokes, Moeen and Bairstow cannot just hang around root & block every delivery they must attack at times to shake the Australian bowling unit. If they fail to do that they will end up losing their wicket like Stoneman, Vince and Malan. Root will play the anchor role, but the others around him must score to ease pressure on him. All they need is some 30 to 40 runs from Wokes and Moeen at SR of 60 to 65, this will create huge pressure in Australian camp so mistakes will follow. All this of course only if Root stays put in the crease for the first 45 minutes tomorrow afternoon.
 
If Root falls before England reaching a minimum of 250 runs, can’t see them winning the games from there. So my verdict is tomorrows result depends not just on Roots stay, it also depends on how his partners are going to play around him to ease his pressure. If they attack cautiously Australia will be rattled, but if they get into a shell, don’t be surprised to see Root back in the pavilion with England staring at another Ashes test defeat down under.
 
The equation looks mouth watering for English fans, but the missing piece in this puzzle now seems to be Ben the war machine Stokes, put him in this 11 with this situation Aus might be saying their prayers tonight.
 
I reiterate the statement yesterday, England problem is with both bat and ball in hand. They failed with both in the first 2 and half days of this test, but with helpful conditions, their bowling unit has got them back into the game. But then again except root the batting unit today showed the world where England’s problem really lies. If this batting unit fails to capitalize and win this game who will they blame for this defeat?? As much as we speak about the English bowling weakness, it is their batters who have been letting them down in recent past, I don’t see that changing anytime soon and that included tomorrow.
 
England will go down, Down-under tomorrow. My predictions Australia will wrap up the game by the second session. #Joeroot #ECB #CA #Ashes

Is there Light in the tunnel finally for England’s Problem Down under

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Boy o boy it’s been a day filled with drama in the world of cricket Starting with the much-anticipated collapse by WI in NZ to a remarkably exciting evening in Adelaide Oval where England just crawled back, then to the ever boring once sided series, where another batting collapse by SL on a day India were very generous being sloppy on slip’s cordon. But that was just action on the field, the action off the field continued as Indian selectors pulled the big guns to announce test squad for SA series and a brand new T20 side(For a change real T20 performers were given a chance Except for DK and MSD).

But for all that had happened in World cricket, the thing which caught my eyes, mind, brain, soul etc etc. was nothing but ASHES CRICKET and the fact how England literally proved to everyone that they are far far superior home(Side movement of the ball) condition bullies than India or any Subcontinent team are. The reason I say this is not because I feel envied on England’s come back because I feel they already lost the match when they conceded that big a lead. Since I got the opportunity to watch today’s game unfold live, I have few things which I would like to put up front as an analysis.

Both with bat and with the ball England looked toothless in the entire course of this second test, except for today’s last session. The moment the lights were on the ball started to get sideways moment Anderson & co got their tails up. So a 135Km bowling looked all enough, isn’t it? England are pure bullies playing on seam conductive conditions nothing more than that. Look at the way their bowling unit failed during Indian tour last year, their quicks are just 135 clicks slow didn’t even test Indian lower middle order, so I am not sure what made the ECB think that they will rattle Australian batters in their own backyard. Now this late evening swingatholan will vanish all these issues and the Poms will think their mojo is back and what not. But the reality is they are one-dimensional bowling unit who happened to defeat a rattled SA twice in the span of 2 years(As that is the only accolade they could brag about in recent past).

To beef up my statement we can turn the clock back to 2015 Ashes series, where England lost 2 games in a humiliating manner, both games were nothing track which was hard & flat, the end result in Lords’s ENGLAND LOST BY 405 Runs and in Kenningston oval ENGLAND LOST BY INNINGS AND 46 RUNS. That is some thumping to get in your own backyard. It reiterates two facts here 1. Aus quicks are/were and forever will be devastating on hard/flat tracks. 2. Pom’s Pace unit lacks cutting edge when they play on any other track/conditions where there is no sideways movement.

This also brings us to the next two high profile news which is flying around 1.Mark Wood is being hinted to join the team as the Pom’s unit as understandably forgot the meaning of PACE. 2. Ben Stokes saga, now with his latest NZ stint & developments. It was widely debated and even accepted that Stokes loss is a big blow he is a one war machine of a player & Mark Wood’s quick bust spells were dearly missed too down under. Having said that both Stokes & Wood couldn’t do much difference when the suffered those heavy drubbing in Lord’s and Oval during 2015. This brings in the question of where England’s problem really lies.

According to me, it is as much in the batting unit as it is with the bowling unit. Remember when the Pom’s won the 2010/11 Ashes down under, they didn’t have express quick bowlers in their side, but what made the difference was their batters piled up hefty runs on the board, this did help their bowling unit and also unsettled their counterparts. One might say it was depleted Aus unit, as they were rebuilding after the loss of many greats still, they had the firepower in their quicks. One stark difference between the current and then England unit was the composure & quality of Top order batters. The present English unit with a fading cook, Struggling Root (in Aus conditions), the absence of stokes and miss firing Bairstow, unfortunately, is looking for a miracle from its bowling unit. So this makes them now think that all they lack is express quick bowlers, but unfortunately for Pom’s they never had many of that nature nor having now.

So root must now quickly regroup to ensure some damage control is done to avoid 5-0. He must now make it very clear to heir batting unit with the statement “Hey boys we need to score 400+ runs minimum in our 1st innings if at all we want to stay in the contest”. They just can’t make a 145Km+ clicks bowler or two overnight, even if they bring wood and stokes they are not guaranteed a different result. I would agree that their one-dimensional bowling attack might change with the inclusion of the above two, but England’s problems are far from over even with their presence. To me, their batting unit looks far from convincing to even pull a draw in Australian conditions. Just into 2nd test and Root looks rattled, these are worrying signs for English cricket. If Root doesn’t score big, couldn’t see any other big game changer on this English side who could at least salvage some pride. Overall this Evening in Adelaide might be the only victory the Pom’s might have in this entire ashes, rest of the time they might hide their tails between the legs.
#ECB #CA #Ashes #Hometrackbullies

Steve Smith shares his long term ambition as an Australian Captain.

Bangladesh Australia Cricket

In a recent interview during the start of Bangladesh tour Steve Smith expressed about his long term desire as Australian captain, he wanted to achieve something even the great Punter couldn’t do in his life time, which is to win test series against India on Indian soil.

In Cricinfo, it was reported when asked about Steven O’Keeffe’s exclusion from the team Smith expressed the reason behind it and also shed some light about his long term desire

He [Steve O’Keefe] is unlucky. He did very well in the first Test match in India. He made contributions in the other three Tests,” he said. “We just see it as a bit of a time to try and get someone new in the group.

 
“Ashton has been around for quite a while now. He has worked on his art and become consistent. It will be fantastic to see him get an opportunity. It is obviously four years till we travel to India. It is always a tough tour for us. It is the series that I want to win in my tenure as captain, so it is an opportunity for Ashton get some experience in this condition with an eye to next time we go to India.” 

Authors Take on this Topic: 

From what I have seen in Steve in his short career to date, he is probably the greatest test batsman to step foot in the field next to the great Bradman but unfortunately,  he doesn’t even have half the team of what the likes of Steve Waugh or Punter had. So to my liking his statement of saying that he wants to win Test series in India as captain before he hangs his boots looks a bit far fetched and also way too ambitious looking at the current composition of the Australian team. May be he can prove everyone wrong by 2021 but just as he said this statement Australia cricket reached another all time low with their first test Loss against Bangladesh just a few days back. This loss makes thing worse as his statement sounds more of a Fugazi.

Steve Smith and Mushi

It would be wise from Steve Smith part to have a hard look at his team before calling for such statements. At present Australian team is in shambles they are letting Steve down every time, so he shall first put his head onto building a team which is at least half stubborn or solid like how he is when he comes to batting crease. Once he gets this right then he shall express or even develop his strong ambition to conquer Indian soil. Even though his team Lost the series just by a 2-1 margin to India and gave a touch challenge than many but all that was because of just one man in Steve Smith, if not it would have been even 3-0 or 4-0. He might be the best player in this format now, but his team is certainly not the best by a fair distance. #Stevesmith #Australiancricket

Dropped from SL tour, is this End of the Road for ever strong Yuvraj?

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Yuvraj was dropped from Indian Squad which is said to tour SL. So people have we already seen his Last international innings in Champions trophy 2017 Final? The time has come to trend #thankyouyuvi now, isn’t it?
Yuvi Winning
I feel Yuvraj for the fighter he has been for his entire life should now accept the fact that his time has come to an end. It’s not that he lost his battle to come back, he made it this far after facing life threatening disease. But he must understand that it’s not the disease which is the reason for his current form or the reason he couldn’t get back to his prime, it’s his age which has caught up now. He must now really walk into the sunset with his head held high, thinking about all his achievements i.e. being the catalyst for Indian winning 2007 t20 WC and 2011 WC. and also for making miraculous come back into international cricket after fighting death. He should never think that he failed to bring back vintage Yuvi in his later part of his career. Let’s be realistic, even Usain bolt couldn’t be the same in his Last race. Age catches up with every player no one escape that he must realize it and call it a day. 

Yuvi Winning game
We are all proud of you Yuvi, there could never be any one like you. You are a gem and gave everything to Indian cricket, it will echo for generations to come, but we don’t want to see you bow out with criticism filled up. So it’s time Yuvi bhai please make the decision sooner than later. #thankyouyuvi #yuvrajsingh #farewellegend

Indian team Head coach announced. But all three men are appointed.

Indian-coaches

One might say Ravi has come through all hurdles to reach here. It was obvious when Kumble was appointed, Ravi said few things against Sourav on the interview process. It made one thing evident CAC were not convinced with Ravi as head coach last time around but so was Virat with Kumble’s appointment, isn’t it? Virat had a great rapport with Ravi and even the entire team was more comfortable with Ravi. It’s a no-brainer when Kumble resigned BCCI was forced to re-open application for head coach job so Ravi can get into the scheme of things again.

 

After all the drama yesterday and today finally it is clear that Ravi Shastri and Virat combo is back again. Still, CAC seemed to be not totally convinced so they have got Zaheer and Dravid into the support staff team. Many might feel that Virat had got what he wanted and overpowered BCCI, CAC or very arrogant to throw out Kumble etc. But I strongly believe the captain & team have right to get a coach who is more in line with them and is able to create a positive atmosphere within the team. Because at the highest level players are matured enough to know their responsibility, from a coach expectation, is to keep the team together and ensure morale is high. Then comes his role on tactics and improving player’s performance. The second part cannot be done if you fail to get in line with the team and captain. Which makes it clear that a “Headmaster” type coach will never be able to achieve what is expected out of him at this level.

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Overall this combination of Ravi, Zaheer and Dravid seems to be not bad by any means. Ravi’s positive energy with Dravid’s skill and Zaheer’s knowledge transfer to our strong pace bowling unit has all the making of a strong dominant Indian team in Test and ODI level. T20 is a different game we need a change in bowling unit to fix that. All a Coach can do is suggest to bring that change in T20 team to fix us in that format. Let us all hope that this start studded coaching staff with our present lot of skilled players will push Indian Cricket forward and make us as a dominant force as the West indies of 70’s & 80’s or Australia of last decade. #Ravishastri #Rahuldravid #Zaheerkhan #BCCI #Indianheadcoach

India VS Australia 4th ODI Bengaluru Preview:

India vs Uas 4th one dayIndia have taken an unassailable lead of 3-0 in this Paytm ODI series, so the fourth ODI is practically a dead rubber will be thought, isn’t it? But the answer is No by a long way, as both the teams have reasons to play for win still.Indian team needs to win to stay as No.1 ranked ODI team on the other hand Australian team must win either 4th or 5th ODI to ensure they don’t drop further in ODI Rankings, with a loss in 3rd ODI they dropped to 4th behind England. So for Australia, this game and next final game is not just about salvaging pride with a win, but also they will have an eye on rankings chart.

Let’s turn our attention to 4th ODI in Bengaluru now. It seems to the first game in this series where Rain threat seems to surreal to wash the match out, hope that’s not the case though. To what we geared yesterday weather has been pleasant to give a breathing space but prediction for today still looks grim so the 4th ODI result might be out of reach for either team. Anyways as fans let’s hope it’s not the case and we see entire 50 over game today.

Let’s take a look at Australian setup and see what they might do to turn things around. Post their 13th consecutive ODI loss away from home, there have soon hard words thrown at them from the outside by the likes of Clark, Hogg, Bevan and few more. Clark felt that “this team doesn’t know to take critical moments to win games”. Hogg stated “Steve Smith has been selecting his mates into the team in likes of Cartwright, Agar etc instead of real performers” Bevan tweeted “How to apply to Australian batting coach etc”.

So there seems to be a fair share of frustration with anger among Australian cricket fraternity down under. So Steve Smith has a big task in hand going into 4th ODI. So what changes can be expected and how will Australian team line up,

Expected Lineup: Finch, Warner, Smith, Head, Handscomb, Maxwell, Stoins, Zampa, Cummins, Coulter Neil, Richardson.

It will not be bad actually to try Faulkner in place of Maxwell for last 2 games. Stoins is playing a responsible role now, he is not a slogger but can hit long balls when needed. With Handscomb inn they have a deep middle order, so promote Stoins to no.5 and keep Faulkner to no.6. This not only gives them firepower in lower middle order also Faulkner becomes their 6th bowling option, something Aus badly needed as they have a real issue with their 4th & 5th bowler every game. Also, Handscomb being brought in must be used nothing below than no.4, if not it’s a waste of a move. Smith must be street start now to find winning combinations.

On the other hand, Indian team have been on a roll with 9 straight ODI wins now, matching their previous best record run for them. They would love to extend be their own record and make it two digits. They have had a very set unit with their young bowlers doing them the job almost every game be it be the quicks or spinners they both have contributed shoulder to shoulder to take them home. On the other hand batting hasn’t been at its best, as there has been some mini-collapse at times, but still, other players have stepped up to the occasion to save them. Virat also has suggested some definite changes moving into last 2 games. So it will be interesting to see which personnel make way. Personally, I would love to see Rahul and Shami get both remaining games under their belt. They are class Limited overs players it’s hard to see them on the bench for a long time.

Expected Lineup: Rohit, Rahane, Virat, Manish, Rahul, MS, Hardik, Axar, Kuldeep, Shami, Umesh.

It would be better if Rohit is rested and Rahul is played in his position as opener. Hope that happens.

If the track is a bit two-paced(it was during this year’s IPL) it will be Indian who will emerge victoriously. If the usual Chinaswamy flat track is on offer it’s anybody’s game.

#IndVAus #Paytmoditrophy #CA #bcci #Stevesmith #Viratkohli

Preview of Sri Lanka Vs India First Test match at Galle:

Sri Lanka Vs India
After a highly successful long home session which laid road for the Indian team to become No.1 test side in the world, they begin their quest to stamp their domination away from home. It might not be easy by any means, there awaits a long away season where the entire unit is going to be tested in different conditions.
Having said that, the start of the season won’t be the case, as the Indian team, meet their familiar Foe in Sri Lanka under conditions which are a carbon copy of what they get back at home. The same foe they conquered in 2015 to make history. Sri Lankan team of 2015 were much better equipped both in terms of skill and experience than what they are today. To say more of their current situation all the managed to do in recent times were that they pulled off a victory from jaws of defeat against a low profile team in Zimbabwe. Which makes them not a real deal for this mighty Indian side to topple isn’t it?
But Indian team has few issues of their own to sort out due to injuries for their top order batters. A week back Murali Vijay was ruled out of entire series due to wrist fracture so the third opener in Mukund was set to take that spot. But Mukund doesn’t have a good amount of runs on his back in recent past, added to it he is a shaky starter which makes him a weak link to start with. To make things worse in form Rahul is ruled out of the First test with viral fever, which makes Dhawan spot in Playing 11 inevitable unless Virat decides to use a make shift option in Pujara to open. It’s known that Dhawan was dropped from test cricket after he failed to make use of ample opportunities presented to him prove his worth. So pairing him with Mukund at the top makes India top order very vulnerable and may be an opportunity for the underdog Sri Lankan side to take upper hand in the series opener at Galle. So pairing Pujara with Mukund to open will be a wise choice as Puji has done it during 2015 Sri Lankan tour also he did a classy job so no need to doubt his credibility, this ploy also finds a space for Rohit in Playing 11. It will not be a bad choice after all as Rohit had a decent run in test cricket before getting sidelined by injury also his track record in Asian conditions is not all that bad. This makes shift move also will make Indian batting order sturdier at the top and more beefed up in lower middle order. This makes a more reliable solution, to say the least. Not too many worries in the bowling department, if at all Indian’s try to accommodate Hardik then only few selection questions will be thrown onto the table.
So best Playing 11 on offer for India:
Mukund, Pujara, Virat, Rahane, Rohit, Saha, Ashwin, Jadeja, Kuldeep, Shami and Umesh.
Second best Playing 11:
Dhawan, Mukund, Pujara, Virat, Rahane, Saha, Ashwin, Jadeja, Kuldeep, Shami and Umesh.
No point of Playing three seamers in Asian conditions that also eliminates Hardik selection headache to a greater extent, as both Ashwin and Jadeja are true all-rounder’s in this format of the game which gives the team a great balance. But with recent news suggesting that Hardik will make his debut, there might be a shock to see Kuldeep being left out. If the track on offer is flat and good to bat for first 3 days, then 3 seamer option might be open for the grabs and Hardik will sneak in. If a dust bowl is on offer and still Hardik makes the cut then I fear Virat has decided to use Hardik as Second pace bowler which might not be a great choice.
Speaking of Sri Lankan unit they do lack quality player’s big time now and are over dependent on Rangan Herath to win games at home. They seriously lack depth in batting front it’s been the case since the retirement of Mahela and Sangakkara but now their bowling unit also looks clueless. For instance, during 2015 Series against Indian they had Dhamika Prasad in their unit who gave them much needed new ball breakthrough in every game. Now they are without his service due to some unknown reason, which makes their bowling all just Rangana hearth. To add salt to their own they also Lost Dinesh Chandimal for first 2 games of this series due to illness. Even with the late resurgent of Tharanga and some flashes of brilliance shown by Kushal Mendis and Gunatilaka their batting unit doesn’t look all promising against the likes of Ashwin and co. So with all these limitations the best 11 Sri Lanka would likely put on filed tomorrow might be
Best Playing 11 on offer for Sri Lanka:
Karunaratne, Gunatilaka, Mendis, Tharanga, Mathews, Dickwella, Gunaratne, D Perera, R Herath, Pradeep, L Kumara
Thus on paper and even on Field, this series looks a big mismatch. Unless Rangan spins his magic chances of Sri Lanka winning game looks bleak. On the other hand, Virat & CO does know that they cannot take it as a cake walk, few blatant mistakes might open up the gates for the underdogs in a big way. If Indian Play Rangana with respect and take one session at a time, not just the first match at Galle also the series will be totally in India’s favor if not a brown wash of 3-0.
Form Gudie:
Sri Lanka WLWLL
India WDWLW
#SLvIND #Galle #Meninblue #ViratKohli

Headache of Selecting Headcoach for Indian Team.

By now the news has come out that Ravi Shastri is out of contention. So Sehwag or Moody are the only choice for Virat to select from. It is tricky as there is myopia that Hindi speaking coach is preferred and that’s what team also expects etc. But in this situation will that be preferred above the credibility and track record parameter? If not Moody is the obvious choice but will Virat be subjective? All his talk on making the team the best ever etc. were all emotional and fascinating to hear and watch. But now it’s time to do that and also this decision might be a big milestone for that to happen, isn’t it?

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Sehwag is really a lovely character and a great player. He is never going to be a pain for players, he will be a better fit in that aspect than even Ravi Shastri. He has also played with few of current players for a decent amount of time, which in his case is a good thing as he is easy going guy and not a strict Anil Kumble type. But for all the positives there are worries or downside that lingers with him. He might be just a big YES man for Virat, he might not even have any say even if its opinion it can just be kept aside by Virat in seconds. Which might backfire results in a big way.

When we think about his experience as a coach which is in IPL. Track record in IPL poor, team selection and strategies the less we even talk about it is better. Yes just one IPL he had Head coach role too early to judge but still very less experience in that role might also be the drawback to be Head coach of Indian team.

Tom Moody, on the other hand, have had good coaching experience at international level and also more or less a clam coach who works at the back like Gary. So which again goes smooth for Virat and co, so no real threat of headmaster style from him. Also, we have seen his IPL stint with Sunrisers, from his decision in picking players at auction (Yes he a just part of the decision, still has a big say). Selection of young players in playing 11 and also the way he worked with Warner, Williamson was fantastic to see. The kind of interaction he has at boundary lines and sidelines with Warner and co, showed his passion, awareness about the game also his great rapport with the players.

But the downside of it is, is he going to able to gel with Indian support staff? Also, he might not be sure about what to expect from Virat and co after the way in which Kumble was taken down. So that might be in his corner of mind when he walks into the dressing room at first. Also, we might not know on Virat part on the expectation from Moody end. Record wise and personality wise Moody is not a bad choice at all.

But will Virat and co still be leaned towards Indian origin coach or will they make a wise choice going with Moody? Who do guys see as the right choice?? #Indiancoach #Tommoody #Sehwag

 

India Vs Pakistan Champions Trophy 2017 Finals

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So it has all come down to the mother of all games to decide the Champion of Champions for this edition. Even though this Champions trophy hasn’t been the best as many games washed out and few teams have gone out due to rain married games, still, there were some unpredictable results and upsets which have made this tournament live up to the expectation. We all can hope that the tournament lives long and not scrapped. It is more meaningful than useless bilateral series.

So coming back to today’s Final. Both teams have just faced one defeat and have made commanding performance in Semi-finals, which makes today’s game even more exciting. Pakistan after their First game defeat against India have made remarkable come back and bowled their hearts out to reach this far. On the other hand, Indian team except for their defeat against Srilanka they have played as a unit and were really strong in every aspect. But still there so few worrying factors for both.

India has done so good still lack proper Fifth bowler, Hardik cannot be trusted as he leaks runs. But if they use Kedar and Yuvi to fill that gap should be fine. One more factor is Indian middle order is not tested totally, even though it has experience if put under pressure it will be interesting to see.

Pakistan, on the other hand, have played every game expect the first game on slow surfaces. So there has been some help for bowlers, their real test will be if a flat track is offered for today’s game which is expected. Their batters also haven’t scored well immaterial of the surface anything above 260 will be a challenge for them if they chase.

So for the Indian team, if they win toss choose to field as in this tournament it has always been chasing team winning games and also India’s strength is to chase even for big games.

On the other hand, Pakistan Should try to bat first because they are poor in chasing and if the Indian team score anything close to 300 it’s very difficult to chase it.So bat first try to put runs on the board.

My Playing 11 for Indian Team: Rohit, Shikar, Virat, Yuvi, MS, Kedar, Hardik, Jaddu, Ashwin, Bhumi, Bumhra. Can’t see any changes as Virat want to stick with all-rounders than one more pure bowler in Shami.

Pakistan 11: Fakhar,Azar, Babar,Hafeez,Malik, Imad,Sarfaraz, Shadab,Amir,Hasan,Junaid.
#IndVPak #CT2017
Pic Courtesy: Naresh Denni