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Lord's would be the perfect venue for Sachin Tendulkar's 100th century

Posted by anccricket on July 18, 2011 at 2:19 AM Comments comments (0)



Occasionally the good and the great can tinker with fate. Sachin Tendulkar is as good and as great as any cricketer of any generation and he is heading to Lord's with landmarks galore on the horizon.

 

Indeed there is a script for this week that even the odd Bollywood writer might find a little too far-fetched. Sachin Tendulkar comes to Lord's, the home of cricket, to play in the 2000th Test of all time. It is probably his last chance to appear in a Test on the sacred ground, where his highest score up to now has been a bewilderingly paltry 37. On the boards in the Lord's dressing rooms there is no mention of Tendulkar. In the past the engravers have not even double-checked the spelling of his name.

 


As it happens Tendulkar has 99 international hundreds. If not Mumbai, then Lord's is the place for that 100th century, to set the record right before he even contemplates retirement and further beatification.

 


Perhaps he reaches his ton with a trademark driven six off Graeme Swann, caught by one of the members in the pavilion, which takes India to victory. Cue rousing music, not a dry handkerchief in St Johns Wood and Tendulkar ton-up T-shirts for sale within seconds of the "little master" being carried back to the pavilion on his team-mates' shoulders.

 


Tendulkar says such thoughts have not entered his head. "I am not thinking of records," he says. "I am just thinking of this tour. The secret to any performance is not chasing records." Well, as the highest run-scorer in Test history, currently 2,329 ahead of Ricky Ponting, he should know. But everyone else seems to be thinking about those records.

 


The cricketing gods, who discovered they had a disciple in Alastair Cook after the one-day international at Lord's when Angelo Mathews went on a go-slow to allow his partner a century, rarely have much truck with fairytales. The scene was set in Mumbai in April when we last glimpsed Tendulkar, in the World Cup final. He had made only 18 when he was caught behind off Lasith Malinga, whereupon he relinquished centre stage to Mahendra Dhoni.

 


Even Haroon Lorgat, the President of the International Cricket Council, had suggested that Mumbai should be Tendulkar's stage in that World Cup. When asked to justify the choice of Mumbai for the final Lorgat said that the venue would give Tendulkar the chance to sign off in his home town. Wouldn't that be wonderful? So much for Olympian objectivity from the man at the top of world cricket.

 


But Tendulkar after all these years – 22 as a Test cricketer since he made his debut against Imran Khan, Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram in Karachi in 1989 – tends to operate by different rules now. He is a man apart. No one sledges him, although there is still time for that nasty Stuart Broad to have a go.

 


This is what sometimes happens to the truly greats. After a while no one sledged Viv Richards (mind you, the fact that he always looked like a pocket Joe Frazier may have helped as well). Pat Pocock recalls the 1973-74 tour of the Caribbean in David Tossell's book on Tony Greig. It was a feisty series. Pocock says: "There was a deliberate effort [by Greig and the England team] to wind blokes up. It only stopped when Garry Sobers walked in. Then no one said a word. It would have been like swearing at the Pope." Sobers, Richards and Tendulkar earned the right not be subjected to much abuse.

 


If Broad or Jimmy Anderson are inclined to have a word this week at Lord's they had better be careful. Matt Prior can remind them of the hullaballoo at the suggestion that he was sledging Tendulkar from behind the stumps back in 2007. There was an odd conversation about cars picked up by the stump microphone.

 


Prior was pilloried by one and all and later he was at pains to explain that he did not commit such an indignity. Tendulkar, by the way, has a passion for cars and the fact that he has recently sold a Ferrari, which was gifted to him, has been a major news story in India.

 


Andrew Strauss, who first witnessed Tendulkar at the crease as a 13-year-old at the 1990 Lord's Test, is not so petty as to refrain from lauding one of his opponents. "He is phenomenal," says Strauss, "and the best possible example to us all for his technique and his mental strength. And he is a dignified, humble man. It would be fantastic for him to reach 100 hundreds at Lord's. It would be a fairy tale for him. But I'm not a big fan of those sort of fairy tales, to be honest."

 


Strauss then points out the attribute that really astounds Tendulkar's fellow Test cricketers – his astonishing hunger for the game: "He is genuinely still in love with the game and that is what drives him on."

 


Rahul Dravid, who has batted with him as often as anyone, echoes this view. "Sachin's longevity comes down to the joy that he still gets from playing. After 20 years of international he still has a child-like enthusiasm."

 


Amid all his gifts, stamina ranks high. For the majority of his 22 years at the highest level he has concentrated on nothing other than scoring runs.

 


He did captain India in 25 Tests between October 1996 and March 2000. Having been victorious in three of his first four matches in charge, he won just one more game in the next 21. His record of won four, lost nine, drawn 12 is at best unremarkable. Captaincy was not really his thing.

 


Nor was fielding in the slips. Most of the great batsmen since the war – except Geoffrey Boycott and Tendulkar – have resided there. The best players usually have the best reflexes, and generally they like not having to run around too much. But fielding in the slips requires great powers of concentration and it may be that Tendulkar and Boycott were more interested in conserving their energies by strolling around at mid-off. They preferred to opt out of any extra responsibilities.

 


Don Bradman was not a regular in the slips, either, and no one has ever been compared to Bradman so frequently as Tendulkar. Moreover no one other than Tendulkar has ever been compared to Bradman by Bradman himself. This was deemed to be the ultimate accolade.

 


But there are plenty of differences between them beyond the disparity in their Test averages. Bradman used a Swan Vesta-style bat compared to the beautifully balanced clubs of today. Tendulkar may be a little man but he must have wrists of steel to control the remarkably heavy bat he uses.

 


Bradman, while admired by his colleagues, was vehemently disliked by many of them (who were usually Catholics). That has never been the case with Tendulkar. Never a murmur has been heard against him from the Indian dressing room. That would be sacrilege.

 


Moreover Bradman was willing to take on the Australian board – though later on he hated being challenged by the players when he joined that board. As far as we can tell Tendulkar has never seriously fallen out with the Indian authorities – certainly not in the manner of Sunil Gavaskar, his cricketing godfather and the donor of an early pair of pads.

 


It is amazing that Tendulkar should be at the pinnacle of international cricket for more than two decades and yet avoid any serious controversy.

 


There was a suggestion from the referee Mike Denness that he might have tampered with the ball in South Africa in 2001. All of India was appalled (not by Tendulkar, but by Denness). And he may have been a bit grumpy after Dravid declared when he was 194 not out against Pakistan in Multan in 2004.

 


Otherwise he just charms with the purity of his batsmanship. Hence we move eagerly on to Lord's to see whether Tendulkar can tinker with the cricketing gods. Will his fate be decided by Anderson (Jimmy), who has had his successes against him in the past, or Anderson (Hans Christian)?

 


Whatever happens Tendulkar will accept his lot with quiet dignity while the rest of us can feel privileged to say: "We were there."


2000th Test Match : India v/s England at Lords.. ICC calls fans to Select the greatest Test XI

Posted by anccricket on July 18, 2011 at 2:13 AM Comments comments (0)




2000th Test Match.


India v/s England.


Venue : Lords!.


21st - 25th July.

 

To celebrate this awesome occasion, ICC has called supporters across the globe to select the greatest Test XI of all time.

 

Voting is now open and fans will be allowed to select their dream team from a shortlist of 60 players split into five categories - they will be asked to pick two opening batsmen, three middle-order batsmen, a Wicket keeper, three fast bowlers and one spinner.

 


Supporters will have until midnight Dubai time (GMT+4) on 13 July 2011 to make their selections, with the choices set to be announced the week before the 2,000th Test is played, at Lord's between England and India.

 

Fans can vote for their dream team via www.facebook/cricketicc or www.twitter.com/cricketicc or the ICC Cricket Website.

 

ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said: "With the 2,000th Test coming up it is appropriate to remember some of the great players through the ages that have thrilled audiences and inspired us all. With so many legends of the game to choose from, it is a very difficult task and I'm sure one that will lead to plenty of fond recollection and great debate. Test cricket is the pinnacle format of our great sport and it is important we continue to protect and promote it so that it grows even stronger over the next 2,000 matches.”

 

The list of players that fans are being asked to vote on is listed below.

 

Greatest Test team of all time


Opening batsmen (two) - Geoffrey Boycott, Sunil Gavaskar, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Jack Hobbs, Len Hutton, Hanif Mohammad, Virender Sehwag, Herbert Sutcliffe, Victor Trumper.

 

Middle-order batsmen (three) - Don Bradman, Greg Chappell, Wally Hammond, George Headley, Brian Lara, Javed Miandad, Graeme Pollock, Ricky Ponting, Viv Richards, Sachin Tendulkar.

 

All-rounder (one) - Ian Botham, Kapil Dev, Aubrey Faulkner, Richard Hadlee, Jacques Kallis, Imran Khan, Keith Miller, Wilfred Rhodes, Gary Sobers, Frank Worrell.

 

Wicket-keeper (one) - Les Ames, Mark Boucher, Jeff Dujon, Godfrey Evans, Andy Flower, Adam Gilchrist, Alan Knott, Rod Marsh, Clyde Walcott, Wasim Bari.

 

Fast bowlers (three) - Curtley Ambrose, Sydney Barnes, Michael Holding, Dennis Lillee, Ray Lindwall, Malcolm Marshall, Glenn McGrath, Fred Trueman, Courtney Walsh, Wasim Akram.

 

Spinner (one) - Bishen Bedi, Richie Benaud, Lance Gibbs, Clarrie Grimmett, Jim Laker, Anil Kumble, Muttiah Muralidaran, Bill O'Reilly, Derek Underwood, Shane Warne.


India series as big as The Ashes, declares captain Andrew Strauss

Posted by anccricket on July 17, 2011 at 2:42 AM Comments comments (0)





Beating India, the current world number 1 test team, will be as big achievement as was the Ashes triump earlier this year in Australia, feels England captain Andrew Strauss, and he's counting on home advantage to take his team through..

 


"This is certainly up there with the Ashes. But I think the one thing we have in our advantage is we’ve got home advantage", says left handed opener. "We expect to beat any side at home - and so you should - because it is a substantial advantage".

 


“The side is better equipped than in 2007 (when India won series 1-0). We’ve had a lot of success recently and we’re a more competent unit. We’re comfortable in our home conditions.”

 


About his own form, which was dismal against Sri Lankans last month, Strauss says he's worked on it and is raring to go. "I'm chomping at the bit to get out there. I've had a bit of time off and have spent a lot more time than I would normally do preparing for this series. In that sense it's been a good thing. I'm eager to get out there again, wear the tracksuit, practice well. It is very important that we start the series well. So my message to the players is going to be important and our preparation is going to be very important", Strauss said to Sky sports news.

 


England, currently 3rd in ICC test rankings, are up with a chance to grab second or even first position if they can beat India with clear margin of more than a test in upcoming 4 test match nPower series (series ranking predictions). Captain Strauss is all exited about the series and is confident of the test. "It will be a great test of us as a side and one we’re capable of passing," he insisted. "We’sre all going to be very motivated, me more than most, and hopefully that will equate to some good scores. We’ve been progressing every series we’ve been playing in over the last couple of years".

 


"We are going to be required to step up a level over the next four Test matches but we’re more than capable of doing it. That motivation of playing against the best side in the world is just the challenge we need at the moment".

 

Talking about Sachin Tendulkar, arguably the best batsman in the world who's approaching his hundredth international hundred, Strauss wants to keep him at bay. he says ~ "The longer it goes on, that he is on 99, the better. We know what a quality player Sachin is. You only have to look at his record to see that".

 

“We are not focusing on him. He will get just as much or as little attention as any one of their other players because they have quality from one to 11."

 

“They are not a one-trick pony by any means. There are going to be some challenges there for our bowlers. They have a very good batting line-up. You only have to look at what India have done in the last two years to know India will be incredibly confident. They have a lot of good players and are heavily motivated to win this series. We will have to be at our best if we want to compete with them - we’re under no illusions about that - but that excites us. In international cricket, you always need challenges and this one excites us.”

 


Southpaw also deflected potential threats of for England coach Duncan Fletcher guiding Indian camp now. he says ~ “Duncan knows a number of our players reasonably well but I’ve always felt that the planning aspect is (only) one part of it. People delivering out in the middle is the most important thing and your coaches aren’t in the middle with you. I’m sure he’ll be very motivated to win this series but it’s not something we’re focusing our attentions on”.


Dhoni Insists Test Ranking Not Prioriy; Beating England Is

Posted by anccricket on July 17, 2011 at 2:09 AM Comments comments (0)



The Indian captain wants to win series against England; no.1 Test rank not priority. Even as the possibility of India losing the no.1 Test status is of concern, the Indian captain is insisting that that is not his main priority. Mahendra Singh Dhoni has often been labeled as captain cool and he intends to remain that way. However, for that to happen, he needs to keep his team focused on what is really important from the team’s perspective.

 


While the hoopla surrounds the possible permutation that India could lose the no.1 Test ranking if England manage to beat by them at least two Tests in the four Test match series, Mahendra Singh Dhoni claims he is not too worried about the status and the loss of rank. Instead the captain is choosing to focus solely on the series with the intention that if India can think straight and concentrate on winning the series, the ranking will automatically remain theirs.

 


Dhoni is only too aware of how the pressure of keeping the home fans happy could end up with some of his team mates feeling the pressure to maintain their rank and status and end up side tracking themselves from the job at hand. With that mind perhaps, Dhoni wants his team to focus on the game, enjoy and play it in the right spirit. 


That though is easier said than done given that the Indian cricket team now holds the no.1 Test rank as well as the title of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 champions. In that light, the pressure will be foremost on the team to stay at their position while England will feel they have nothing to lose but to go all out. With the billion fans tuning into the appetizing contest at hand, it will be a great deal more pressure than the Indian cricket team has witnessed during the recently concluded India West Indies series.

 


This will be the first real contest that the Indian cricket fans will be glued to since the feverish euphoria of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 and given that India ended on a high note will only mean that expectations will be at an all time peak in this highly anticipated battle between the champions and the contenders.

 


Dhoni is only too aware that just like success attracts bees to honey, a defeat could send the brickbats just as easily, which is also why he wants the talk about the Test rankings to not get into the psyche in the Indian dressing room but rather for the team to take the situation at hand and tackle it the way they have over the last two years, knowing that the reward for presence of mind, for enjoying the game without the pressures that go with it will come as a by product.

 


While Dhoni will say the right things, to keep his team on their toes without necessarily having a negative effect will be easier said than done as India are expected to see quite an expat contingent follow their game at the venues across England, reminding the Indian team of where they stand and where the fans expect them to be. With England revved up for the contest as well eying the big prize, it comes as no surprise that Dhoni is keen to shove the perks off the table to keep the team focused on winning the series primarily.


Sri Lanka Skip DRS for Australia Series

Posted by anccricket on July 17, 2011 at 2:02 AM Comments comments (0)


Sri Lanka are not opposed to the Umpire Decision Review System. Yet they are not planning to use the UDRS that has been mandatory for the forthcoming series against Australia. Although Sri Lanka have been an active advocate of the use of the technology in sport even since the UDRS was first trialled in the India Sri Lanka series, it appears that they are finally resorting to a loophole in the ICC’s changed plans for the UDRS. The ICC had recently passed a resolution to make the UDRS a compulsory feature across all Tests and one day internationals. However, the resolution will only come into effect from the 1st of October which basically means that until that time the status quo where the host board and the visiting team have to arrive at a mutual agreement remains. While Sri Lanka have generally been amenable to using the system, it appears that the Sri Lankan Cricket board has decided to the contrary on this occasion.

 


It is unclear what the Australian cricket team and board think of Sri Lanka’s decision. The Australian cricketers and board have already expressed concern over the fact that Sri Lanka have already cut down on the original budget allocated for security cover for the series, although Sri Lanka have assured security itself would not be compromised. The Sri Lankan cricket board has made the decision based on the fact that they have made no bones about the fact that they are struggling financially. In that sense, the additional burden for implementing the Umpire Decision Review System is something the Sri Lankan cricket board have decided they can do without.

 


India were the only team in recent times to forcibly oppose the UDRS with all their might, citing technological and expenditure reasons. Sri Lanka, on the contrary, have ran into frustration when they met with their neighbours over BCCI’s opposition to the UDRS. With the ICC rule not coming into force with immediate effect, Sri Lanka have been able to take the UDRS off the table. Although the ICC is plausibly looking for a way to sponsor the UDRS without putting the onus on the boards, that is not the reality yet which means that Sri Lanka have little choice but to turn the UDRS down in order to cut costs and keep themselves afloat. It is a disappointment because Sri Lanka not only led the way in showing how the UDRS would actually work to teams’ benefit but also, have actively voiced their support for it. To now have to temporarily abandon the UDRS is not only a blow for Sri Lanka but also, for cricket itself after the monumental modified UDRS going through in the ICC annual conference.


 

Although Sri Lanka have not closed the door, citing the possibility of a late sponsor, perhaps the ICC may see it in its interests to step in in this situation and make it possible to keep the UDRS going. After all there are extenuating circumstances that have forced UDRS out of the Emerald Isles, the birth place really for the technology to make its debut in sport.


India May Host Pakistan in 2012 for a Bilateral Series

Posted by anccricket on July 14, 2011 at 4:24 AM Comments comments (0)




Resumption of cricket ties between India and Pakistan is anticipatedAlthough there is provision in the FTP programme for an Indo Pak series, it is unlikely that India may be hosting Pakistan on their soil anytime soon. So, where else will the Indo Pakistan bilateral series play out?

 

India have been generally opposed to the idea of playing Pakistan even on neutral turf. India’s tour of Pakistan was cancelled following the 26/11 terrorist attack on Mumbai and since 2008, there has been a cold war of sorts between the frosty cricket relations between the two nations. The Pakistan Cricket Board went as far as to suggest that Pakistan cricket was being sidelined from the FTP programme by India and that Pakistan lost the right to co host the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 as a result of the BCCI’s influence.

 

What cannot be denied though is that for sometime, foreign teams have been hesitant to tour Pakistan as a result of the volatile political relations in the region. With the terrorist attacks on the Sri Lankan cricketers who obligated the PCB by participating in lieu of India’s pull out put the brakes on cricket in the region indefinitely. Although the Pakistan Task Team has not specified when cricket may return to Pakistan soil, they have reiterated the importance of the India v Pakistan series that can greatly boost cricket in the beleaguered country plagued by political problems as well as cricket controversies including the much damaging spot fixing scandal in England.

 

While countries such as Australia have featured in a series against Pakistan being hosted by England and South Africa playing Pakistan in the UAE, the response from the BCCI has not been encouraging for the PCB who are desperate for the big clash to bring home the revenue, which has also been a subject matter of contention.

 

The FTP as chalked out by the ICC has a provision slated for India to indulge Pakistan in a bilateral series. However, the nitty-gritties have not been worked out. It is quite apparent that the political deadlock between the two nations has hampered cricket relations and those cold shoulder reactions have permeated to the domestic Indian Twenty20 tournament, the IPL, that saw Pakistan cricketers participating in the inaugural IPL but being forced to withdraw in the next three editions thereafter. There has also been mixed response amongst the public with the idea of resuming cricket ties between the two countries.

 

Having said that, the highly anticipated clash between India and Pakistan did come about during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 in the semi final fixture in Mohali where India prevailed but not before it was displayed amply that the world was starved of a seething contest between the fierce rivals on the cricket pitch. That has spawned the need to resume dialogue as well as cricket ties, and although the political equations remain complicated, on the subject matter of cricket alone, there are several factors that need to be worked out and perhaps it has to do as much with the location as with the timing before India and Pakistan are involved in a head on challenge.


SLPL Deferred to 2012 after BCCI Refused Indian Cricketers Participation

Posted by anccricket on July 14, 2011 at 4:17 AM Comments comments (0)

 




If ever there needed yet another evidence of the clout of the BCCI, their decision not to send the Indian cricketers fro the Sri Lankan Premier League has put Sri Lanka’s Twenty20 tournament a la the IPL in jeopardy, deferring it by a year.2011 was supposed to the year of the inaugural SLPL. Everything appeared to be going according to plan as Sri Lanka cricket set about making preparations to host its event a la the Indian Premier League with foreigners cricketers finding a spot in the team composition as well. Even big league players had been signed on.

 

However, at the eleventh hour, the BCCI pulled out on its commitment to give the Indian cricketers the NOC ( No Objection Certificate) on the grounds that they suspected that Lalit Modi was behind the Somerset entertainment ventures that was taking care of the SLPL. The withdrawal of the Indian cricketers was obviously a huge dent in the relations between the SLC and the BCCI after the former were forced to release their players at the cost of a tour match in Sri Lanka’s series against England. If Sri Lanka expected BCCI to come to their hour of need as they coped with their post ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 debt, none was forthcoming as the BCCI refused to budge from its stance despite assurances made round.

 

Eventually the SLC decided that the SLPL would go ahead as planned despite the absence of the Indian cricketers affected their search for a broadcaster. However, the dissolution of the SLC committee last week further compounded problems, to the extent that the SLPL appeared to be in major jeopardy after the shake up in the Sri Lankan cricket administration over allegations of financial irregularities.

 

The SLPL, featuring foreign cricketers, in a format much like the Indian Premier League but with fewer teams and spanning a much shorter format, was expected to usher in another revenue avenue for Sri Lankan cricket, alleviating some of the woes that emanated from Sri Lanka hosting the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 jointly with India and Bangladesh. The refurbished stadia cost Sri Lanka heavily and with their inability to recover the costs, the Sri Lankan cricket administration reported heavily losses and subsequently, huge debts.


Sri Lanka cricket had hoped that the SLPL would serve Sri Lankan cricket on similar terms as the IPL has for the BCCI, although obviously not quite to the same extent. The Sri Lankan Premier League was all but ready to get underway before the BCCI raised objections about the ownership of the league although the SLC stepped in to state that the Sri Lankan cricket board was the sole authority on the tournament and that it had the blessing of the ICC. However, it was not enough for the BCCI suspicious with the sniff of the former IPL chairman and commissioner in the air.

 

The fact that BCCI is a critical factor in the success of their neighbours is evident in that had the Indian cricketers featured, the interests from the sub continent would have not only increased multifold but would have attracted broadcasters, sponsors and much needed revenue for Sri Lankan cricket. However, with the issue of the Indian cricketers’ participation becoming redundant and the absence of a broadcaster have meant that Sri Lankan cricket would have to pay heavily out of their pocket.

 

While there were earlier suggestions that the Sri Lankan Premier League would even go ahead without the foreign players, the ultimate decision in light of recent events has been to stick with the status quo of a domestic Twenty20 tournament with the winner getting the opportunity to play in the Champions League Twenty20 2011 while the SLPL would now be slated for a launch in late 2012.


Harbhajan Singh Achieves 400 Test Wickets Milestone; Kapil Dev on Next Target

Posted by anccricket on July 11, 2011 at 4:08 AM Comments comments (0)




Harbhajan Singh became the latest entrant to the 400 Test wickets clubThe Indian tour of the West Indies may have passed by without a blip for the most part but for one man, the pressure was on as he went on to pass the historic 400 Test wickets mark.

 

For Harbhajan Singh, achieving a place in that elite club that is occupied by fellow Indian bowlers, Kapil Dev ( 434 Test wickets) and Anil Kumble (619 Test wickets) is a rather special journey, particularly since only two other bowlers in international cricket are part of it – Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan with 800 wickets and Australia’s Shane Warne with 708 wickets. That is a pretty special place, particularly for spinners who have superseded their more famous counterparts in the fast bowlers.

 

At thirty-one years of age, Harbhajan Singh is the only bowler still in the running. And while no one is betting yet on whether Harbhajan Singh, who crossed 400 Test wickets in the third Test of the India West Indies series in Dominica, will overhaul, the off spinner admitted that since his debut in 1998, the road had been a hard grind for him and that he knew that it had taken him longer than desired, ninety-six Tests, to cross that milestone. He, however, reiterated that he hoped the road ahead would be much easier as he looked to pocket at least two hundred more wickets before hanging up his boots.


Indeed Harbhajan Singh’s career took off with the thirty-one wickets he took in the home series against Australia in 2001, the series that Harbhajan Singh is sometimes forgotten because of V.V.S. Laxman’s heroics at Eden Gardens. However, Harbhajan Singh has seen a career graph that has peaked and dipped with alacrity. Harbhajan acknowledged that carrying forward his father’s dream after the latter’s demise was a difficult task but he felt that he had achieved an important stage in his career with this historic moment.

 

Harbhajan Singh has been a controversial figure at the very least, his on field outbursts perhaps overshadowing his success and will continue to do so when he does retire. However, this achievement puts him in stellar company and no one will be able to deny the say Harbhajan Singh has had on Indian cricket. Harbhajan Singh did not fail to mention Ricky Ponting, the former Australian captain, as one of his choice wickets.


The road, however, has not got easier despite his thirteen year international cricket career stint. Since the retirement of the leg spinner and former Indian captain, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh was clearly the heir apparent to the lead spinner role. However, his wicket taking form has not always been something to write home about and Bhajji, as he is popularly known, is also aware of the fact. Shouldering such immense responsibility without having a regular spinner in tandem could not have been easy.


Harbhajan’s career has taken another twist in the past year when he scored two back to back Test centuries after his maiden Test century against New Zealand in India’s home series, showing off the maturity of Harbhajan Singh the batsman over the bowler. However, there is little argument that going forward India will need Harbhajan Singh to spin them to success in his exalted role and with the achievement of this milestone, the pressure on him just went up a notch with Kapil Dev, the original 400 Test wicket barrier-breaking man, in sight as India are on the brink of their tour of England.


ICC Keeps ICC World Twenty20 at 12 Teams Despite Earlier Plans for 16

Posted by anccricket on July 10, 2011 at 4:04 AM Comments comments (0)





If ever there needed yet another evidence of the clout of the BCCI, their decision not to send the Indian cricketers fro the Sri Lankan Premier League has put Sri Lanka’s Twenty20 tournament a la the IPL in jeopardy, deferring it by a year.

 

 


2011 was supposed to the year of the inaugural SLPL. Everything appeared to be going according to plan as Sri Lanka cricket set about making preparations to host its event a la the Indian Premier League with foreigners cricketers finding a spot in the team composition as well. Even big league players had been signed on.

 


However, at the eleventh hour, the BCCI pulled out on its commitment to give the Indian cricketers the NOC ( No Objection Certificate) on the grounds that they suspected that Lalit Modi was behind the Somerset entertainment ventures that was taking care of the SLPL. The withdrawal of the Indian cricketers was obviously a huge dent in the relations between the SLC and the BCCI after the former were forced to release their players at the cost of a tour match in Sri Lanka’s series against England. If Sri Lanka expected BCCI to come to their hour of need as they coped with their post ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 debt, none was forthcoming as the BCCI refused to budge from its stance despite assurances made round.

 


Eventually the SLC decided that the SLPL would go ahead as planned despite the absence of the Indian cricketers affected their search for a broadcaster. However, the dissolution of the SLC committee last week further compounded problems, to the extent that the SLPL appeared to be in major jeopardy after the shake up in the Sri Lankan cricket administration over allegations of financial irregularities.

 


The SLPL, featuring foreign cricketers, in a format much like the Indian Premier League but with fewer teams and spanning a much shorter format, was expected to usher in another revenue avenue for Sri Lankan cricket, alleviating some of the woes that emanated from Sri Lanka hosting the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 jointly with India and Bangladesh. The refurbished stadia cost Sri Lanka heavily and with their inability to recover the costs, the Sri Lankan cricket administration reported heavily losses and subsequently, huge debts.

 


Sri Lanka cricket had hoped that the SLPL would serve Sri Lankan cricket on similar terms as the IPL has for the BCCI, although obviously not quite to the same extent. The Sri Lankan Premier League was all but ready to get underway before the BCCI raised objections about the ownership of the league although the SLC stepped in to state that the Sri Lankan cricket board was the sole authority on the tournament and that it had the blessing of the ICC. However, it was not enough for the BCCI suspicious with the sniff of the former IPL chairman and commissioner in the air.

 


The fact that BCCI is a critical factor in the success of their neighbours is evident in that had the Indian cricketers featured, the interests from the sub continent would have not only increased multifold but would have attracted broadcasters, sponsors and much needed revenue for Sri Lankan cricket. However, with the issue of the Indian cricketers’ participation becoming redundant and the absence of a broadcaster have meant that Sri Lankan cricket would have to pay heavily out of their pocket.

 


While there were earlier suggestions that the Sri Lankan Premier League would even go ahead without the foreign players, the ultimate decision in light of recent events has been to stick with the status quo of a domestic Twenty20 tournament with the winner getting the opportunity to play in the Champions League Twenty20 2011 while the SLPL would now be slated for a launch in late 2012.


SRI LANKAN PREMIER LEAGUE CRICKET 2011

Posted by anccricket on July 1, 2011 at 2:47 PM Comments comments (0)



The first edition of the Sri Lankan Premier League will be held in 2011. The Sri Lankan Premier League 2011 will start on July 19 and will continue till August 4 and is a branded version of the Inter-Provincial Twenty20. There are seven teams in the SLPL and all these seven teams will play each other once before the top four sides clash in the semi-finals, followed by a final.


The seven teams playing the tournament are Basnahira Bears, Kandurata Kites, Nagenahira Nagas, Ruhuna Rhinos, Uthura Oryxes, Uva Unicorns and Wayamba Wolves. Wayamba had won the tournament in the 2010 edition of the tournament.


The Bears will be led by Tillakaratne Dilshan, the Kites will have Kumar Sangakkara as their captain, Shahid Afridi will lead the Nagas, Sanath Jayasuriya will be the captain of the Rhinos, Daniel Vettori leads Oryxes, Unicorns get skippered by Chaminda Vaas and the Wolves will have Mahela Jayawardene at the top.


According to the SLPL format, each side can pick a maximum of five foreign cricketers in their squad and four of them will be able to play in the eleven member side. Of the rest of the seven Sri Lankan cricketers in the playing eleven, one should be an under-21 player.All the games of the tournament will be held at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.



International Players Supposed to Arrive in SLPL T20 League:



Pakistan ? Shoaib Akhtar, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Umar Akmal, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal and Misbah ul Haq

India ? Pathan Brothers ( Others will be announced Later )

Australia ? Saun Tait, Saun Marsh, David Warner ( Others will be announced Later)

West Indies ? Chris Gayle, Bravo Cousins ( Others will be announced Later )

South Africa ? Hershal Gibbs ( Others will be announced Later )

New Zealand ? Danial Vettori ? ( Others will be announced Later )






Schedule for Sri Lanka Premier League 2011


1st Match

Date: July 19, Tuesday

Time: 14:30 GMT | 20:00 local

Team: Basnahira Bears v Kandurata Kites


2nd Match

Date: July 20, Wednesday

Time: 10:30 GMT | 16:00 local

Team: Nagenahira Nagas vs Ruhuna Rhinos


3rd Match

Date: July 20, Wednesday

Time: 14:30 GMT | 20:00 local

Team: Uthura Oryxes v Wayamba Wolves


4th Match

Date: July 21, Thursday

Time: 10:30 GMT | 16:00 local

Team: Uva Unicorns v Basnahira Bears


5th Match

Date: July 21, Thursday

Time: 14:30 GMT | 20:00 local

Team: Kandurata Kites v Nagenahira Nagas


6th Match

Date: July 23, Saturday

Time: 10:30 GMT | 16:00 local

Team: Ruhuna Rhinos v Uthura Oryxes


7th Match

Date: July 23, Saturday

Time: 14:30 GMT | 20:00 local

Team: Wayamba Wolves v Uva Unicorns


8th Match

Date: July 24, Sunday

Time: 10:30 GMT | 16:00 local

Team: Basnahira Bears v Nagenahira Nagas


9th Match

Date: July 24, Sunday

Time: 14:30 GMT | 20:00 local

Team: Kandurata Kites v Ruhuna Rhinos


10th Match

Date: July 25, Monday

Time: 10:30 GMT | 16:00 local

Team: Uthura Oryxes v Uva Unicorns


11th Match

Date: July 25, Monday

Time: 14:30 GMT | 20:00 local

Team: Wayamba Wolves v Basnahira Bears


12th Match

Date: July 26, Tuesday

Time: 10:30 GMT | 16:00 local

Team: Kandurata Kites v Uthura Oryxes


13th Match

Date: July 26, Tuesday

Time: 14:30 GMT | 20:00 local

Team: Nagenahira Nagas v Wayamba Wolves


14th Match

Date: July 28, Thursday

Time: 10:30 GMT | 16:00 local

Team: Ruhuna Rhinos v Uva Unicorns


15th Match

Date: July 28, Thursday

Time: 14:30 GMT | 20:00 local

Team: Uthura Oryxes v Basnahira Bears


16th Match

Date: July 29, Friday

Time: 10:30 GMT | 16:00 local

Team: Wayamba Wolves v Kandurata Kites


17th Match

Date: July 29, Friday

Time: 14:30 GMT | 20:00 local

Team: Uva Unicorns v Nagenahira Nagas


18th Match

Date: July 30, Saturday

Time: 10:30 GMT | 16:00 local

Team: Basnahira Bears v Ruhuna Rhinos


19th Match

Date: July 30, Saturday

Time: 14:30 GMT | 20:00 local

Team: Kandurata Kites v Uva Unicorns


20th Match

Date: July 31, Sunday

Time: 10:30 GMT | 16:00 local

Team: Nagenahira Nagas v Uthura Oryxes


21st Match

Date: July 31, Sunday

Time: 14:30 GMT | 20:00 local

Team: Ruhuna Rhinos v Wayamba Wolves


1st Semi-Final

Date: August 2, Tuesday

Time: 14:30 GMT | 20:00 local

Team: TBC v TBC


2nd Semi-Final

Date: August 3, Wednesday

Time: 14:30 GMT | 20:00 local


Team: TBC v TBC

Final

Date: August 4, Thursday

Time: 14:30 GMT | 20:00 local

Team: TBC v TBC



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