Last year, Australia’s national Twenty20 competition, the Big Bash League, had 32 league games plus three finals. It was deemed a great success.
But the organiser, Cricket Australia, is not content with that. This year, there will be 40 games followed by the two semi-finals and the final. And the tournament will drag on into February.
This means many of the same cricketers will be forced to play those eight extra games, putting that much more strain on their bodies and minds. How much cricket can people play before they become jaded and reduced to going through the motions?
Continue reading Too much of anything is good for nothing
AUSTRALIA is likely to regret pushing Patrick Cummins into Test cricket before he has had a chance to play at least one season of matches in the Sheffield Shield to test out his body.
That Australia is not good at monitoring its players is evident from Mitchell Starc’s breaking down in India. Starc was ruled out of the India series after two Tests, with a stress fracture in his right foot.
As the cricket website espncricinfo has detailed, Starc is no stranger to injuries: he has been suffering from a spate of them right from December 2012.
Continue reading Australia taking a big risk by playing Cummins
ONE of the big problems that people from Western countries have is that they are unable to admit to any wrongdoing when they are caught out in a confrontation with someone from the East.
They are never wrong even when they are caught red-handed. Remember Lance Armstrong?
It is this mentality that prevents Steven Smith, the captain of Australia’s cricket team, from pretending that he was not trying to consult members of his team in the pavilion before deciding whether to have an LBW decision reviewed during the final innings of the second Test against India in Bangalore on Tuesday (March 7).
Continue reading Steve Smith cheated. Admit it, and move on, mate
Dean Jones is one of those many former Australian cricketers who now earns big bucks as a commentator on the sport. Like many others, he has little of import to say, but takes up 700 or 800 words to do so.
Jones was sacked by Ten Sports in 2006 for making a racist comment about South Africa’s Hashim Amla. But he has slowly crept back, with the Melbourne newspaper The Age helping in his rehabilitation by giving him a weekly column.
One would think that a man who goes around referring to Muslim players as terrorists would be shunned by publications that claim to have standards.
Continue reading ‘The terrorist has got another wicket’
As Australia mentally prepares for a gruelling tour of India, one curious characteristic of captain Stephen Smith is being ignored. This is Smith’s attitude towards spin and spinners when it comes to any form of cricket.
In India, any international team that wants to win a Test series must have a decent spin attack. This has become the case in recent years; the last time a team won in India was when England did so in 2012. They had Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann in their ranks.
During the three-Test series against Pakistan that concluded recently, Smith showed a curious reluctance to give the side’s only spinner, Nathan Lyon, a lengthy stint. He mostly depended on the medium-pacers and since Australia won all three Tests there were no questions raised.
Continue reading Does Steve Smith believe that spin can win matches?
One of the many big-noters in India has announced her return to the literary scene with a novel about the uprising in Kashmir. Coming 20 years after her only other effort, Arundhati Roy’s 2017 publication has already received enough hype to make one puke.
Since her book The God of Small Things was surprisingly awarded the Man Booker Prize in 1997, Roy has been involved in activism, written essays and numerous articles.
One has to be grateful that she did not attempt a second novel. Her first effort was terrible; author Carmen Callil, chair of the 1996 Booker jury, pronounced Roy’s work “execrable”, and said it should never have reached the shortlist.
Continue reading The time has arrived for a literary fraud to resurface
When India won the fifth one-day international against Australia on January 23, the first man to run out on to the field and congratulate the two batsmen at the crease — Manish Pandey and Gurkeerat Singh Mann crease — was Virat Kohli. One would have expected the Indian captain, M.S. Dhoni, to be doing this.
This is but the latest bit of gamesmanship by Kohli to indicate to Dhoni that his time is up and that he (Kohli) should be leading India instead.
Earlier in the same game, one could see Kohli often going up to the bowlers and offering advice as though he was in charge. And there were other occasions when he spoke to Dhoni, clearly suggesting a field change, which, in most cases, was made.
Continue reading Kohli wants the captaincy, of that there’s no doubt
There were two positives for India to take away from the final one-day international against Australia, apart from the unexpected win: the bowling of Jasprit Bumrah and the batting of Manish Pandey.
Pandey will probably figure in more media reports as he was the man of the match for making an unbeaten 104 off 81 balls to see the tourists home. But Bumrah’s performance is more significant for India, given that its bowling stocks are not upto the mark.
Bumrah is not unduly tall but he seems to follow the traditional approach of the fast bowler of yore. He has an unusual action, with his right arm coming down from its maximum height just before delivery. He also is not afraid to attack the stumps and slip in the occasional yorker and does not look to merely contain the batsman.
Continue reading Two positives for India in final one-day match
India’s shock loss in the fourth one-day match against Australia was one way that the players had of sending a message: members of the team don’t want Mahendra Singh Dhoni as captain because he has lost that magic touch he once had.
Dhoni is more of a zombie and several members of the team are loath to play to their full potential and win games anymore because the captain will be able to bask in reflected glory.
The series against South Africa last year gave an indication of this: the one-day series and the Twenty20 series were both won by South Africa. Dhoni captained India in both these series. But when it came to the Test matches under Virat Kohli, India thrashed South Africa 3-0 and would have won the one drawn Test too had it not been for rain washing out most of the game.
Continue reading Dhoni, don’t outstay your welcome, please go
Indian supporters who have been barracking for their country in the five-match one-day series against Australia assume that their team wants to win.
In that they are sadly mistaken.
The series was effectively over yesterday with Australia’s third straight win; the remaining games in Canberra and Sydney are now meaningless. For India, this is all part of a financial arrangement between the cricket boards of the two countries, and the players are not really interested. Their one interest is money.
Continue reading Why India will not win a single match in Australia