Two positives for India in final one-day match

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.
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Dhoni, don’t outstay your welcome, please go

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.
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Why India will not win a single match in Australia

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.
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One-sided cricket matches are here to stay. Why would you attend?

World cricket is in a parlous state, not in terms of the money it makes, but in terms of the contests it provides. The games are one-sided to the extent that patrons at the grounds are few and far-between.

There is no better illustration of this than in the ongoing Australian games, where the home team is playing New Zealand and the West Indies in three Tests apiece. The first Test against New Zealand was won convincingly, and the second looks like going the same route. As to the West Indies, they are not expected to last beyond four days in each of the three Tests.

The man who is responsible for this farcical outcome, where Tests are mostly one-sided, died recently. Jagmohan Dalmiya was the one who set in motion these unending Test matches, where cricket goes on round the year, and the same bunch of players have to play, and play and play.
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Myths about Dhoni shown to be just that

As the Indian cricket team was slowly moving towards defeat against Australia in the World Cup semi-final, many commentators, the normally erudite Allan Border among them, were still convinced that Indian captain M.S. Dhoni would explode at some point and carry India to victory.

It looks like Border and all the others of his ilk were dreaming earlier in the summer when Dhoni called time on his Test career, indicating that he was unable to handle that job any more. He did not step down from the captaincy, he quit Tests altogether.

Quite simply, Dhoni has lost it. He is past it and his sticking on for the World Cup was a typical reaction from a cricketer in a country where the selectors do not pick people on form alone. The same applies to Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan, and Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi. All are past it, yet were allowed to play on by their respective countries’ selectors, for so-called sentimental reasons.
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When will India’s luck run out?

India has continued its incredible run in the World Cup cricket tournament, bowling another team out as it recorded a 109-run win over Bangladesh to enter the semi-finals.

But this could not have been achieved had one umpiring error not gone India’s way.

At three for 196, India looked like it would go on to make a big total at the MCG, having chosen to bat after winning the toss.
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Dhoni quits Tests: an era ends

AFTER 90 Tests, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has called it a day as a Test cricketer.

He will continue to lead India in the one-day and T20 formats, with a one-day World Cup around the corner in 2015.

Dhoni was not a great captain but he had limited resources at his disposal. To win a Test, one has to take 20 wickets and having batsmen who can pile up the runs is simply not enough. The West Indies, during their incredible run of 15 years without the loss of a Test series, were often bailed out by their bowlers — and boy, did they have some bowlers! — when the batting failed. Yes, even the powerful batting line-ups of the Windies did fail on occasion.
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Phillip Hughes rides again

At times, the manner in which a batsman makes runs provides evidence of his ability. But the reverse is also true: at times, the way a batsman scores is indicative of reasons why he should not be picked.

Phillip Hughes of New South Wales has again been awarded a contract by Cricket Australia. On the tour of India in February and March, Hughes failed repeatedly. He showed an inability to tackle spin – and that was about all that was doled out by the Indian team.

Hughes’ scores in the series were 6, 0, 19, 0, 2, 69, 45 and 6 as Australia was hammered 4-0 in the four-Test series. During the knock of 69, he was like a cat on hot bricks. He survived 166 balls through sheer luck, and zero ability. He was as jumpy as he had been during his previous five innings.
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