Cricket News, March 2005
Pakistan Tour StartsThe much awaited Pakistan tour started on March 3rd with the rained-out warm-up tie against the Board XI in Dharamshala. Politics was again in the forefront with the team asking Dalai Lama to keep away from the opening ceremony! In an absorbing first test at Mohali, the Pakistani tail enders snatched a draw from India. India spinner Kumble got the last laugh in the second test with 7 wickets. Sachin reached another milestone, his 10,000 runs.
Cricket News March 2005
Ganguly's captaincy under fire; blames team
March 29, 2005Saurav Ganguly blamed his team's defensive batting approach for their 168-run loss in the final test against Pakistan on Monday and said he was confident he would recover from his slump in form.
"We lost too many wickets quickly because we got too defensive," Ganguly said. "It was not a conscious effort to get in a negative mode, but it cost us." The hosts, 25 without loss overnight, were 102 for one at lunch but were bowled out for 214 in the last two sessions.
Ganguly has suffered a wretched time with the bat scoring 21, 12, 12, one and two in the series and he was booed to and from the crease by the crowd during his short innings on Monday. He said the question of retaining him as captain was for the selectors to answer. Meanwhile, people have started talking about axing Ganguly, the most successful captain in Indian history. "On his batting form, Ganguly doesn't deserve a place in the team," former Indian captain Bishan Bedi said on Tuesday. "He should not be blocking the way of competent young players sitting among the reserves." "Ganguly's failure as a batsman was evident right through the series, but the last two days showed he didn't even have a game plan," Bedi said.
"As Ganguly shrinks from the unexpected defeat... the calls for his crown and his place in the team have become shriller," The Times of India said in a front-page report on Tuesday. Ganguly is India's most successful Test captain, with a 19-13 win loss record in 47 Tests. Ganguly will be 33 by the time the next Test series comes round in October against Zimbabwe.
TVS Cricket Cup Series Drawn Discuss Current Series
March 28, 2005Indian and Pakistan skipers with the TVS cup (In Picture). Pakistan won the final test at Bangalore, Inzamam's 100th, by 168 runs to level the series 1-1. The first test in Mohali was Drawn and India won the second test in Calcutta by 195 runs.
Inzamam gets one-match ban for dissent; Pak media hails skipper
March 28, 2005Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq has been banned for one test for showing dissent during the third and final test against India on Monday.
"We had a hearing with the match referee Chris Broad for two counts of excessive appealing and dissent," said Saleem Altaf, manager of the Pakistan cricket team. "On the first count, he has been fined 30 percent of his match fees and on the second, a level two offence, he has been given a one-test match ban." Altaf said both instances were during the first half hour of play on Monday.
Pakistan are scheduled to play their next test in West Indies in May.Meanwhile, back in Pakistan, the knives which were out baying for his blood have suddenly vanished and Inzy finds himself at the centre of adulation as the local media heaped praise on him after yesterday's series-levelling win at Bangalore.
'The Nation' said, ''Pakistan's beleaguered captain, Inzamam-ul Haq gave the expression 'leading from the front' new interpretation with aggressive batting and smart placing of field and bowling changes.
Praising Inzamam for his astute captaincy, Dawn wrote, ''For Inzamam, it was a wish fulfilled, a dream come true. A victory that he had so desperately wanted in his 100th Test, came about through a remarkable team-effort and his intelligent captaincy.'' Former Pakistan captain and coach Javed Miandad also singled out the burly Multa player for the brilliant win at Bangalore.
Pakistan Wins Bangalore, Draws Series! Discuss Bangalore Test
March 28, 2005Pakistan bowled out India for 214 on the final day of the third Test in Bangalore to tie the series 1-1. Danish Kaneria dismissed Harbhajan Singh and Lakshmipathy Balaji late in the afternoon to clinch a 168-run win.
Earlier Shahid Afridi took three wickets, including the key one for 16 of Sachin Tendulkar , who had become the third highest run-scorer in Tests. The much-vaunted quartet of Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar , Sourav Ganguly and V.V.S. Laxman could muster only 39 runs between them.
No team had ever scored more than 276 (West Indies in 1987) in the second innings to win a Test in India.
India 449 & 214 lost to Pakistan 570 & 261-2d by 168 runs.
Sehwag dominates Pakistan bowlers Discuss Bangalore Test
March 26, 2005Virender Sehwag hit a brilliant double hundred in a dominant batting display as Pakistan's bowlers were run ragged on day three of the Bangalore Test.
Sehwag finally fell for 201 as India reached 379-6 after the third day in reply to Pakistan's first innings 570.
Sehwag had put on 98 for the first wicket with Gautam Gambhir, 74 for the second with Rahul Dravid and 85 for the third with Sachin Tendulkar .
Third Test, Bangalore, day three (stumps) India 379-6 v Pakistan 570.
267 was nothing exceptional, says Younis Discuss Bangalore Test
March 25, 2005Younis Khan was the only one who thought his 504-ball innings of 267 runs on the second day of the third Test against India was "just normal".
In fact, it was the highest score by a Pakistan batsman in India. It was also Younis' first double century. "This wasn't a great innings. I drew inspiration from Inzamam's knock yesterday, but, of course, I couldn't play like him," he said.
He believes that Pakistan can win this Test, as the pitch has started cracking and the spinners will play a big role. But, at the same time, he is sad that they cannot win the series despite the effort.
Inzamam fifth player to slam hundred in 100th test Discuss Bangalore Test
March 24, 2005Captain Inzamam-ul-Haq cracked a flawless unbeaten 184 in his 100th test and Younis Khan added 127 not out as Pakistan took control on the first day of the third and final match on Thursday. The pair shared in a 316-run partnership for the third wicket, the highest by Pakistan in India, to frustrate the Indian bowlers after they had reduced the visitors to seven for two.
Inzamam became only the fifth player in history to score a century in his 100th test, joining an elite club containing England's Colin Cowdrey, Gordon Greenidge of West Indies, Pakistani Javed Miandad and England's Alec Stewart.
His magnificent 263-ball knock, with 25 fours, was the highest score by a batsman in his centennial test, surpassing Greenidge's 149.
Inzi aims to level series in his 100th Test Discuss Bangalore Test
March 23, 2005Pakistan cricket captain Inzamam-ul Haq today resolved to adopt an aggressive approach in his 100th Test, beginning in Bangalore tomorrow, as his team seeks to level the three-Test series against India.
Pointing out that the toss would play an important role in the match, Inzamam also hinted that he would make atleast two changes to the side which lost at Kolkata.
"I don't need to stress how important this match is for us. We have to take a simple approach of winning at all costs. We have to be aggressive and positive," Inzamam told reporters. On the other hand, Indian skipper Saurav Ganguly hoped that the ICC would soon sort out the controversy over Harbhajan's "doosra" bowling action.
Though Inzamam admitted that the controversy surrounding off spinner Harbhajan Singh's 'doosra' delivery, he was not considering it as a great advantage. Asked whether he feared that his captaincy would be at stake if the side lost the series against India, Inzamam said such things (talks) happen from time-to-time. "It's important to focus on the task at hand; to win the match.
Inzamam ruled out any "tension" in the team and said his "arguments" with Shahid Afridi could not be described as "tension". To a question, he said his most unforgettable moment was when he was part of the Pakistan team that won the World Cup in 1992. And the most regrettable one was that he scored a mere 19 runs from six matches in the 2003 edition.
Sourav faces the heat Discuss Bangalore Test
March 22, 2005Saurav Ganguly, known to his fans as Maharaj is in trouble. His crown is fast slipping from his head. Struggling with his own game, he appears to be finding it increasingly hard to inspire his team mates, who calls him Dada.
The 32-year-old, at the helm for almost five years, is Indias most successful captain. Of his 19 test wins, nine have come overseas. In the 68 years before he took over, the team had won a mere 13 matches abroad.br>A man who started his career with a cover drive to die for and a century on his debut at Lords, Ganguly has played 81 matches, scoring 4,946 runs at an average of 41.56 with 11 hundreds. In recent seasons, however, he has looked less the part. Even when scoring a century at Headingley and a 99 at Trent Bridge during Indias tour of England in 2002, one of his best seasons, he was scratchy.
In the second Test against Pakistan last week, Ganguly got involved in a personal battle with paceman Mohammad Sami, playing a horrendous pull to lose his wicket to a bouncer and put the team at risk. Unless he can show more commitment in the field and come up quickly with knocks similar to his Brisbane innings, Ganguly could be fighting a losing battle.
Murali ties the knot to Indian Girl
March 21, 2005Surrounded by brightly coloured statues of Hindu gods, Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan was married on Monday. He wed 24-year-old business graduate Madhi Ramamurthy at a five-hour ceremony attended by 2,000 guests in the southern Indian city of Chennai.
The couple were engaged in November after Murali's mother Lakshmi, a cricket and Tamil movie fan, arranged a meeting between the pair through a Tamil movie star. Muralitharan was convinced after a one-hour meeting that Madhi was the girl he wanted to marry. When the horoscopes matched the marriage was confirmed. However, before the engagement she confessed to being clueless about cricket and Sri Lanka's most famous celebrity.
While no one from the Indian cricket team attended the ceremony, many of Murali's buddies from the Sri Lankan side came for the wedding. Those present on the occasion included Sanath Jayasuriya, Chaminda Vaas and former captain Arjuna Ranatunga.
Dravid tops ICC Test rankings Jammie's Records
March 21, 2005Rahul Dravid's two centuries for India against Pakistan in the Kolkata Test have moved him to the top of the LG ICC Test rankings. Dravid, who displaces South African Jacques Kallis, now has 892 points, the highest of his career, compared to Kallis who has 886 points.
Meanwhile, Anil Kumble has moved up one place into fourth position on the Test bowler rankings after his 10 wickets haul in the Kolkata Test. The leg spinner is ahead of Pakistani speedster Shoaib Akhtar in the rankings.
There are two more Indian batsmen in the top 10. Virender Sehwag is at No. 6 and Sachin Tendulkar is at No. 7
Inzamam-ul-Haq is the highest rated Pakistan batsman at 14th, while Danish Kaneria holds on to 13th place in the bowling after his six wickets in the game.
India retains the same team for the Bangalore Cricket Test against Pakistan Discuss Bangalore Test
March 21, 2005India yesterday retained their 14-member squad which scored a comfortable 195-run win in the second Test to go 1-0 up in the series for the third and final Test against Pakistan to be held in Bangalore from Thursday. Indian Cricket Team: Sourav Ganguly (Captain), Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag , Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar , Venkatsai Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Dinesh Karthik, Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan, Ashish Nehra, Laxmipathy Balaji, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh.
Harbhajan Singh will not be allowed to bowl his Doosra Discuss Doosra
March 21, 2005Harbhajan Singh will not be allowed to bowl his controversial doosra during India's third Test against Pakistan this week after being reported by match referee Chris Broad for a suspect action.
Broad targeted Harbhajan after India's win in the second Test at Calcutta when he bowled out two batsmen with the delivery during Pakistan's second innings.It is the second time Harbhajan has been reported by Broad in four months. He had to remedy his bowling action after a query by Broad in a Test in Bangladesh last December.
Harbhajan can play for India when the third Test against Pakistan starts on Thursday in Bangalore but cannot bowl the doosra until he completes remedial work with the International Cricket Council (ICC). In Picture: One of the computer images of Muttiah Muralitharan's doosra action that was supplied to the ICC in a biomechanist's report. ICC effectively banned Muralitharan from bowling his doosra - a delivery deemed illegal.
Teams in Bangalore, rest after five-day battle
March 21, 2005Players of both the visiting Pakistan and Indian cricket teams today opted for a day's rest after the second Test at Kolkata. The Pakistan team and some members of the Indian team arrived in Bangalore late last night from Kolkata. While most members of both the teams went to Chennai to attend the marriage of Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralidharan, those who stayed back took some rest.
Indian Coach John Wright visited the M Chinnaswamy stadium and inspected the pitch, prepared for the crucial third and final test beginning from March 24. Chief Curator Narayana Rao told UNI that good cricket was in store as the pitch was expected to be a batting pitch for the first three days.
India Wins Second Test Kolkata Test
March 20, 2005Anil Kumble won India another Test with some exceptional bowling, taking his 29th five-wicket haul in a Test innings. He got a wicket off the first ball and went on to take Inzamam's wicket for the 7th time in as many tests. He proved irresistible on the fifth day, as he has so often in the past, and sent Pakistan skidding to 226 all out, taking 7 for 63 and giving India victory by 195 runs and a 1-0 lead in this series.
India started the day as favourites, as neither of the two options before Pakistan - scoring 327 for a victory, or surviving 90 overs for a draw - were easy to achieve.
Scores: India 407 (Dravid 110, Sehwag 81) and 407 for 9 dec (Dravid 135, Karthik 93) beat Pakistan 393 (Younis 147, Youhana 104) and 226 (Afridi 59, Kamal 50, Kumble 7-63) by 195 runs.
Dravid, Second best only to the Don Jammie's Records
March 19, 2005Having read about Steve Waughs twin tons in 1997 that won a Headingley Test against England to help Australia level that Ashes series, Dravid had always wanted to follow suit. He did that once at Hamilton against New Zealand in 1998-99 but the unbeaten 103 in the second inningsafter a 190 in the firstturned out to be his least favourite. The match was a draw, the series a defeat.
At the Eden, the ground where he rediscovered himself with Laxman in that historic stand, after taking flak for his slow-scoring rate, in 2001 against Australia, Dravid stands on the verge of something special.
Both his centuries110 and 135 in this Test have come in the face of severe pressure, and both times he has walked back smiling.With a Test average of 58.45, second only to Sir Don Bradman, Dravid today stands as the worlds best batsman.
Bucknored: Sachin walks into dressing room crying! Worst Umpire?
March 18, 2005Steve Bucknor, the umpire who has a history of confrontations with the Indian team, ensured that his 100th Test would not be forgotten easily for the wrong reasons. On the third day of the Kolkata test, Sachin Tendulkar walked back to the dressing room with tears in his eyes as Bucknor declared him out at 52 after his bat clearly missed the ball sent down by Abdul Razzaq.
"Sachin had tears in his eyes as he returned to the dressing room,'' a member of the Indian team said. "He just couldn't express his shock at the decision. He was furious,'' he added. In Pakistan last year, he turned down several genuine appeals and gestured at wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel to keep quiet in a manner which was humiliating.
Bucknor has umpired in 17 Tests involving India and they have won just four.
Tendulkar the fastest man to 10,000 test runs; India off to a good start Sachin
March 16, 2005Sachin Tendulkar reached 10,000 Test runs and Rahul Dravid hit 110 as India ended an eventful first day of the second Test against Pakistan on 344-6 at Eden Gardens.
India were 126-1 at lunch and added another 30 in eight overs following the restart before Sehwag paid the price for over-confidence. Sehwag's (81) departure brought in Tendulkar, but it was Dravid who assumed the senior partner's role. After a prolonged start, Tendulkar looked set for his 35th Test hundred, but that was put on hold again as his attempted cut off a wide Afridi delivery was pouched by Akmal.
Sachin Tendulkar became only the fifth batsman to complete 10,000 test runs. Former captain Sunil Gavaskar, the first player to accumulate 10,000 runs, is the only other Indian to reach the milestone. The 31-year-old Tendulkar, playing his 122nd test, already holds the records for runs and centuries in one-day cricket and shares the record for most test hundreds (34) with Gavaskar.
Kapil stars in Ghai film
March 15, 2005Kapil Dev will soon be seen on the big screen. Subhash Ghai, who recently signed Imtiaz Ali to direct one of his forthcoming films, has roped in the cricketer to play a role in one of his films. He will be playing a key role in Iqbal, which is being directed by Nagesh Kukunoor. In fact, Kapil - who plays himself in the film - has already shot for the film. Iqbal is the story of a 15-year-old boy who wants to be part of the Indian cricket team. The film also stars Naseeruddin Shah.
March 13, 2005Kolkata's famous Eden Gardens is gearing up to host the second Test match between arch cricket rivals India and Pakistan. Considered one of the best cricket grounds in the world, Eden is being spruced up to host next week's match.
A large contingent of groundsmen are working overtime to create a carpet like field, and the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) Pitches and Grounds Committee, which supervises cricket pitch preparations across the country, says that it is taking all measures to provide a balanced playing surface favouring both bowlers and batsmen.
Preparations are also in full swing for making and allocating a separate stand for visiting Pakistan and Indian cricket fans in the sprawling stadium that can accommodate over 100,000 people.
Balaji fined 30 percent of match fee
March 13, 2005Pacer Lakshmipathy Balaji (In Picture) has been fined 30 percent of his match fee for "excessive appealing" and "not looking back to the umpire" after dismissing Pakistan's centurion Kamran Akmal in the drawn first Test here, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced Sunday. "Balaji was found guilty of excessive appealing and not looking back to the umpire when appealing by ICC match referee Chris Broad in a hearing at the conclusion of the match," said an ICC statement released by the Indian cricket board at Mohali.
The charge was brought by umpires Darrell Hair and Rudi Koertzen and television umpire K. Hari Haran. Broad reached his conclusion after a hearing attended by Balaji, India coach John Wright and the three umpires.
Brilliant Pakistan earns Draw in Mohali
March 12, 2005Heroic batting from Kamran Akmal (In Picture) and Abdul Razzaq gave Pakistan a draw in the first Test against India in Mohali.
Man of the Match Akmal, who suffered cramps during his innings, struck a fluent 109 and dominated in a record 184-run seventh wicket stand with all rounder Abdul Razzaq (71) after the visitors had faced defeat overnight.
Pakistan finally declared on 496-9 setting India an improbable target of 293 from 25 overs. They reached 85 for one losing Sehwag for 36, when the match was called off with eight overs remaining. It was a remarkable result after Pakistan had been 10-3 at one stage on Friday.
In the Pakistani innings, Kumble took his 450th wicket when he caught Mohammad Sami quite brilliantly off his own bowling. He finished with 4-160, while Balaji had 4-95 and nine wickets in the match.
The second match of the series will begin in Kolkata from March 16.
India retain same squad for second Test
March 11, 2005India's cricket selectors Friday retained the 14-member squad for the second Test at Kolkata beginning Wednesday, cricket board secretary S K Nair announced in Mohali.
Indian Squad :Sourav Ganguly (Captain) Virender Sehwag , Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar , V.V.S. Laxman, Dinesh Kaarthick (wicketkeeper), Yuvraj Singh, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Irfan Pathan, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra and Lakshmipathy Balaji.
Coach : John Wright
Physiotherapist : John Gloster
Trainer : Gregory Allen King
The five selectors are More (West Zone), Yashpal Sharma (North), Pranab Roy (East), Gopal Sharma (Central) and V.B. Chandrasekhar (South).
India seek rapid finish in Mohali
March 11, 2005India start the final day of the first Test against Pakistan in a powerful position, knowing four quick wickets should ensure a comfortable victory. Pakistan's not-out batsmen are Abdul Razzaq and Kamran Akmal, who will have other ideas as they resume on 257-6, leading by a slim margin of 53 runs.
India's Lakshmipathy Balaji will hope to add to his eight wickets in the match with his fast swing bowling.
First Test, Mohali, day five: India 516 v Pakistan 312 & 257-6.
Balaji dazzles with bat and ball
March 11, 2005Pakistan reached 257-6 at stumps on day four of the first Test against India to lead by just 53.
Lakshmipathy Balaji contributed three wickets to take his haul to eight in the match. The tourists had been in big trouble at 10-3 before Inzamam-ul-Haq and Yousuf Youhana added 139 for Pakistan's fourth wicket. Anil Kumble turned the game back India's way as he dismissed Inzamam (86) and Youhana (68) either side of tea.
In the morning session, India finished on 516 after starting the day on 447-6. Danish Kaneria captured the four remaining wickets to finish with 6-150, the best figures ever for a leg-spinner in a Test against India. But Balaji entertained the crowd with three fours in a Kanaria over, one of them an immaculate cover drive that would have made a specialist batsman proud. He added 42 runs in quick time for the eighth wicket with Laxman (58 of 125 balls), who brought up his 21st Test half-century. Balaji made 31 in 36 balls.
Sehwag hits a dazzling 173, Sachin misses a World Record!
March 10, 2005Virender Sehwag continued to torment Pakistan with a blistering 173 as India took command of the first cricket Test by piling a healthy first innings lead in Mohali. He cracked his ninth Test century to power the hosts to an imposing 447 for six at close on the third day which saw Sachin Tendulkar (94) come agonisingly close to dethroning Sunil Gavaskar from the top position in the list of leading Test century-makers.
Tendulkar, in search of his 35th hundred and the looming 10,000 runs, was largely the reason India couldn't make more than what they ended up with at close. Ironically, Tendulkar was in peach form in his first 50 which came off 78 balls and included seven fours. His next 44 was worth a labour of 122 balls and nearly four hours.
Sehwag shared three successive century stands for the first three wickets, putting on 113, 103 and 118 with Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid and Tendulkar.
PM invites Pervez to watch cricket tie
March 10, 2005Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has invited Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and his family to come to India and watch a match of the ongoing Indo-Pak cricket series.
The Prime Minister recalled that when Indians went to Pakistan for the last cricket series, they returned with tales of bonhomie and warm hospitality.
"I am equally conscious of the fact that today even as I speak in this august House, I am competing for the nation's attention with young men like (Virendra) Sehwag and (Asimality to thousands of visitors from Pakistan," he said.
Sehwag looking to bat all day tomorrow
March 9, 2005Virender Sehwag 's batting has been criticized, torn apart by the so-called experts and loved by the masses. But nothing anyone says can make him change the way he bats. As he hammered 95 runs against Pakistan in a session-and-a-half on day 2 of the first Test at Mohali on Wednesday, one could not help but wonder where this Indian team would be without the dashing Delhi batsman.
At the press conference answers come hard and fast, "I am not looking to get just five runs more. I am looking to bat all day tomorrow. And if that happens I know I will score runs at a quick rate. In the Melbourne Test against Australia, I got out for 195 late in the day and after that India struggled. I'll look to ensure that it doesn't happen again."
The first-wicket partnership between Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir was worth 113 and it was the second time in recent matches that the duo put on a hundred-run stand.
Musharraf may visit India to watch cricket
March 9, 2005Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is expected to visit India in the next few days to watch a cricket match between the Indian and Pakistani teams. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said he would welcome a visit by Musharraf to watch the sporting event.
Musharraf had said last week he would love to see the two teams on field - but only if invited. "I love watching any sport.I would love to watch cricket," Musharraf had told Pakistani media, adding: "I don't believe in going anywhere without an invitation.If there is an invitation, one would like to consider."
That set the ball rolling in New Delhi, and cricket may provide a platform to the two sides to continue warming up the otherwise frigid relations.
Pakistani Bookies give India the edge
March 9, 2005The odds in the 35,000 odd gambling books existing in Lahore were clearly in favour of India after the opening day, local newspaper 'Daily Times' reportered in Islamabad.
"The books opened at 1:10 in favour of a draw, 1:5 in favour of Pakistan and 1:0.75 (75 paisas for Rs 1) in favour of India. When the match closed, the odds in favour of a draw and in favour of Pakistan remained unchanged while odds in favour of India varied from 1:0.75 to 1:0.80 (80 paisas for Rs 1 )," it said.
"A majority of Lahore fans are betting on an Indian win because India has the home ground and crowd advantage," the paper quoted a local bookmaker.
Lord's 'remains home of cricket'
March 9, 2005The secretary of the MCC says Lord's will still be regarded as the home of cricket after the International Cricket Council has moved to Dubai. Roger Knight told BBC Sport: "Lord's is known as the home of cricket and I think it is something that is likely to continue. We would like it that way."
The ICC announced on Monday that it would move to the UAE to take advantage of more favourable tax breaks. Though the MCC paid around 180,000 a year to rent their office space at Lord's, Knight is not anxiously hunting around for a new tenant.
Dravid eyes top batsman's spot
March 9, 2005Indian vice-captain Rahul Dravid could reclaim the top Test batsman's mantle in the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings if he remains the run machine during the ongoing India-Pakistan series. Currently ranked second, Dravid will have to average over 50 to push past South African Jacques Kallis who tops the standings.
Teammate Anil Kumble is currently ranked fifth amongst Test bowlers while his spin-twin Harbhajan Singh is 12th. A good performance from the off-spinner, who sat out the first Test at Mohali, could see him break into the top 10 again.
First test of the India Pakistan series begins today
March 8, 2005Arch rivals India and Pakistan resume their much-awaited cricketing rivalry here today (Tuesday) with the hosts going into the first of the three-Test series as favourites, having a full strength squad at their disposal after a long time. The tour may not have generated the same hype which was associated with India's historic trip to Pakistan last year, but the passion and excitement were expected to grow as the series unfolded over the next few days. The home team, who had won their first ever Test series in Pakistan last year, not only have the home advantage but also have been bolstered by the return from injury of some of their top performers.
Indian captain Sourav Ganguly will have a problem of plenty, particulary in the bowling department with Irfan Pathan, Ashish Nehra and Lakshmipathy Balaji all having recovered from injuries. The batting also looks formidable with Sachin Tendulkar , who had missed a number of domestic matches to rest an injured elbow, joining the team again.
The absence of pace spearhead Shoaib Akhtar, who pulled out with a hamstring injury, which has considerably weakened the bowling department of Pakistan but Pakistani skipper Inzimam ul Haq has made it clear that India must not count down other bowlers in the Pakistani side.
The Pitch: Meanwhile Mohali's curator Daljit Singh, who has produced pitches for all five Tests played at the venue till date, said that the wicket for the Indo-Pak Test beginning March 8 will likely be seam-friendly on the first three days, before beginning to turn. Also the canopy covers in use in Mohali permits the wicket to breathe, thus keeping it spiced up for the morning sessions.
Inzy said, If Pakistan wins the toss, he will not hesitate for a second before opting to bowl first in the seamer friendly Mohali pitch. In Picture: India captain Sourav Ganguly and his Pakistani counterpart Inzamam-ul Haq with the TVS Trophy on the eve of the first Test at Mohali, on Monday.
Nehra, Yuvraj out of first Test
March 7, 2005India today left out middle-order batsman Yuvraj Singh and left-arm seamer Ashish Nehra from the team for the first cricket Test against Pakistan starting here tomorrow. Indian captain Sourav Ganguly made the announcement here today which meant that either off-spinner Harbhajan Singh or seamer Laxmipathy Balaji would be picked in the final XI.
Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq, on the otherhand, kept the cards close to his chest as he refused to name the 12 for the game. He wanted to have one final look at the pitch on the morning of the match before deciding on his eleven.
Passion and politics mix as India faces Pakistan
March 7, 2005India faces a two-fold challenge as it hosts Pakistan in a series of three five-day test matches starting in Mohali on Tuesday. If the more obvious of the two is that of beating its opponent, the really important one is ensuring that it is as successful, gracious and magnanimous a host as Pakistan was when this most charged of test cricket rivalries was resumed after five years last year.
This is more than a meeting of two large nations for whom cricket is as fundamental to national pride and identity as soccer is to any European or Latin American state Read more at Herald Tribune
India is lovely, people are so nice
March 7, 2005Pakistan cricket fans who are for the first time on the "wrong side" of the border are finding the welcome and acceptance quite surprising. The Indian government has issued 10,000 visas for Pakistani fans and the hosts are eager to match the hospitality given to them during last year's series in Pakistan. Huge banners welcoming Pakistani fans lined the highway from the border city of Amritsar, with hundreds of locals greeting them at bus stops along the route.
In Chandigarh, leading cinema halls have offered free movie tickets to all Pakistanis. Others are specially screening films promoting love across the border. Pakistani fans said the warm reception in India had dispelled all fears they had about coming to Mohali. Some of them joined welcoming Indians in the "Bhangra", a traditional dance popular on both sides of the border.
Sachin needs 121 runs for twin milestone
March 6, 2005Sachin Tendulkar , whose illustrious career began way back in 1989 in Pakistan when he was just 16, needs a 100-plus innings to reach a twin milestone. A century will smash compatriot Sunil Gavaskars world record of 34 Test hundreds. And by scoring 121 he will become only the fifth batsman in Test history to complete 10,000 runs. Former Australian captains Allan Border and Steve Waugh, Gavaskar and West Indies skipper Brian Lara comprise the elite 10,000-club so far.
Tendulkar has already compiled 9,879 runs in 120 Tests with 34 centuries and 13,497 runs in 342 one-dayers with a world record 37 hundreds.
Shiv Sena Threat to Delhi ODI
March 6, 2005The Delhi unit of Shiv Sena threatened on Sunday not to allow the sixth Indo-Pak ODI slated to be held in the capital next month. The Indo-Pak match in Delhi will not be allowed to take place at any cost, Delhi unit chief Jai Bhagwan Goel was quoted as saying, according to a Shiv Sena release.
Meanwhile, 750 Pakistan fans crossed over to India through the Wagah border Sunday to witness the first Test beginning in Mohali on Tuesday. This was after Pakistan cancelled the Samjhauta Express due to tecnical reasons
First batch of 1,000 Pak cricket fans arrives in India to a warm welcome
March 6, 2005The first batch of Pakistani cricket fans crossed into India on Sunday amidst beating of drums and dancing by their Indian hosts. Pakistan takes on India next week in Mohali in the first of the three-test series being held after a span of six years.
About 1,000 fans crossed over to India through Wagah check post, the only land route between the two countries. Around 4,000 Pakistani cricket fans are expected to follow their national team for the first match in the much-anticipated test series.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence in 1947, two of them over the disputed region of Kashmir.
India may invite Musharraf to watch cricket
March 6, 2005Government sources on Friday said Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's offer to travel to India to watch an Indo-Pak cricket match will be responded to positively. Ministry of External Affairs sources said this is not the first time Pakistan has sought to use cricket diplomacy to improve ties between the two countries.
Former Pakistan president General Zia ul Haq had visited India in the late eighties to watch an Indo-Pak cricket match.
In Picture: Musharraf with spinner Saqlain Mushtaq in Rawalpindi.
March 5, 2005Captain Sourav Ganguly has revealed India will not be tempted into tinkering with their batting order for the first Test against Pakistan. "Our batting order for the Tests is fixed. There are no changes from number three to six," Ganguly told BBC Sport.
Rahul Dravid will remain at number three and VVS Laxman at six, despite the latter averaging 53.5 at first drop in Test cricket. Ganguly gave his backing to Gautam Gambhir, banishing speculation Yuvraj Singh could be asked to open the batting again after a failed experiment against Australia last year.
Sachin Tendulkar will bat at number four with Ganguly at five.
With wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik to come in at number seven, India are left with just four spots for bowlers - suggesting Yuvraj could miss out.
March 5, 2005With the first Test only three days away, the BCCI has finally concluded its immediate television rights deals by awarding the overseas rights for the India-Pakistan series to Sony Entertainment Television (SET). The company put up a winning bid of US$11.5million for the three Tests and six one-dayers.
The BCCI had Tuesday awarded the production rights to TransWorld International for $1.5 million.
March 5, 2005The Indian cricket team arrived in Chandigarh today to play the first Test against Pakistan at Mohali from March 8. The team led by Captain Saurav Ganguly arrived at 3 p.m. amidst tight security. Among the other players who arrived were Sachin Tendulkar , L. Balaji, Anil Kumble, Virender Sehwag , V.V.S. Laxman, Ashish Nehra, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan and Murali Karthik.
Although,Chandigarh was gearing up for the oath taking ceremony of the new Haryana Chief Minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the city diverted its attention towards the cricketers for quite a while.
March 3-5, 2005Day three: Inclement weather finally led to the warm-up match between Pakistan and the BCCI President's XI being called off with only 11 overs bowled on the third and final day in Dharamsala on Saturday. After the entire morning session was abandoned today due to wet ground conditions, poor light forced suspension 10 minutes before tea followed by a downpour which prompted the umpires to call off the match.
Resuming at 91 for one, BCCI President's XI were 120 for one with skipper Mohammad Kaif and opener Dheeraj Jadhav on 49 each when covers came on. Pakistan had made 273 in their first innings. In the brief period of action possible in the day, the 8,000 odd crowd got some exciting cricket to watch. With the fans cheering every ball as Kaif looked to complete his half century, the atmosphere became electric. Inzamam-ul Haq's men too were sporting in making no complaints about the wet patches, especially in the bowlers' run up area.
At End of Play: Pakistanis 273 Indian Board President's XI 120/1 (34 ov) D Jadhav not out 49, M Kaif not out 49
Match Details Day two: Chasing Pakistan's first innings total of 273, the Indian Board President's XI were 91 for 1 wicket when the match was stopped due to bad light on the second day of the three-day match here Friday. Mohammad Kaif was batting on 42 and D.S. Jadhav was batting on 30 at close of play.
Earlier, Abdul Razzaq scored a fine 63 off 82 balls, including 10 boundaries and two sixes, to help Pakistan to a decent total.
At Stumps: Pakistanis 273 Indian Board President's XI 91/1 (22.2 ov)
Indian Board President's XI trail by 182 runs with 9 wickets remaining in the 1st innings.
Match Details Day one: Pakistan were restricted to 165 for five at stumps on the day one of their three-day match against Board President's XI on Thursday. Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first. The match began late because of an overcast sky then rain. Salman Butt was the first man to go after he was run out by Gagandeep Singh for 21 runs.
Younis Khan followed suit in the next over for nought. Yousuf Yuhana was the third man to go after contributing 18 runs. Pakistan lost their fourth wicket as Taufeeq Umar was dismissed reducing the visitors to 83/4. Umar made 34 before he was caught by Md Kaif at short leg off R P Singh.
At Stumps: Pakistan struggle at 165 for five.
If invited, Prez Musharraf willing to watch cricket in India
March 4, 2005Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has evinced interest in visiting India to watch one of the matches of the Indo-Pak cricket series beginning next week, saying he would certainly consider such a proposal if invited by New Delhi.
Asked whether he would follow the footsteps of his predecessor and military ruler late General Zia ul Haq in pursuing cricket diplomacy with New Delhi by visiting India to watch the cricket series, he said he could consider it, provided he received an invitation.
Shoaib likely to play third Test, ODIs
March 4, 2005Pace spearhead Shoaib Akhtar, recuperating from a hamstring injury, is likely to turn up for Pakistan in the third cricket Test against India later next month as well as the following one-day international series.
Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Shaharyar Khan said the panel of doctors working on the bowler would submit its report tomorrow when a clearer picture is expected to emerge.
Harbhajan Singh's action gets ICC clearance
March 2, 2005Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has had his action effectively 'cleared' by the International Cricket Council (ICC), the world governing body announced on Wednesday. Back in December a group of officials, including former England batsman Chris Broad, raised concerns over Harbhajan's 'doosra', a delivery which turns away from a right-handed batsman the opposite of an orthodox off-spin ball. But Harbhajan was reported under now defunct 'chucking' regulations which were more strict than those which came into force on March 1 allowing bowlers up to 15 degrees of straightening of their arm in delivery.
His action was analysed last month by expert Bruce Elliott at the University of Western Australia, who supervised a high-speed camera test on Harbhajan. Now the 24-year-old, nicknamed the 'Turbanator' in a reference to the head-covering he wears as a Sikh, can look forward to playing in India's home Test and one-day series against arch-rivals Pakistan later this month.
March 2, 2005Once Pakistan's tour ends, India's packed cricket season will continue with two visits by Sri Lanka and one each by the West Indies and South Africa during the winter, reports Qaiser Mohammad Ali for Indo-Asian News Service.
Sri Lanka will play next month a one-day series and will come again in the winter for a full-fledged Test tour as well as a triangular one-day tournament involving the West Indies. "Sri Lanka will come for a five-match one-day international series in April, soon after the Pakistan series, and later towards the end of the year for three Tests and a one-day series with India and the West Indies," the sources told IANS.
"Besides Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the West Indies, South Africa will also visit India to play a one-day series, which is essentially the second half of the tour that they undertook last December," the sources added.
March 1, 2005The second tsunami benefit match, which was to be played at Kolkata in April but was cancelled, could still be played, Indian cricket board president Ranbir Singh Mahendra said Tuesday. Mahendra's comments contradicted his predecessor Jagmohan Dalmiya's statement Sunday that the match, which was to be played in mid-April in his home city, was cancelled due to hot weather expected at the time.
Mahendra said the BCCI was negotiating with the International Cricket Council (ICC) as well as the Asian Cricket Council.
New ICC regulations in effect
March 1, 2005The new ICC process dealing with suspect bowling actions at international level comes into effect from Tuesday, 1 March 2005. The amended process represents a radical overhaul of the previous system and sees changes in the testing, analysis and review procedures used to assess bowlers with suspected illegal actions.
The original restructuring proposals were developed by a panel of former international cricketers, including Aravinda de Silva, Angus Fraser, Michael Holding, Tony Lewis and Tim May, along with ICC General Manager, David Richardson. These proposals were then endorsed by the ICC's Cricket Committee, chaired by former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar, before being approved by all Test playing countries at the ICC Chief Executives' Committee in February this year.
March 1, 2005TransWorld International (TWI) has been given the telecast production rights for the upcoming home series against Pakistan for $1.5 million, the Indian cricket board announced in New Delhi on Tuesday. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), however, did not award the overseas rights for the 50-day series as a decision on that was yet to be taken, BCCI president Ranbir Singh Mahendra said after an emergency board working committee meeting here.
Mahednra said that TWI had quoted a figure of $1.5 million for the three Tests and six one-day internationals. State-run network Doordarshan will screen the series in India after a court issued an interim order to ensure the matches would be screened.
A decision on foreign channels is expected in the next few days.
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