Aakash Chopra

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Former India opener Aakash Chopra is one of the best thinkers and writers on the game. Find out more at www.cricketaakash.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @cricketaakash

Blog Posts by Aakash Chopra

  • Clueless Captains

    What would you, as a skipper do, at a crucial point, when the game has gone down to the wire with just three overs remaining, and your best bowlers - RP Singh, Sreesanth & Vinay Kumar still left with an over each to bowl? Of course, you’d consider yourself blessed while making that rather unambiguous decision, of consuming the remaining three overs between those senior men, especially when your team is trying to defend a total. Bowling second and that too towards the end is as much about skills as it is about having the nerves of steel. You must be well equipped to bowl those impeccable yorkers and slower-ones and also have the experience to absorb the pressure. Quite tactlessly though, Mahela, in the opening match for Kochi, threw the ball to Gomez, a rookie and DeVilliers, sealed the match in 6 balls. Royal Challengers Bangalore needed 32 runs in last three overs but the target was reduced to run-a-ball off last two post Gomez's over.


    No, I'm not trying to run down the youngster

    Read More »from Clueless Captains
  • Reinventing the ODI

    If World Cup 2011 was considered to be the litmus test for the 50 over format of cricket, it has certainly passed the test with flying colours. At least for some time now, the raging debate over the format's redundancy seems to have taken a back seat. Yes, India's participation till the end and the eventual victory had a huge role to play in its success, although it would be unfair to overlook the other factors which worked in the format's favour. And it may also be worth to have a closer look at the areas in which the format needs to reinvent itself to continue thriving in the age where people are hard-pressed for time, and a game of cricket lasting seven long hours may be just too much to endure. While it is easier to gloat in the glory, it's only wise to understand the demands of the time and change accordingly. And let's not forget T20 is breathing down its neck all the time.
    Here're a look at few positives that emerged from the World Cup 2011 and a few suggestions with regards to

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  • From Wright to Chappell to Kirsten

    'Who told you to play that shot?' He asked angrily. 'But it was a short pitched delivery and I did get a boundary off it' replied the player, quite taken aback by the retort. 'It's not about what you achieve, but what you can help the team achieve' informed the man and ended the discussion for good.


    He was indeed the coach who started the revolution and subsequently metamorphosized Indian cricket in a way that changed its very fabric. He started a process, a vital one, which, and it won't be unfair to say that, played a crucial role in all that Indian cricket has achieved in the last decade. Yes, I'm talking about John Wright, Team India's coach between 200–200. Of course, the player in that conversation is none but yours' truly. I had despatched Craig Macmillan's harmless half-tracker behind the square-leg region for a boundary and indeed taken immense pleasure in doing so. In fact, I'd thought that John and the others would appreciate my effort, for I had compiled my first

    Read More »from From Wright to Chappell to Kirsten
  • Sri Lanka’s four pillars

    Would we win the Cup, seems to be the only question playing on everyone's mind. While the answer to that could be an emphatic yes, the bigger question that we should be asking instead is – how should we win the Cup? Here's a quick look at how we can aim to dissect and dismantle the game-changers in the Sri Lankan side.


    Dilshan: He's perhaps the most dangerous batsman in the Sri Lankan outfit. He may not be the most attractive or the most technically equipped, but he's definitely a game-changer. He's a lot like Sehwag, who can take the game away if he gets going. But like most attacking players, he has his chinks too. Since off-side is his preferred area, he stays inside the line of the ball in order to create room, which allows his arms to move freely. The best way to attack him is to get as close to him as possible and keep it on the fuller side, for he's a lot stronger square of the wickets than in the front of them. Another reason for bowling fuller is that the moment you're too

    Read More »from Sri Lanka’s four pillars
  • India vs Pak: It’s all in the mind

    Nothing can be more lip-smacking, adrenaline-pumping and nail biting than the thrilling prospect of India taking on their arch rivals Pakistan. Let's face it - it can't get bigger or better that this one clash. We may be playing them in the World Cup after a good eight years, and the statistics too back India's supremacy, but Pakistan is far from looking either perplexed or bogged down by pressure; in fact, they look confident enough to turn the tables.

    While India may have started as the firm favourites, the hiccups thereafter, especially during the knock-out stage, did mar the spirits somewhat. The celebrated batting line-up looked clueless towards the end, while bowling seemed to lack teeth. The fielding too looked curiously below par for any competitive international cricket. Just when it was looking like all was drifting away, the team turned the corner. The batting came into its own against Australia, the bowling has looked efficient in the last 2-3 games and we somehow managed

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  • DRS: Take it or leave it

    What's the most fundamental reason for trusting technology over human competence? Accuracy, I'd assume. If that is achieved, there shouldn't be a doubt on exploiting it to its utmost. Yet, if its design doesn't allow an infallible fact finding system, it must start a debate.


    Let me tell you from the outset that I've always been in favour of using technology, for that's the way forward, whether we like it or not. When everything else around us is evolving at break-neck speed, then why should cricket be allowed to slumber in the stone age? Just to reiterate my point, I must tell you that I haven't come across a batsman worth his salt who is okay to be given out when he isn't, or a bowler who approves of having his appeal turned down when he's 100% sure of claiming another scalp. Just to add to the drama, the broadcasting technology has improved manifold,  which gives the viewers the access to accurate information with regards to every dismissal.


    What a pity then that the men - the

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  • The Curious case of Nehra and Sreesanth

    You may want to, for a moment, put yourself in the shoes of Ashish Nehra and Sreesanth - In the 18 months before the World Cup began, Nehra was India's main strike bowler and rarely missed a game, due to injury or otherwise. Sreesanth, on the other hand, was the last-minute replacement for injured Praveen Kumar. While he wasn't in the Indian scheme of things for a while, he did impress one and sundry in the warm-up games.


    Strangely though, Nehra has so far bowled 13.4 overs in the World Cup and more unfortunately has been made a veritable pariah by the 1.2 billion Indians. And Sreesanth has featured in only 1 game, bowled 5 rather insipid overs and seemed to have done his bit in the World Cup campaign.


    The game against the West Indies at Chennai was the ideal and perhaps the last opportunity to give either of them another hit in the middle before the all important knock-outs. You may argue that winning the game convincingly against the men from the Caribbean was mandatory to build

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  • Why minnows deserve the ICC’s respect

    Have you ever experienced that eerie sinking feeling? Have you ever felt that whatever you do, it still won't be enough? Have you ever felt inadequate? We all may have gone
    through these emotions at some point in time, but have perhaps been lucky enough to avert dealing with them in full public glare. But, the 'minnows' in this World Cup aren't as lucky enough. They must have practiced long and hard before the tournament, they still spend many hours on the field between the matches when most teams are going through the motions, just to justify their presence, yet mostly, it isn't enough. They, as expected, finish on the losing side. They constantly try to punch above their weight and push the bigger nations but the lack of experience and talent lets them down. The humiliation of a loss is invariably followed by intense media scrutiny which, quite callously, announce their verdict— 'the minnows don't belong here'. While the verdict has some merit, (you don't want lopsided matches in the

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  • Time for Dhoni to shed ‘safety first’ mantra

    England tied the game against India while chasing a mammoth 338. Bangladesh also managed to score nearly 300 albeit in a lost cause. If these two performances are anything to go by, it's not unreasonable to assume that India's lack of depth and quality in the bowling department has shown up.


    With the tournament progressing there'll be sterner tests and better oppositions ahead, it's only wise to find ways to improve the weak link of the team. It isn't just about hitting the white round thing all over the park, but also putting the same white round thing in the right areas and more importantly, taking wickets.


    Five bowler theory


    India's strength lies in batting and the first two matches have shown ample evidence to validate this. We decimated the Bangladesh's spin attack which is more than a handful in their homeland. Sehwag and Kohli went berserk and tamed the Bangla tigers.


    The track for the next game against England in Bengaluru wasn't the ideal batting surface in the first

    Read More »from Time for Dhoni to shed ‘safety first’ mantra


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