Akshay Iyer

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Akshay loves everything to do with cricket and has been a supporter of the South African team since 1991

Blog Posts by Akshay Iyer

  • The tale of two debutants

    Rohit Sharma and Shami Ahmed have given India a glimpse of the future.

    Mohammed Shami left a lasting impression on West Indies batsmen. (BCCI Photo)


    Rohit Sharma walked away with the Man of the Match award as India thumped West Indies by an innings inside three days at Eden Gardens, but his fellow debutant Shami Ahmed, was equally impressive and has made more than a case to be persevered with. While Rohit made a century when India had their backs to the wall in the first innings, Shami proved to be near unplayable for the Windies batsmen, all of whom found his reverse swing too hot to handle.

    Rohit had to wait a long time for his Test debut - 108 one-day internationals and six years - but, he came into the first Test against West Indies on the back of his sensational 209 against Australia; and it was that form and confidence that helped him ride the bumpy waves that he encountered when he came to the middle as India were tottering at 82 for 4, which soon became 83 for 5 in reply to West Indies' first innings total of 234.

    At this stage, it appeared that West Indies could put a spanner into Sachin Tendulkar's farewell series with a Read More »from The tale of two debutants
  • Cricket suffers in BCCI's ego battles

    Fans seek great cricket. Instead, we get pettiness, high-handedness and greed.

    Busy with petty battles, the BCCI is yet to resolve the spot-fixing case.

    The overlord of the cricket world has struck again, and this time the message is loud and clear - tow our line or we shall pull the financial rug from under your foot and include an unscheduled home series to really hurt you.

    Cricket South Africa is paying the price now for defying the BCCI's diktat and appointing Haroon Lorgat as its chief executive officer by hurting them where it hurts the most. The BCCI in one swift move at its working committee meeting on September 1, re-worked the Future Tours Programme (FTP), and announced that it would host a previously unscheduled home series against West Indies and bring forward the dates for starting its away tour to New Zealand in January.

    This unilateral move means that India's tour of South Africa, which was supposed to be from November-January and had been marked down in the FTP for quite a few years, and was supposed to have 12 matches is now all set to be drastically trimmed and have an adverse effect on CSA's bottom line and schedule.

    Read More »from Cricket suffers in BCCI's ego battles
  • A missed opportunity for India

    India may have whitewashed Zimbabwe, but the purpose of the tour wasn't fully served.

    Parvez Rasool didn't play a single match in Zimbabwe.


    "Did you really have to take him all the way to Zimbabwe to demoralise him? Wouldn't it have been cheaper to just do it at home?" - Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Twitter following Parvez Rasool missing out again in the fifth One-Day International against Zimbabwe at Bulawayo today.

    Abdullah has been criticised in some quarters for his tweet, but the J&K chief minister has a valid point.

    India whitewashed Zimbabwe as expected to complete a historic away ODI series clean sweep, and while the record books will show that the world champions outclassed the minnows; the fact of the matter is that the purpose of the tour wasn't fully served. This simply because India's bench strength wasn't adequately tested despite numerous opportunities in the series against a team that didn't put up any resistance through the series.

    While it is understandable that India wanted to avoid the embarrassment of losing the series to Zimbabwe, but once Virat Kohli's team had taken a 2-0 lead, Read More »from A missed opportunity for India
  • Time to look inside, BCCI

    The BCCI's officials should remember that "people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones".

    BCCI interim chief Jagmohan Dalmiya (C), BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel (L) and BCCI Chief Administrative Officer Ratnakar Shetty.


    The BCCI has for long been under fire for using its financial muscle to give diktats to the International Cricket Council (ICC) and to tweak decisions according to its own whims and fancies. The BCCI has also not been shy to tell the ICC how it should conduct its affairs and toe the Indian Board's line or else; this despite the fact that its own house hasn't been in order for an eon.

    The BCCI recently took its 'power madness' and interference further and told Cricket South Africa (CSA) that former ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat shouldn't be made its chief executive, because of differences the Indian board has had with him in the past. CSA, however, rebuffed BCCI and appointed Lorgat after its selection process.

    There was speculation that the BCCI may call off India's marquee tour to South Africa later this year following Lorgat's appointment, but BCCI interim president Jagmohan Dalmiya has allayed those fears for the moment. Dalmiya has said the BCCI is awaiting a reply from CSA regarding the Read More »from Time to look inside, BCCI
  • Mr Dalmiya, remember this?

    BCCI interim president Jagmohan Dalmiya had assured that the issue of Dhoni owning a stake in Rhiti Sports would not be covered up.

    Dhoni was said to have owned a stake in Rhiti Sports. (AFP)


    Looks like the BCCI is hoping that the short-term memory of Indian cricket fans will help it to conveniently avoid yet another sticky issue.

    When Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his squad left Indian shores for the Champions Trophy after the conclusion of the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League, they did so under the dark shadow of the spot-fixing and betting scandal that rocked the Twenty20 league. At the time, Dhoni was also panned for his stoic silence and refusal to comment on the scandal.

    But, to give credit where it is due, Dhoni and his team focussed on the task and were unbeaten in their successful Champions Trophy campaign and followed up that success by winning the recently concluded Tri-Nation Series in West Indies.

    In the midst of the Twenty20 league scandal came the report that Dhoni owned a 15 percent stake in Rhiti Sports Management Private Limited, the sports management company that also manages him, Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina and Pragyan Ojha. This put Dhoni squarely Read More »from Mr Dalmiya, remember this?
  • Hope for a bright future for India

    Dhoni's boys were peerless in the Champions Trophy — a rare achievement for a young team.

    Dhawan, Dhoni and Jadeja at a photocall in Birmingham on Monday.

    The conclusion to the 2013 Champions Trophy was far from ideal with the final being reduced to a 20-over shootout courtesy of the wet English summer, but there's no disputing that the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led India team were deserving winners of the last edition of the ICC tournament.

    The Indian team came into the Champions Trophy in the backdrop of the spot-fixing and betting scandal in IPL-6, with Dhoni also finding himself at the centre of a conflict of interest controversy. That pressure and intense scrutiny by itself was a huge challenge to overcome for the Blue Brigade; throw in the fact the tournament was being hosted on pitches and under conditions tough on Indian teams of the past, not many would have bet on Dhoni walking away with the trophy.

    Dhoni and his band of merry men, however, showed they meant business in the warm-up matches against Sri Lanka and Australia as they recorded convincing victories to send out a strong warning to other teams ahead of the tournament proper. Read More »from Hope for a bright future for India
  • Time to speak up, Mr Dhoni

    The India captain has skirted answering questions on the IPL scandal multiple times saying he'll reveal his views at the "right time". But, isn't that time now?



    Mahendra Singh Dhoni couldn't have chosen a worse time to follow the phrase 'Silence is Golden' to the letter. There's a scandal-tainted tsunami of large proportions that threatens to sweep away the foundations of Indian cricket, but the captain of the national cricket team instead of expressing his thoughts to disenchanted fans opts to follow the orders of the BCCI, or rather most likely that of Indian cricket board president N Srinivasan, not once but four times.

    Dhoni, who is also captain of Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League, one of the franchises in the centre of the controversy, skipped two media interactions before and after the final of the cash-rich Twenty20 league, and, steadfastly refused to answer questions on the spot-fixing and betting scandal at a press conference ahead of the Indian team's departure to England for the 2013 Champions Trophy. If anyone thought Dhoni would address the issue head on after reaching England, there was further cause for Read More »from Time to speak up, Mr Dhoni
  • Rahane deserves a break

    The 24-year-old is an ideal replacement for Gautam Gambhir at the top of the order for the series finale against England.



    India's humiliating seven-wicket defeat to England at the Eden Gardens not only saw the hosts trail 1-2 in the four-Test series, but also resulted in the axe being wielded by the selectors in the squad named for the fourth Test at Nagpur starting on December 13.

    The wheels have come off horribly for the MS Dhoni-led team after their nine-wicket at Ahmedabad as Alastair Cook's England put on a classic exhibition of the manner in which Test cricket should be played at Mumbai and Kolkata. Cook has led by example and the rest of the team have done the job expected of them with either bat or ball. The same, unfortunately, can't be said of India, as Dhoni continues his struggle to inspire in the longest format and only a few players in the playing XI pulling their weight.

    Heads had to roll after the defeat at Kolkata where India was outplayed in every department and the trio of Zaheer Khan, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh have rightly been dropped for the fourth and final Test match at Read More »from Rahane deserves a break
  • Looking for the 'lost' Tendulkar

    He has to sort out the devils in his head and enjoy his cricket.



    Twenty three years of international cricket, closing in on the 34,000-international runs landmark and 100 international centuries are staggering numbers and an apt reflection of Sachin Tendukar's longevity. But, it's also a fact Tendulkar has been a pale shadow of himself over the last couple of seasons both at home and away.

    So far in 2012 (at the conclusion of the second Test match against England), Tendulkar has scored 274 Test runs in 12 innings with a highest score of 80 at a paltry average of 22.83. Tendulkar's highest score in his last 10 Test innings is 27 - these numbers just aren't enough for a No. 4 batsman, let alone for arguably one of the three greatest batsmen of all time. It's obvious Tendulkar's eye-hand co-ordination isn't what it used and that coupled with his unsure footwork has seen the 'Little Master' getting clean bowled with alarming regularity in his last few innings.

    In the second Test against England at Mumbai, which India lost comprehensively, Tendulkar was

    Read More »from Looking for the 'lost' Tendulkar
  • Laxman's unfulfilled ODI career

    Laxman's ODI record doesn't scream out for attention, and this is one of the reasons he didn't get as long a run as he would have liked in coloured clothing.

    In this file picture dated February 3, 2004, VVS Laxman bats during the VB Series match against Zimbabwe. (Getty Images)

    VVS Laxman will undoubtedly be remembered as one of India's greatest Test batsmen and a cricketer who excelled in pressure situations; but for all his success in the longest format, the stylish Hyderabadi had a rather frustrating career in coloured clothing.

    For a batsman of Laxman's calibre and talent, a limited-overs career of 86 matches in eight-and-a-half years (April 1998-December 2006), is by all accounts, a disappointing and unfulfilled one. In those matches, Laxman scored 2338 runs, including six centuries and 10 half-centuries at an average of 30.76 and a strike rate of 71.23. In one-day internationals, Laxman batted mainly at the No.3 position - all his centuries and nine of his half-centuries were scored at one-drop. Laxman made 1966 runs at an average of 35.74 and strike rate of 74.52 in the 59 innings that he batted at the No. 3 position.

    These are decent numbers but like the man himself, Laxman's ODI record doesn't scream out for attention, and this is one of the reasons Read More »from Laxman's unfulfilled ODI career

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