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

  • Get ready for the 'Gayle storm'

    There will be increased pressure on Chris Gayle when he makes his international comeback against England.

    Cricket is a team game, but like any other sport, it also needs superstars and the talented players to add to its aura. So, when one such undoubted superstar - West Indies' Chris Gayle - is forced to sit out of international cricket for almost 15 months because of a protracted stand-off with his country's board; the sport and its stakeholders are also affected.

    Gayle missed 16 Test matches, 23 one-day internationals and seven Twenty20 Internationals, because of his 15-month feud with coach Ottis Gibson and the West Indies Cricket Board. His last international match was the 2011 World Cup quarter-final against Pakistan at Dhaka on 23 March 2011.

    In those 15 months, Gayle's absence at the top of the order and a handy off-spinner were obviously missed by West Indies, and though the Darren Sammy led-team impressed in this time with their lion-hearted performances, one felt the 'X' factor was missing.

    That 'X' factor was Gayle, and now fortunately, better sense has prevailed amongst all

    Read More »from Get ready for the 'Gayle storm'
  • Ramdin will have to live with the scrutiny

    The Windies 'keeper-batsman will now have to be far more consistent than he has ever been on the international stage.

    There have been some glorious scenes of celebration on the sporting field, but there have also been some idiotic and insolent ones; and Denesh Ramdin's antics after scoring a Test century against England at Edgbaston on 10 June 2012 fall squarely into the latter category.

    After he got to the landmark, the West Indies wicket keeper-batsman pulled out a note from his pocket with the words: 'YEA VIV, TALK NAH', etched in capital letters. This was his way of taunting former West Indies captain and cricket legend Sir Viv Richards for saying that Ramdin had "deteriorated in such a big way" and looked a "totally lost guy" after he had made just one and six during the Darren Sammy-led team's nine-wicket defeat to England in the second Test at Trent Bridge.

    Coming into the Edgbaston Test, Ramdin had scored only 56 runs in the series, and as such Richards' comments were right on the money and were supposed to be taken in the right spirit by the 27-year-old 'keeper batsman. To put things into Read More »from Ramdin will have to live with the scrutiny
  • Lessons learnt, Knight Riders are deserving champions

    Knight Riders were a tightly knit unit and played for each other under Gambhir's inspirational leadership.

    Kolkata Knight Riders are deserving champions of the fifth season of the Indian Premier League, but for the first three editions of the Twenty20 tournament, the franchise was the favourite whipping boy for the rest and also provided enough off-field entertainment, not always for cricket reasons. The foundation for KKR's run to the trophy in IPL-5 was really set up in the auction last year.

    The KKR management decided then it was time for a fresh start and as a result they re-built the team from scratch with Gautam Gambhir being their most prized acquisition. They then built the team around Gambhir with successful bids for Yusuf Pathan, Jacques Kallis, Manoj Tiwary, Shakib al Hasan and Brett Lee among others as a competitive unit was put in place. To give credit where it is due, the team management took a massive risk as they didn't bid for former India captain Sourav Ganguly, who is an iconic figure in West Bengal. This did miff more than a few of their fans, but the revamped Knight Read More »from Lessons learnt, Knight Riders are deserving champions
  • BCCI shows its vindictive side ... again!

    The decision to deny Kapil and Kirti Azad the one-time payment is the BCCI acting in a childish and petulant fashion.

    The BCCI is using Kapil's association with the ICL as an excuse to deny him his one-time benefit payment.

    Trust the BCCI to bring down the axe on its own feet, even when for once, it took a decision that earned it nothing but plaudits. The decision in question being the one-time benefit payment to former national and domestic players who retired before the 2003-04 season. But, the BCCI is now under fire, and quite rightly so for ruling out former India captain Kapil Dev and Kirti Azad from the scheme.

    The reason - Kapil, who was the chairman of the now-defunct Indian Cricket League, has not accepted the BCCI's amnesty offer; and Kirti Azad has angered the powers that be at the BCCI by daring to voice his opposition against the cash-rich Indian Premier League, whose fifth edition has been mired in controversies.

    Kapil may have led India to ultimate glory in the 1983 World Cup, and Kirti Azad played his part in that campaign as well; but obviously, their achievements for the Indian cricket team take a backseat as they have each dared to question and challenge the BCCI. If for anyone who Read More »from BCCI shows its vindictive side ... again!
  • Dark side of the IPL

    The alleged spot-fixing scandal is a golden opportunity for the IPL to try and clean up its act.

    Sting operations and cricket now appear to be almost synonmyuous, and at the end of such stings, more often than not journalists succeed in getting cricketers to spill the beans on their underhanded dealings. The cash-rich and glitzy Indian Premier League (IPL) now has fallen prey to an alleged spot-fixing scandal, and the rose-tinted glasses surrounding the league have now been firmly removed as the darkest and most talked secret of the league has come tumbling out of the closet.

    The worst fears of former players as well as administrators of the game since the inception of the IPL in 2008, now appear not to have been unfounded following the suspension of five uncapped Indian cricketers from the league for alleged indiscretions, including spot-fixing.

    The cricketers - Abhinav Bali, TP Sudhindra (Deccan Chargers), Mohnish Mishra (Pune Warriors), Amit Yadav (Kings XI Punjab) and Shalabh Srivastava (Kings XI Punjab) - were exposed following a sting operation by India TV.

    The game of

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  • Knight Riders spoil Ganguly's home coming at Eden

    Gambhir's 36-ball 56 laid the foundation for Knight Riders' score of 150 for 5 and this proved to be seven runs too many for Pune Warriors.

    Marchant de Lange took two early wickets in Pune Warriors' run chase.

    Scorecard| Match galleryMini Pune descends at Eden | Ganguly comes home

    The Gautam Gambhir-led Kolkata Knight Riders continued on their winning ways as they notched up their fifth consecutive win in IPL-5 today evening at the Eden Gardens as they defeated Sourav Ganguly's Pune Warriors India by seven runs in a topsy-turvy match. Gambhir led from the front with both ball and in the field in the most anticipated match of IPL-5 even as the Kolkata crowd cheered for Ganguly, but most of them were rooting for the home team.

    Ganguly was the icon player of Knight Riders for the first three seasons, but had a turbulent time with the Shah Rukh Khan-owned franchise; and those problems have been well-documented. In a decision then that didn't go down well with Kolkatans at all, the Knight Riders team management decided against buying Ganguly at the 2011 auction; for that matter neither did any of the either IPL franchises. Ganguly got his IPL lifeline when he was signed up by Pune Warriors in

    Read More »from Knight Riders spoil Ganguly's home coming at Eden
  • West Indies - Defeated, but not disgraced

    Darren Sammy's team gave Australia a tough fight in the recent three-match Test series.

    Kemar Roach took 19 Australian wickets in the three-match Test series.

    The wins may not come as often as the players, administrators or fans would like; but the fact that the current West Indies team led by Darren Sammy and coached by Ottis Gibson have been giving a good account of themselves over the last year is cause to be optimistic about the future of cricket in the Caribbean. Sammy's team may have lost the recent Test series 0-2 to Australia, but the scoreline doesn't quite do justice to the fighting spirit shown by the hosts against tough opposition.

    There were indications early on in the Caribbean - the drawn one-day and Twenty20 International series - being the prime examples that Australia wouldn't have it easy against West Indies on the slow and low pitches. And, that's just the way things eventually played out as Australia had to rely on their experience and overall superiority to win the defining moments that eventually helped them come out trumps in the three-match Test series.

    West Indies did have their moments in the Test series, but it wasRead More »from West Indies - Defeated, but not disgraced
  • Clarke's blueprint for captains

    Clarke has admitted his ploy of making brave declarations could backfire, but he is still willing to adopt the aggressive route.

    Michael Clarke had been earmarked for captaincy almost from the time that he made his debut for Australia; and when he occasionally took over from Ricky Ponting when he was his vice-captain, his acumen for the job was for all to see.

    He is the perfect man for the job at a time when Australia is striving to reclaim its top ranking in Tests. Clarke has come into his own after taking over the captaincy full-time from Ponting a year back. He is also not averse to taking and backing the tough decisions as the Australian captain along with the coach is now part of the selection panel following the Don Argus review.

    Clarke's captaincy record in the last year is impressive to say the least - Australia have won nine, lost two and drawn three of the 14 Tests he has been in charge. The wins have included a 4-0 whitewash of India at home as well as an inspired victory against South Africa at Johannesburg days after Australia was bundled out for a mere 47 in Cape Town; while the losses have includedRead More »from Clarke's blueprint for captains
  • Winds of Change

    The scrapping of the Champions Trophy and expanding the T20 World Cup are two laudable decisions taken by the ICC.

    The Australian team celebrate with the ICC Champions Trophy after defeating New Zealand in the final played at Supersport Park on October 5, 2009 in Centurion, South Africa.

    The International Cricket Council (ICC) is often at the wrong end of allegations of not being proactive enough, but every once in a while, the game's governing body takes decisions worthy of their authority.

    Three such important decisions were taken by the ICC executive board last week in Dubai - increasing the number of teams to 16 in the Twenty20 World Cup from 2014; scrapping the Champions Trophy after its 2013 edition and agreeing to go for a constitutional amendment to spilt the role of the president by creating a new post of chairman who won't have any voting rights.

    Rahul Dravid, who is now a former India international cricketer, during the course of his much-lauded and appreciated speech at the Sir Don Bradman Oration in December 2011, touched upon a range of topics including the need to review the scheduling of international matches, especially one-day internationals (ODIs).

    Dravid said, "We now realise that the sport's three formats cannot be played in Read More »from Winds of Change
  • Is Pakistan really ready?

    It is imperative that Bangladesh's short tour of Pakistan passes off without any on or off the field problems.

    A view of the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore.

    After more than 37 months of Pakistani players and fans' waiting and hoping, international cricket is all set to be revived in that country in end-April with Bangladesh agreeing to a very short tour. International cricket was suspended in Pakistan after a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in March 2009.

    In a strange coincidence - Lahore - the city where the terror attack took place, will play host for the only one-day international on April 29, and a Twenty20 match the following day. As preparation for the historic and eagerly awaited series, the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore is undergoing renovation work even as a security wall is being constructed outside the main gate.

    This though will not be the first visit by an international team to Pakistan since March 2009, as earlier this month, the British Universities XI had played a couple of matches in Lahore. Kamal Alam, the touring team's captain was effusive in his praise for the security arrangements, and said: "One of the mainRead More »from Is Pakistan really ready?


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