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

  • Associate nations have got a raw deal

    The worst fears of the associate nations has been realised with the International Cricket Council confirming that the 2015 and 2019 World Cups will have only 10 teams. While the 2015 World Cup will be contested only by the 10 full member countries, there will be a qualification process in place for the 2019 edition.

    With this decision, the ICC has effectively made a point saying the 50-over World Cup is the domain of full members by right – which, in my opinion, has got to be one of the most controversial decisions ever made by cricket’s governing body.

    A country like Ireland, for example, despite being an associate nation upset England in a high-scoring thriller and also gave West Indies and Bangladesh a scare before going down in the 2011 World Cup. Ireland also held their own against eventual champions India and South Africa in the group stage. The Netherlands team also gave a decent account of themselves; and though Kenya and Canada disappointed for the most part, they did give

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  • Tendulkar fulfills his World Cup destiny

    There are certain incidents that make even the greats break down, and Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar experienced one such moment and shed tears of joy at the Wankhede Stadium on April 2, 2011, when India defeated Sri Lanka in the 2011 World Cup final to be crowned world champions.

    This was a long-awaited moment for Tendulkar, who was playing in his sixth and probably his last World Cup, and for all the records and benchmarks he has set during his illustrious international career, which is now into its 22nd year, the disappointment of not being part of a World Cup winning squad had always rankled the batting maestro. The last time India reached the final of a World Cup – in the 2003 edition against Australia – Tendulkar failed in a massive chase as India was thumped by 125 runs. What happened to India in 2007 is a painful chapter that has been recounted many times over and Tendulkar felt the disappointment of the premature exit as much or more as the next player.

    But, since then, the

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  • An ode to the two masters

    It is only fitting that two stalwarts of the game will cross paths for one last time in the final of the 2011 World Cup at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium. While this will be Muttiah Muralitharan's last international match; it is more than likely that though Sachin Tendulkar will continue playing international cricket, the final on April 2, 2011, would be his swansong in World Cups.

    Tendulkar and Muralitharan have had contrasting careers. Tendulkar's career has mainly been controversy-free, but the same can't be said of Muralitharan, whose bowling action was under the scanner for quite a while before it was finally and rightly deemed to be legal. It is a testament to his talent and spirit though that Muralitharan didn’t let these controversies affect his performances on the field; in fact, he came back stronger more often than not each time after his skill was questioned. Tendulkar has had to deal with the expectations of more than a billion people for most of his 21-year international

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  • South Africa need to overcome knockout stage jinx

    So, the World Cup jinx came back to haunt South Africa on March 25, 2011, in Dhaka against New Zealand. The Proteas were in sublime form in the group stage and only lost to England in a low-scoring thriller, as they justified their tag of being pre-tournament favourites.

     

    South Africa came into the quarter-finals on the back of a thumping 206-run win over co-hosts Bangladesh; and though they had a few days off after that leading up to the knockout stages, it wasn't expected to affect the Proteas' run to the final. The bowlers and fielders did an outstanding job to restrict New Zealand to 221; and though Hashim Amla was out to a freakish dismissal and skipper Graeme Smith played a shot he is bound to regret now, Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers seemed to get South Africa on course for a win but a terrific catch by the tall Jacob Oram on the boundary got rid of the ever-dependable Kallis, and this would have set panic bells ringing in the South African camp. The quick dismissals of JP

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  • The ethical dilemma – To walk or not

    It's the 2003 World Cup semi-final and Australia's opening pair of Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden have got their team off to a good start against Sri Lanka with the wicket keeper-batsman hitting a six and a couple of boundaries in the first five overs of the match. Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya brings on Aravinda de Silva to try and slow the pace down and what happened in the second ball of the sixth over in that match is now part of cricketing folklore.

    Gilchrist, who was then on 22 and looking good to play an innings of significance, bottom edged the second ball off that de Silva over and it was safely pouched by Sri Lankan wicket-keeper Kumar Sangakkara. And, though umpire Rudi Koertzen ruled him not out, Gilchrist turned around and walked back to the pavilion even though it was an important game and he was aware that his teammates wouldn't understand his actions. Australia went on to win that match and the 2003 World Cup, but Gilchrist's act of backing himself and walking

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  • South Africa set for knockout phase

    South Africa have gone about their business in the first five group matches for the most part in a professional manner, and have also gained in confidence and the much-talked about momentum, as they look to end their numerous heartbreaks in World Cups.

    In the 2011 World Cup, South Africa imploded dramatically against England to lose a low-scoring thriller by six runs, and as expected the 'chokers' tag was quickly thrust again on Graeme Smith's team. Smith was understandably miffed by this tag being put on South Africa and was at his sarcastic best in the press conference following the loss to England. To the Proteas' credit, they bounced back tremendously with victories over India and Ireland in their next two matches.

    The 131-run win against Ireland thanks to a stellar knock of 99 by JP Duminy saw South Africa become the first team from Group B to qualify for the quarter-finals of the ongoing World Cup. South Africa had earlier thumped West Indies and Netherlands in their first two

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  • Making a case for associate members

     

    The ICC's decision to restrict the number of teams in the 2015 World Cup has evoked mixed responses, with opinion divided among players of the full member teams. Not
    surprisingly, the associate members aren’t too thrilled about the idea of being kept out of cricket's showpiece event.

    In a bid to placate the associate members, the ICC has decided to increase the number of participating teams to 16 in the Twenty20 World Cups, as the game's governing body feels these countries will have a greater chance of competing on an equal footing in cricket's shortest format.

    To be fair to the ICC, criticism of the move to restrict the number of teams in the next edition of the Cup is a case of damned if you do, damned if you don't. It is convenient
    just now to forget that in the last edition of the tournament, considerable criticism was heaped on the governing body for the inordinate length of the tournament, thanks in
    large part to the presence of the associates. A cricket writer with a sense

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  • Match No 19 : Bangladesh vs West Indies

    Bangladesh was all out for 58 in this game providing the 207th occasion of a team dismissed all out in the world cup. This total represents the fourth occasion of a team
    dismissed all out for a tatal less than 60 runs in the tournament and thus becomes the third lowest scoer in the world cup. The other three occasions are – 36 by Canada vs Sri Lanka at Paarl on 19.02.03 : 45 by Namibia vs Australia at Potchefstroom o 27.02.03 and 45 by Canada vs England at Manchester on 13.06.79.

    Bangladesh's 58 represent the lowest total in a completed innings by a test playing nation in the world cup.

    Bangladesh's 58 in this game represent its lowest score in the world cup and also in one day games.

    Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shafiul Islam and Rubel Hossain scored zeroes in this game providing the 13th occasion of four or more batsmen scoring ducks in the world cup.

    Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shafiul Islam and Rubel Hossain scored zeroes in this game providing the second occasion of four or

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  • The chinks in India’s World Cup squad

     

    India enjoyed success in all formats of the game last year, and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his team will head into the 2011 World Cup confident they can emulate Kapil Dev's 1983 Cup winning squad. In 2010, 'The Men in Blue' won 17 of the 27 One-Day Internationals they played; the victories included series triumphs over South Africa, Australia and New Zealand at home.

     

    Even though they lost the recent One-day series in South Africa, Dhoni's team has proven they have the ability to bounce back from impossible situations. India deservedly is one of top contenders to win the 10th edition of the ICC World Cup, and on paper, Dhoni has a fantastic bunch of players to choose from for the playing XI.

     

    But, on closer examination, there are a few chinks in India's World Cup squad that could prove to be stumbling blocks in India's quest to win the trophy for the first time in 28 years. On top of that list is the fact that the Indian World Cup squad hasn't played as a unit over the last

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  • Ireland targets quarter-finals in World Cup: Porterfield

    Though Ireland hasn't played too many matches against the major cricket-playing nations since the 2007 ICC World Cup, their captain William Porterfield says his squad is improving with every game. Porterfield believes Ireland has a well-balanced squad and his players are in good shape going into the World Cup. The Irish captain feels India and Sri Lanka are favourites to win the 2011 World Cup. Excerpts from an interview with Yahoo! Cricket:



    Ireland has been placed in a tough group for the 2011 World Cup alongside the likes of India, South Africa and England. Is Ireland confident of progressing to the knockout stages?


    Yeah we are confident of atleast progressing to the quarter-finals. It will then be a question of kicking on from there. The World Cup in the subcontinent will be a different experience altogether. If we can prepare well beforehand, we can definitely do well.


    Does the fact that Ireland defied expectations in the 2007 World Cup and reached the Super Eight stage of the 2009

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