AR Hemant

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Somewhat of a contrarion.

Blog Posts by AR Hemant

  • Zimbabwe will cause some World Cup upsets: Chigumbura

    From being also-rans, Zimbabwe slowly became the team everyone took seriously, before political turmoil brought them back to square one. But normalcy seems to be returning to their set-up. They’ve beaten West Indies, India and Sri Lanka this year.

    Recently appointed captain of the team, Elton Chigumbura believes they’re heading in the right direction --- especially with the franchise system at the domestic level, which has attracted foreign players and coaches.

    Yahoo! Cricket caught up with Chigumbura to find out how are they placed with the World Cup coming up. Excerpts:
    On how Zimbabwe are preparing for the World Cup

    We are here in Bangladesh right now. The guys are working hard, especially on how to play the slow bowlers. So after this tour when we go home, we’ll know what we need to work on, on the bowling and batting side, so that we come back to the sub-continent for the World Cup, we will be a step ahead. It’s good to play Bangladesh. We’ve not had a good start in this series;

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  • We can win the World Cup: Kyle Mills

    New Zealand seamer Kyle Mills says his team's current slump in ODIs means they can only improve from here. He reckons they have the side to win the World Cup and that India, Sri Lanka and Australia are the other teams that he thinks will make the semi-finals.

    Mills spoke to Yahoo! Cricket about his memories of the 1992 World Cup, his last-minute exclusion from the 2007 World Cup, and what he hopes to do in 2011.

     

    New Zealand have had a form slump.
    What can we expect from them at the World Cup?

     

    Once we get to India and get into the hype of the
    tournament, no stones will be left unturned and I can guarantee that every
    member of this squad and the management group will be doing every thing they
    possibly can for the duration of the whole tournament. Everyone’s going to give
    a hundred per cent, training hard for it. So there would be nothing left in the
    tank at the end of the World Cup.

     

    You
    had missed the 2007 World Cup due to injury. What are your thoughts heading
    into the 2011

    Read More »from We can win the World Cup: Kyle Mills
  • Afghanistan ready for Test cricket: Captain Nabi

    Afghanistan are the babies of international cricket, but have made rapid strides in ICC’s qualifier tournaments. At the Asian Games, they upset Pakistan and narrowly lost to Bangladesh in the gold medal match.

    Recently appointed T20 and ODI captain, Mohammad Nabi thinks they are ready for Test cricket. Excerpts from a revealing interview with Yahoo Cricket:

     

    You came mighty close to winning the
    Asian Games gold. What were your thoughts heading into the final overs against Bangladesh?

     

    We had trained well for the Asiad. We went
    there a week in advance and got used to the conditions there. Against Bangladesh
    if I had one more fast bowler we could have beaten them. In the last three
    overs I gambled by bowling Karim Sadiq. He had given away just 10 runs in two
    overs. I discussed with Nowroz and decided to let Karim bowl, because we had
    finished the quota of other quickies. Aftab Alam bowled an over too then and
    gave away just six-seven runs.

     

    It was all down to Karim but he gave away

    Read More »from Afghanistan ready for Test cricket: Captain Nabi
  • ‘Kumble is genuine, honest and hard-working’

    He has retired from Tests but 38-year-old Muttiah Muralidaran isn't taking it easy. The Sri Lanka spinner is in Papua New Guinea promoting the game and creating AIDS awareness as part of the ICC's promotional activities. He took ten minutes out from his busy schedule to speak with AR Hemant on phone.


    Q: The ICC Cricket World Cup is returning to the sub-continent. How according to you has ODI cricket changed in the last 14 years?


    Not much has changed in terms of strategy. You still have to plan according to the situation.


    Q: The 1996 Sri Lankan team was a perfect one with players for nearly every role. How does it compare to the current side?


    We will be playing in home conditions and we will give everyone a good fight. One can't compare eras and teams. The 1996 team was a great one, but this side is looking good too.


    Q: This being an ICC Cricket World Cup in the sub-continent, spinners will have a huge role to play. How should they strategise?


    Each team has its strengths and weaknesses

    Read More »from ‘Kumble is genuine, honest and hard-working’
  • Will Kohli get a fair deal?

    India's most successful ODI batsman in 2010 is not Sehwag, Dhoni, Raina or even Tendulkar. It is Virat Kohli who has matured beyond his years, transforming from rookie to middle-order pivot in a short span. 

     

    Scoring hundreds is what separates boys from men. Kohli, in his short ODI career, has already made four - all in the last eleven months. He's not just the most improved batsman in India's ODI line-up; he is also the most improved cricketer in their set-up. Going beyond his obvious gifts with the bat, Kohli has shed the wild-child image, developing the mental apparatus necessary to absorb the pulls and pushes of the highest level. 

     

    After the hundred in Guwahati, Kohli has 866 runs at 48.11 this year - 235 more than Suresh Raina, who is India's next best in the same period. Kohli's peers from the India Juniors days have been tried and tested - Rohit Sharma is a good example - but none have succeeded as much as the pint-sized Delhi right-hander. He's taken runs off an array of

    Read More »from Will Kohli get a fair deal?
  • World Cup 2011: Is India Ready?

    The World Cup is 86 days away. India, however, has just 10 days of cricket left to get its house in order. Worryingly, the build-up is less than ideal. More worryingly, the team composition is clear as mud at this moment, and questions proliferate: do you persevere with out of form seniors, or try in-form rookies?

     

    India plays five ODIs against New Zealand at home this month, and five more against South Africa in January. The team also has two practice games against Australia and New Zealand, before it begins the World Cup campaign against Bangladesh on February 19.

     

    For now, set aside the merits of playing five ODIs on the fast, bouncy pitches of South Africa just before starting a Cup campaign on sub-continental wickets – while the ODIs against the Proteas may not be ideal preparation for the Cup, winning the series in SA against a side that has traditionally dominated India at home (SA beat India 4-0, the last time we toured) will provide a big boost. 

     

    Irrespective of how the

    Read More »from World Cup 2011: Is India Ready?
  • Needed: An Indian Version of Test Match Sofa

    There’s a growing community of Indian cricket fans that has become weary of its TV commentators. Game after game, we hear the same set of cricketing greats offer chewed-up clichés and banalities on air — so much so that you can predict what they will say next. Their opinions veer towards the safe and the obvious. Controversial topics are to be avoided, sponsors are to be appeased. We had argued earlier this is a lot like paid news: and that is tragic.

    Luckily, another set of cricket fans have volunteered to remedy this. Their collective efforts go by the name of Test Match Sofa . The growing popularity of their live podcast out of London indicates you don’t need to have played a hundred Tests to be able to describe a game. Daniel Norcross, the site’s founder, sums up his case well when he says you don’t need a Bentley to know your way around town. As Harsha Bhogle once asked those who question his place in the commentary box, how many trucks has Ratan Tata driven?

    Test Match Sofa (TMS)

    Read More »from Needed: An Indian Version of Test Match Sofa
  • Why BCCI, Tendulkar are wrong about UDRS

    MS Dhoni's recent comments about the Umpiring Decision Review System caught the eye. In Ahmedabad, two decisions from Steve Davis involving VVS Laxman and Zaheer Khan gave India heart-burn. Also, we'll discuss Kumar Dharmasena's decision today to bring back Martin Guptill with the third umpire's help. I'll come back to that in a bit.

    First, when pressed about using UDRS to avoid Ahmedabad-like situations, the India captain said:

    "You have two umpires who are supposed to take good decisions on the field. If you see Laxman's decision, I don't know what to say exactly about it."

    And continuing about the reliability of UDRS, he says:

    "I am not going to buy a life jacket that doesn't come with a warranty."

    Now, here's the problem with Dhoni's stance. When you say "if you see Laxman's decision", you're going to use TV replays to prove your point — the same TV replays which you say are unreliable for UDRS.

    So, sorry Mahi, you can't have it both ways.

    Then, the bit about warranty and

    Read More »from Why BCCI, Tendulkar are wrong about UDRS
  • See no evil

    Each time a Pakistani cricketer announces his retirement, or gets banned by the PCB, I'm reminded of Yahoo columnist Anand Ramchandran's brilliant spoof on Mohammad Asif.

    Despite multiple doping offences, including being caught with a sachet of opium at the Dubai airport, the Pakistani seamer avoided severe sanctions by slipping through legal loopholes — till the spot-fixing scandal caught up with him.

    Anand's hilarious take was about Asif getting a "three-month life ban". But when you step back and scan all that has happened in Pakistan cricket recently, you might think Anand was writing on an actual event.

    So when the 24-year-old Pakistani wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider says he has retired from the game, it's hard not to react with disbelief.

    Sure, he'll be back. Sure, this is just the beginning of his story. And in the end, he'll make his comeback. Surely.

    ~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+

    However, reactions to Haider's decisions have been baffling. Sample Pakistan Sports Minister Ijaz

    Read More »from See no evil
  • The Dravid Conundrum

    An earlier blog post asking for Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara’s inclusion in the Test side has caught fire. The reader verdict is split: most of them want Gambhir or Dravid — or both — to stay in the side. Others have supported my view that they need to make way for younger, in-form players — at least for the New Zealand series.

    Here I’d like to clarify that the post was never a call for Dravid’s Test retirement — that is around the corner anyway. He’ll be 38 in January. And despite his illustrious record, I don’t see him making the sort of ascent Tendulkar has made late in his career.

    Here’s why.

    Dravid’s time is running out, especially with his indifferent form. Among the members of the 8000-run club, Sunil Gavaskar, Gary Sobers, Brian Lara and Mark Waugh were done by 37. Allan Border and Steve Waugh hung on till 38 and Viv Richards 39. Only three Englishmen — Geoff Boycott, Graham Gooch and Alec Stewart — managed to play into their 40s.

    Speaking of Gooch, in the week he turned

    Read More »from The Dravid Conundrum

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