AR Hemant

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Somewhat of a contrarian.

Blog Posts by AR Hemant

  • Tendulkar and the art of big game hunting

    If you look at Sachin Tendulkar's performance in Wednesday's semi-final in absolute terms, 85 runs off 115 balls with four dropped catches and two favourable reviews make it atypically ordinary by his standards.

     

    But when you factor in the opponent, the stage, the pressure, the wicket which behaved in an un-Mohali manner and how much batsmen after Tendulkar struggled, you realise the innings' worth.

     

    In a game like that, you'd take your runs whichever way they come. Tendulkar has now played three World Cup semi-finals, scoring 65 in 1996, 83 in 2003 and 85 on Wednesday.

     

    This is what the South Africans call BMT - big match temperament. Except 2007, Tendulkar has shown plenty of BMT by scoring heavily in all World Cups. Now all that's left is one final push in his home town.

     

    MS Dhoni praised both him and Suresh Raina for playing the two innings that made the difference in the final analysis.

     

    "He batted really well," Dhoni said of Tendulkar. "When's he's there, he makes batting

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  • Leading By Example

    Pat Symcox highlighted an excellent point today after the Pakistan-WI match. He said the previous World Cups have been won by captains who've led by example during the tournament.

    The thread connecting Clive Lloyd, Kapil Dev, Allan Border, Imran Khan, Arjuna Ranatunga, Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting is that they'd been among their teams' top performers.

    By that yardstick, who has been the best leader by example at this World Cup?

    Afridi and Sangakkara are the leading bowler and batsman respectively in the tournament. Dhoni, Vettori, Ponting and Smith have catching up to do.

    Who will be the last man standing?

  • What’s Your Cricketing Superstition?

    Steve Waugh with his red hanky.Steve Waugh with his red hanky.

    It’s that time of the World Cup when die-hard fans would go any distance to keep their teams from losing. Indians being a people with a thing for the irrational, expect them to do some crazy things when their team meets Australia in the quarterfinal.

    The most well-known superstition among cricket fans in India goes something like this: when the team is doing well, do not move an inch from your position. A slight movement risks tilting the planets off their favourable positions and bring bad luck to the team.

    I can tell you of my own experience.

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    In the Natwest final of 2002, India were down in the dumps, five-down chasing 326 when Yuvraj Singh unleashed three fours in a Ronnie Irani over. Sensing a build-up, I took my position on the drawing room carpet in front of our TV.

    While Yuvraj and Kaif got India closer, I stayed still, not moving a millimetre. My legs fell asleep, my back hurt and the tension made me uneasy. As three wickets fell, I began to doubt my method but decided to

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  • How Teams & Umpires Coped With The DRS

    Sri Lankan umpire Asoka de Silva was the most notable omission from the list of match officials for the quarterfinals. This isn't surprising.

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  • Yuvraj’s Paunch-tantra

     

    Chennai's legendary heat seems like a jacket soaked in warm water clinging to you. The newly built stands at the Chidambaram Stadium with the white canopies on top have been neatly cleaved, allowing a steady sea breeze into the ground. But despite the breeze and Saturday's relatively pleasant 32 degrees Celsius, the humidity can leave your throat parched if you as much as took a walk along the boundaries.

     
    This writer doesn't possess Olympian fitness, and his thoughts immediately turned to Yuvraj Singh who had joined the Indian team in a warm-up game of football in the middle.

     
    A few minutes into the game, Yuvraj had veered towards the sidelines. His hands were on his hips as he let the others pass the ball around. Even Munaf Patel and Ashish Nehra, Universally Recognised Slouches, seemed fresh as daisies as they enthusiastically partook in the game.

     
    Despite his runs and wickets in the World Cup, Yuvraj's sluggishness is becoming the stuff of cricketing legends. Remember Gary

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  • Why Nehra bowled the last over

    When was the last time MS Dhoni trusted a spinner to finish off a tight ODI or T20I? There's a simple, one-word answer to that: never.

     

    Ever since he became India's captain in the 2007 World T20, Dhoni has always turned to a seamer to do the job. Most times, he has got it right.

     

    From Joginder Sharma's over in the T20 final against Pakistan, to Irfan Pathan's cup-winning bowling in Brisbane, to all the times when Praveen Kumar and Ashish Nehra have been called to do the job, there are enough instances to show why Dhoni trusts his seamers.

     

    The last two instances, however, have backfired.

     

    Munaf Patel conceded a six to Ajmal Shahzad in the Bangalore ODI which ended in a tie. Similarly, Nehra conceded the six to Robin Peterson, showing their inability to produce yorkers when it matters.

     

    The following lists show instances in ODIs and T20Is when India have gone into the final over with the mathematical possibility of all three results.

     

    You could exclude the Ravindra Jadeja instance

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  • Why Cricket Will Never Have Fool-proof Technology

    In 2009, Rafael Nadal was at his wits' end in a match against Mikhail Youzhny. The Spaniard had seen a shot from the Russian go out. Hawk-eye was used and the replay showed the ball touching the line, ruling the point in Youzhny's favour.

     

    Nadal reacted in disgust. "The mark of the ball was still on court and it was outside. But in the challenge it was in, so that's unbelievable," he said. "The Hawk Eye system is not perfect. I told the chair umpire: 'Look, the ball is out' and he said: 'I know'."

     

    Two years later, cricket players and fans are still arguing over the usefulness of technology, UDRS (in one of those humorous asides, the 'U' has been dropped by the ICC in order not to hurt the ego of the umpires) and the enforcement of laws. The fire has been further fanned by the different application of LBW laws in three similar cases where Ian Bell was ruled not out, and Elton Chigumbura and Alex Cusack out.

     

    An aside: Nadal and Federer have gotten away with calling the ATP and its

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  • Bangalore Diary

    The World Cup has made cricket fans do some strange things, but this is something else.

    Strolling down the road from the Chinnaswamy Stadium towards Hard Rock Café, you can spot an oddity — a large scoreboard that is not inside a cricket stadium but at a junction on the city's busiest street.

    Read More »from Bangalore Diary
  • Eye on weather, India play England

    As Bangalore gets ready for Sunday's India-England match, there are doubts if the rain clouds will stay away. Saturday remained overcast for the best part; several parts of the city saw drizzles and there's a thunderstorm forecast for tonight. Friday had seen heavy rains but the playing area at the Chinnaswamy Stadium had recovered sufficiently from it today.

     

    A sunny Sunday has been forecast, but there's only one thing to be said about Bangalore's weather with certainty: it is fickle. After the transfer of this game from Kolkata and the uproar over availability of tickets, a weather disruption would upset the fans severely. From a cricket point of view, India captain MS Dhoni said it's not a situation he can prepare for.

     

    "There were times (during the recent tour) in South Africa where there was an 80 percent chance of rain, and it didn't rain at all," Dhoni said today. "But it did on days when there was a 20 percent chance predicted."

     

    "We will see the forecast for tomorrow and

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  • ‘Cricket is a sport which is detrimental for the Nation’

    What began with a tirade against cricket on an extreme-right Hindu website has now become a laugh-fest of epic proportions.

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