AR Hemant

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Somewhat of a contrarian.

Blog Posts by AR Hemant

  • The short history of the last-ball sixer

    From Miandad to Marsh, here's a look at instances of cricket's most glorified finishing move.

  • Tendulkar promises to spill secrets in new book

    Would Tendulkar's autobiography be honest, no-holds-barred? Or would he continue to be pragmatic, safe, and utterly boring?

    Would Tendulkar's autobiography be honest, no-holds-barred? Or would he continue to be pragmatic, safe, and utterly boring?

  • Shastri and the illusion of change

    One more cricketing disaster brings forth another knee-jerk response from the BCCI. But here's how it could work.

    Three years back, India’s aging heroes were receiving the bashing of a lifetime at the Oval. As MS Dhoni’s bowling options wore thin, Ravi Shastri asked Sourav Ganguly a question on air: “Where is India’s next crop of pacers coming from?”

    Ganguly doddered through his answer. Perhaps, he should have let Shastri answer it himself, since the irony of the question had escaped him. In the three years leading to India’s wipe-outs in England and Australia, Shastri was the chairman of the National Cricket Academy, that cradle of talent now reduced to a glorified infirmary.

    In his time at the NCA, Shastri had done naught of note, even failing to attend important meetings. And hence we heard that uninformed utterance to Ganguly. But as consumers of his commentary would tell you, one doesn’t actually have to follow Indian cricket daily to be speaking about it.

    Here’s what a report from 2010 said on Shastri’s stint at the NCA:

    Records show Shastri has attended just two of the four NCA meetings

    Read More »from Shastri and the illusion of change
  • Watch AB de Villiers do a Tendulkar

    The South African's bizzare dismissal against Zimbabwe brought back memories of the 1996 World Cup semifinal.

    The South African's bizzare dismissal against Zimbabwe brought back memories of the 1996 World Cup semifinal.

  • Startling parallels between India's Lord's wins of 1986 and 2014

    Do you believe in co-incidences?

    The Indian cricket team photographed at Lord's, June 4 1986. Back row (left-right): Chetan Sharma, Kiran More, Maninder Singh, Raman Lamba, Manoj Prabhakar. Middle row: Krishnamachari Srikkanth, Roger Binny, Dilip Vengsarkar, VB Prabhudesai (assistant manager), Sandeep Patil, Mohammed Azharuddin, Shivial Yadav, Chandrakant Pandit. Front row: Mohinder Armanath, Kapil Dev (captain) Raj Singh Dungarpur (manager) Ravi Shastri (vice-captain) Sunil Gavaskar. India won the Test series against England 2-0. (Photo by Bob Thomas/Getty Images)

    Today, India beat England at Lord's. India had last won a Test match at Lord's way back in June 1986. We compared that five-wicket win over the 95-run one scored on Monday night. Some stunning parallels emerge.

    Here they are.

    The World Cup-winning captain is leading India at Lord’s. Kapil DevMS Dhoni
    A speedster named Sharma takes a fiver.Chetan SharmaIshant Sharma
    A Binny is in the Indian team.  Roger
    Read More »from Startling parallels between India's Lord's wins of 1986 and 2014
  • Murali: behind enemy lines

    A look at Murali's travails with Australia, the country that once labelled him a cheat, the country he will now help learn spin bowling.

    Sri Lanka spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan has been named part of Australia’s coaching staff for the upcoming tour of the UAE where they play Pakistan.

    Muralitharan, who retired from international cricket in 2011 with a world record 1347 wickets across formats, has had a trying relationship with Australia. His problems with Australia, nearly all to do with his controversial bowling action, threatened to rip his career apart even before it had started taking shape.

    We recount the moments of controversies between Murali and Australia.

    BOXING DAY, 1995

    In front of a crowd of 55,000 at the MCG, umpire Darrell Hair started no-balling Muralitharan from the bowler’s end. Hair had not no-balled him from square leg. Initially, the no-balls were thought to be crease violations. But it gradually dawned on everyone that Murali was being for chucking. Captain Arjuna Ranatunga decided to consult the team management after which Murali was bowled from Steve Dunn’s end. He was not no-balled again.

    Read More »from Murali: behind enemy lines
  • Buttler & the double-speak around Mankading

    If Mankading is wrong, ban it. If not, and if you get mankaded, suck it up and move on.

    The incident.The incident.

    Here's Mahela Jayawardene two years ago, when Ravichandran Ashwin mankaded Lahiru Thirimanne in Brisbane:

    "I don’t play like that... I wouldn't have got the bails off in the first place, to be honest. Try and keep it nice and clean."

    Jayawardene last night, when Charitha Senanayake mankaded Jos Buttler in Birmingham:

    "It is fair enough, I think. We all need to play by the rules. If the other sides are not going by the rules, then they're not playing by the spirit, so what can you do?"

    Of course, one must read Jayawardene’s comments in totality to fully understand his position on the contentious issue of mankading. 

    But one thing is plain to see: cricketers only whine and moan about the spirit of the game when they’re caught with a hand in the cookie jar.

    Here's Alastair Cook, moaning about the Buttler incident:

    "I've never seen it before in a game. I was pretty disappointed with it to be honest with you. You don't know what you'd do if you were put in that situation, the heat of

    Read More »from Buttler & the double-speak around Mankading
  • Cleaning up the game starts with fans

    ... because, as recent events reveal, the BCCI has little intention of doing it.

    Fans at a recent IPL game.

    With his history of conflicting interests, N. Srinivasan’s boundary issues make the Kashmir problem seem mild. One thought that Justice A.K. Patnaik’s almighty lashing—embellished with the words “filthy” and “nauseating”—would have taught him caution. But this week’s events reveal that his shadow still looms over the workings of the board; that the board has no intention of minimising conflicts of interest that have allowed the corrupt to get away with the murder of cricket.

    On Sunday, the BCCI named a three-man panel that would investigate the spot-fixing scandal in the 2013 IPL. The names of the three men: RK Raghavan, JN Patel and Ravi Shastri. [Update: Thankfully, the Supreme Court has shot down this panel.]

    We’ve seen in the past that 'fixing' these probe panels prevents meaningful investigation. Shastri has been, out and out, a BCCI man. As a paid commentator for matches produced for the Indian board, his job has been to shape favourable public opinion of his employer.

    Read More »from Cleaning up the game starts with fans
  • Dear Harbhajan...

    Dear Harbhajan Singh,

    A news agency reported today that you consider yourself the best off-spinner in India.

    Here’s your quote as reported by them:

    "I would not talk about anyone who is playing for India, but I do feel I am still the best in the business. I still have a lot to offer and see myself playing at the highest level for at least three to four years."

    Here's a list of the top wicket-takers in the last Ranji Trophy who are spinners:

    And here's the same list from the previous season:

    And here's the list of India's top Test spinners:

    Here's my question to you. When do you suppose we can see you stop talking and start performing?


    HemantRead More »from Dear Harbhajan...
  • McCullum 281*, Watling 124, Neesham 67*, India a big fat 0

    DAY 4 IN WELLINGTON—Toothless India watch as NZ stage monumental fightback.

    Scores | Action in images | Day 3 | Day 2 | Day 1 | Full coverage

    Brief Scores—New Zealand 192 and 571-6 lead India (438) by 325 runs.

    Through the course of Day 4 in the Wellington Test, the focus kept returning to Brendon McCullum as he passed milestone after milestone. A drive through the covers brought up his 150. A whip through square leg delivered his third 200, all of them against India. A powerful pull for six to the same area brought up his 250. But even as he passed these milestones in the course of a scarcely believable fight-back with BJ Watling, the predominant expression on his face was of pain.

    The pain in his back. The pain in his shoulders. The pain in his knee. And the pain of knowing that though he had braved it for 12 hours, he couldn’t savour the sweetness of his achievements till his team was secure. At stumps, the New Zealand captain could afford to smile a little. They are now 325 ahead with little chance of losing a game that seemed lost yesterday.


    Read More »from McCullum 281*, Watling 124, Neesham 67*, India a big fat 0


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