AR Hemant

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Somewhat of a contrarion.

Blog Posts by AR Hemant

  • Fruits of the season

    Kohli is India’s best at the moment. His efforts tell us why India must persist with youth.

    KohliA few months ago, Virat Kohli had failed in four straight innings in the Melbourne and Sydney Tests. We heard calls to axe him. We were told how the Indian youth was not ready to take over from the veterans. Young, reckless, arrogant — the list of characteristics ascribed to Kohli ran long. His rude gesture to fans in Sydney made it worse for him.

    Imagine if he had been dropped from the Perth Test. Imagine the effect it would have had on his confidence which had been dented by those failures. If he had been dropped then, we probably wouldn’t have had the chance to see what we did — the gritty 75 in Perth, the 116 in Adelaide, and then his fearful slaying of Sri Lanka in Hobart and Pakistan in Mirpur.

    The Adelaide innings wasn’t a mere hundred – it was a coming-of-age moment for Kohli. You only need to see the list of Indian Test centurions in Australia to know that Kohli has put himself in the company of India’s greatest. His slaughtering of Sri Lanka and Pakistan were bonus additions

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  • 30 Days, 30 Questions: One cricket law you want to change

    Cricket's 42 laws aren't without some absurdities. Is there one you want to get rid of?

    Today in 30 Days, 30 Questions:

    Pakistan's Umar Akmal appeals for an LBW against England's Kevin Pietersen in Abu Dhabi on February 15.

    Question: Cricket has 42 laws, each overseen by many ifs and buts. There's always one that annoys us and we wonder why it isn't changed. If you could change a cricket law, which one would it be, and why?

    Yahoo! Cricket's answer:
    Sample Law 36 which governs LBWs. It is a complex, hard-to-fathom rule (worsened by the intricacies of the DRS rules). It maybe cricket's answer to football's off-side rule: you have to be a connoisseur of the sport to make sense of it.

    The LBW rule was implemented to curb unfair use of the pads. But off late, most tweaks in cricket's laws have tended to favour batsmen. We live in the age of small boundaries, ridiculously heavy bats and standardised wickets. Batting averages have shot through the roof. There's little help for bowlers.

    For the sake of restoring parity between bat and ball, we'd like two tweaks in the LBW law. One — allow an LBW to be given even if the point of impact is outside the line of the stumps. Two — and this Read More »from 30 Days, 30 Questions: One cricket law you want to change
  • Dravid retires from international and First Class cricket

    The run machine from Bangalore retires as the second-highest Test scorer.

    Dravid celebrating the winning runs in the Adelaide Test, one of India's greatest wins of his era, on December 16, 2003.

    In a move that would sadden cricket fans around the world, Indian run-machine Rahul Dravid announced his retirement from international and domestic First Class cricket.

    He finishes his prolific 16-year international career having scored the second-most runs in Tests and seventh-most in ODIs, but before he had the chance to see his team set right their recent rotten run in Test cricket.

    Dravid, who had turned 39 in January, had informally informed Yahoo! of his decision on Thursday, but made the formal announcement before the media on Friday noon at his home venue, Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy Stadium.

    "I leave with sadness, but also with pride," he said, reading from a statement, with BCCI president N Srinivasan and former India captain and statemate Anil Kumble sitting next to him. Also at the press conference were his wife Vijeta, and sons Samit and Anvay.

    "I was comfortable with what I had achieved. Deep down, I felt the time was right to move on and let the youngsters take over."

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  • Dhoni caps off thrilling chase for India

    Gambhir's 92 sets up India's chase for 270 in the 4th CB Series ODI against Australia in Adelaide.

    Match Scores | Action Images | Strange ways of Indian cricket

    Dhoni's massive six in the final over off McKay sealed the deal for India. (Getty)India weren’t perfect today. But they beat Australia the hard way. And nothing satisfies a team more than a hard-fought win when it is going through a rut.

    A pale-looking MS Dhoni got off to an agonisingly slow start of three runs in 17 balls. But he caught up with the pace at the end, capping off a tight chase for 270 by getting India the 13 needed in the final over from Clint McKay.

    It helped India burst past some glass ceilings – they had never beaten Australia in an ODI in Adelaide, and had never chased more than 242 against the hosts in their country. More importantly, the win would take the attention away from the howls of protest after Sachin Tendulkar was rested today.

    Gambhir Shines

    The chase was set up by Gautam Gambhir’s 92 and a couple of thirties from Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina. But each time they seemed at ease, Indian batsmen got out to rash shots to complicate matters.

    Virender Sehwag (after adding 52 with

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  • The Case Against Personal Records

    The clamour to let Tendulkar get his hundred has drowned out saner opinions on Indian cricket.

    A young fan is dejected after Sachin Tendulkar was dismissed six runs short of his 100th hundred in international cricket in the Mumbai Test. A young fan is dejected after Sachin Tendulkar was dismissed six runs short of his 100th hundred in international cricket in the Mumbai Test.

    A young fan is dejected after Sachin Tendulkar was dismissed six runs short of his 100th hundred in international cricket in the Mumbai Test.

    Confusion of goals and perfection of means seems to characterize our age, Albert Einstein once said. Such was the story at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday.

    Just after Sachin Tendulkar narrowly missed the milestone everyone has been waiting for, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan quipped that India ought to follow on to give Tendulkar another shot at that hundredth hundred.

    The quip was demeaning to the sport. It also belittled two fine young cricketers — Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin — attempting to minimise India’s damages while trying to secure their careers. Should they have thrown their wickets so Tendulkar could bat again?

    It overlooked the fact that India were miles away from saving the follow-on, and further away from securing the match. Aren’t

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  • Day 3 at the Wankhede

    (During the course of the third Test between India and the West Indies at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai we’ll post live updates, analysis, reader comments and reactions. Please hit F5 periodically for new posts.)

    Tendulkar was unbeaten on 67. Tomorrow may be the day.

    Stumps, Day 3 - India 281-3 - Before individual milestones take over, the bigger picture stands as thus: India are still 110 runs from avoiding the follow-on mark. But given the docile nature of this pitch, a stalemate is the most likely outcome in Mumbai.

    Tendulkar had raced to 26 off 31. The highlight shot of his innings was the uppercut for six off Fidel Edwards, immediately after Edwards beat him with a short ball first thing after lunch. But since then, Tendulkar has dragged on painfully slowly, finishing the day with 41 more runs off 102 balls.

    As Sanjay Manjrekar said, "He's made too much of an issue about Bishoo."

    This would hardly rate as one of Tendulkar's better knocks. But hardcore fans may disagree. They

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  • Why Vinod? And Why Now?

    Questions flood the mind after Kambli’s latest comments. How seriously should we take him?Questions flood the mind after Kambli’s latest comments. How seriously should we take him?

    Questions flood the mind after Kambli’s latest comments. How seriously should we take him?

    There are two visuals on my screen. Both of them have Vinod Kambli in tears.

    In the first, he’s walking off the park. Fifteen years ago, that image helped us register that our World Cup dream had come to a painful end. In the other, he’s telling us why the dream may have ended. But that's the problem: it was 15 years ago.

    "I would never betray my country, betray my team. Today my heart feels lighter because ... that 1996 match... I would never forget it in my life... because after that match, my career was finished off... shit...," Kambli told a news channel in broken sentences before hiding his teary face from the camera. What incentive did he have to air his case, however weak, on national television?

    Kambli suggests that Mohammad Azharuddin's infamous decision to field in the World Cup semifinal was not what the team (according to Kambli) had agreed on, and therefore something was amiss.


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  • Record-breaking Day in Cape Town

    The scoreboard at the Newlands on Thursday when Australia folded for 47, right after South Africa had made 96.

    In an epic day of cricket at Newlands, Cape Town, several records were shattered - but not in a manner the two teams would appreciate.

    Australia folded for 47 in their second innings, a collapse so dramatic, it took only a few minutes for South Africa's supporters to get over the fact that their team had made just 96.

    It was a day that belonged more in the 19th century, when such collapses were more commonplace due to uncovered wickets and lack of protective gear for batsmen.

    Not Since 1896...

    In this extraordinary day, 23 wickets fell, with both teams batting twice. Australia completed their first innings by losing two wickets today. South Africa went to lunch at 49-1.

    By the end of the noon session, 12 more wickets had fallen on both sides, for 60 runs.

    Eight more wickets fell in the evening session, but only one on the South African side, displaying that it wasn't the

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  • Does Anyone Care About The Delhi Test?

    Lifeless wicket. Poor turn-out. Dour play. An epic mismatch. The first Test of the season couldn't be more underwhelming.

    Dhoni broke Kirmani's record before empty stands.

    THE FLAVOUR of the Australia summer is pace. A young tearaway in Pat Cummins has been discovered. And there’s no doubt Australia would play to their strengths when India come visiting later this year. The hard and quick wickets will suit their pace arsenal that has grown impressively in their years of transition.

    Meanwhile, at the Kotla Stadium, India are playing West Indies on a surface as lifeless as Mars – the sort of wicket you’d never expect to play on in a Test in Australia. The quality of opposition also reflects on how poorly India tend to build towards fixtures that matter.

    In their last 10 years of touring, the only major Test team West Indies have beaten is South Africa, once. Having played them plenty of times this year, India would be aware of the obvious weaknesses of West Indies. Hence this home

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  • Day 2 at the Kotla

    (During the course of the first Test between India and West Indies at the Kotla, we'll post live updates, analysis, reader comments and reactions. Please hit F5 periodically for new posts.)

    5.05 pm - West Indies are effectively 116-2 and the ball's doing funny things, shooting along the surface one ball, gripping and turning the next. India opened at both ends with spinners, a rarity, and managed to get both West Indian openers. Unless there's another one of their famous collapses tomorrow, they're firmly in front at this point.

    A lead of 200 would prove extremely difficult to chase. For India, the key is Pragyan Ojha who has been relentlessly accurate and patient.

    4.10 pm - India 209 all out. Everything that could go wrong for India today has. The fantastic part of West Indies' bowling effort is that they had to take about 12-13 wickets today, given the many lives Gambhir and Sehwag had in the 30 minutes before lunch.

    Dravid, let down again by his colleagues, battled on for 54 and

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