AR Hemant

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Somewhat of a contrarian.

Blog Posts by AR Hemant

  • The Curse of The First-ball Wicket

    Nathan Lyon took a wicket first ball in Test cricket. Nathan Lyon took a wicket first ball in Test cricket.

    Nathan Lyon took a wicket first ball in Test cricket — and it was Kumar Sangakkara no less.

    Australia's Nathan Lyon recently became the 14th bowler in history to claim a wicket off his first delivery in Test cricket. He capped the performance with a fiver — making it a remarkable debut for the 23-year-old off-spinner from New South Wales.

    Here's the full list of bowlers who've achieved this feat.

    Despite this fabulous start, very few of these cricketers have had long, successful Test careers.

    Half of them didn't last three Test matches. Only two of them could be considered successes at the Test level.

    England's Maurice Tate, who played 39 Tests, took 155 wickets and also made 1198 runs.

    Intikhab Alam of Pakistan, the leg-spinner all-rounder scored 1493 runs and took 125 wickets in the 47 Tests he played.

    Here's how the first-ball heroes stand.

    Will Lyon buck this trend?

    Read More »from The Curse of The First-ball Wicket
  • 1st ODI: Chester-le-Street

    (Note to readers: we will post live match updates, analysis and expert views through the course of the first ODI between India and England. New updates will appear on top. Please hit the refresh button periodically)


    Question for readers: What does India need to finally beat England on this tour?


    The match has been rained off. India's first win over England on this tour will have to wait. India took steps forward in this game with the refreshing batting of Parthiv, Rahane and Kohli. But the injuries to Rohit and Tendulkar have brought them back to the wretched situation they've been in throughout this tour.

    From here on, India have nothing to play with but the strength of their character. Any positives, any wins, India can achieve from this point — having lost eight of their first choice players — is a bonus. This blog will join you again for the second ODI. Till then, goodnight.

    Kohli consoles Parthiv after he missed a hundred. Kohli consoles Parthiv after he missed a hundred.

    Kohli consoles Parthiv after he missed a hundred.

    From a distance, Parthiv and Virat might seem like two

    Read More »from 1st ODI: Chester-le-Street
  • DRS: Solution or Problem?

    The LBW of Phil Hughes in the Kandy Test and prompted Simon Taufel to use it as a an instance of Hawk-Eye's failing. The LBW of Phil Hughes in the Kandy Test and prompted Simon Taufel to use it as a an instance of Hawk-Eye's failing.

    Phil Hughes' LBW in the Kandy Test has prompted Simon Taufel to use it as a an instance of Hawk-Eye's failing.

    During India's 2002 tour of England, a primitive version of today's ball-tracking technology was in use. The DRS was still a few years away, but since the idea was to illustrate points for the benefit of viewers, no red flags were raised even when there were doubts about its accuracy.

    Then, in the Leeds Test, it finally threw up explicit evidence of its fallibility. Harbhajan Singh bowled Andrew Caddick in the first innings. The ball made faint contact with the top of the stumps and dislodged the bails. But the replay showed the ball going over the stumps.

    It proved we were still years away from "fool-proof technology". It's a wonderful expression. Fool-proof technology. Like unicorns, elves and fairies, it exists in our heads.

    Fast-forward nine years to the Phil Hughes dismissal in the Kandy Test.

    Umpire Simon Taufel has been prompted to use the dismissal as a case against

    Read More »from DRS: Solution or Problem?
  • To The Moon And Back

    India crash-land after a glorious ride at the top. They may struggle to be No. 1 again.India crash-land after a glorious ride at the top. They may struggle to be No. 1 again.

    India crash-land after a glorious ride at the top. They may struggle to be No. 1 again.

    With their worst performance in 12 years, the crown finally slips out of India's loose grip. A thought goes out to Anil Kumble's vision document, written when he had become India’s Test captain in 2007.

    Kumble outlined eight ways to take Indian cricket forward. The document called for — among other things — transparency in selection, better inter-personal relationships in the team (particularly between seniors and juniors) and the need to play aggressive cricket while adhering to the game's spirit. You don’t associate long-term planning with Indian cricket. Kumble’s vision was a rarity.

    The objective of playing sport is winning — series, championships, medals, trophies and World Cups. Champions set themselves big targets. Rafael Nadal plays for Grand Slams. He no longer turns up at Chennai Open. Usain Bolt ran for Olympic gold. The CWG didn’t matter.

    When Australia won the 1999 World Cup, they made

    Read More »from To The Moon And Back
  • Don’t Use And Throw Your Legends

    The retrograde move to recall Dravid can only end badly for him.The retrograde move to recall Dravid can only end badly for him.

    The retrograde move to recall Dravid can only end badly for him.

    India’s ODI squad for England is along expected lines. Sachin Tendulkar was expected to play this important series. Harbhajan Singh has been rested due to injury or dropped due to excruciatingly bad form, depending on whose word you take. Sreesanth has been used and thrown away as the team has seen fit. And there’s still no sign of Ashish Nehra despite him submitting a fitness certificate.

    But the one selection we didn't see coming was Rahul Dravid. "Rested", incidentally, was the word used to describe his absence from the ODI team in 2007, when he was actually dropped.

    Considering Dravid's recent good run in Test cricket, it's easy to understand why he has been recalled. In making three hundreds in trying conditions, he brought respectability to India's otherwise poor show. His younger colleagues continue to flunk tests of their techniques. And it's invariably the short ball that gets them curling up in foetal position.

    Read More »from Don’t Use And Throw Your Legends
  • The More Things Change…

    There’s a thunderstorm predicted on Tuesday in Nottingham. India had to bat out 150-odd overs to save or win the Trent Bridge Test. But they had to survive only 60-odd overs on Monday.

    It shouldn’t have been tough given how England’s lower order had piled the runs with ridiculous ease. But India’s left-handers fell to short balls, and the right-handers didn’t know what to do with in-swingers. They didn’t last 50 overs. If it rains tomorrow, it would be Jamaica all over again.

    Things hinted at a strong English performance in this series. But we were so used to the strong Indian fightback, we expected better from the depleted, injury-hit side. So it is really not the defeat which rankles, it's the consummate ease with which England have won, and also India's inability to learn from mistakes.

    MS Dhoni's comment after the game was jaw-dropping. Explaining India's inability to dislodge Stuart Broad on Day 1, he said his bowlers were tired.

    I'm sorry.

    Tired? After 50 overs? On

    Read More »from The More Things Change…
  • The Bell Run-out Reversal: Likes & Dislikes

    MS Dhoni's sporting decision to recall Ian Bell yesterday was unanimously applauded by cricket pundits. But some believed there was no need to do it.

    Likes & DislikesLikes & Dislikes

    What do you think?

  • Live Blog: England vs India, Day 5, Lord’s

    Match Package: Scores | Action In Images | Report

    Blogs: Day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

    Question for readers: How can India improve upon this performance?


    Anderson gets Dhoni, signals the beginning of India's end. Anderson gets Dhoni, signals the beginning of India's end.

    Anderson gets Dhoni, signals the beginning of India's end.

    9.54 pm - Ishant lbw b Broad, India 261 all out.

    A gripping, tiring Test finally ends. England's 196-run win is truly well-deserved.

    Hit by fitness problems, India could win just one session when Ishant was on fire. England have been the better side by far in this match.

    Lessons for India:

    1) Spruce up the pace department. Trent Bridge is a pace-friendly venue.

    2) Three-and-a-half bowlers won't win you a Test match against a top-class side.

    3) Work on your slip catching.

    4) Take a leaf out of Raina's book. Bat for the team.

    5) When you're on top, attack. Seize the game, take it forward.

    6) Blocking everything won't save you a Test. This should have been a no-brainer by now.

    7) Drop Harbhajan. Anyone but Harbhajan. Please.


    The winning moment. The winning moment.

    The winning moment.

    Some reactions to England's wins:

    Read More »from Live Blog: England vs India, Day 5, Lord’s
  • Live Blog: England vs India, Day 4, Lord’s

    (Note to readers: We will post live match updates, analysis and expert views through the course of the Lord's Test match. New updates will appear on top. Please hit the refresh button periodically.)

    Question for readers: Can India save this match?


    Dravid drives as India chase 458 to win. Dravid drives as India chase 458 to win.

    Dravid drives as India chase 458 to win.

    11.35 pm - A day of fluctuating fortunes. When England were 62-5 after Ishant's breathtaking spell, any result was possible. But Prior's brilliant hundred and his partnership with Broad has steered England to safety. Can't say that for India, who will have to bat for their lives on the final day tomorrow.

    England haven't been able to trouble Laxman and Dravid the least bit. But things can change quickly. Two quick wickets, and who knows what pressure will do to India's middle order?

    Thanks for your comments today. Please join us again tomorrow.

    Match Links: Action In Images | Scores


    Anonymous recalls the 1979 Oval Test where Gavaskar led an astonishing chase for 438.

    In a same like this Sunil

    Read More »from Live Blog: England vs India, Day 4, Lord’s
  • Live Blog: England vs India, Day 3, Lord’s

    (Note to readers: We will post live match updates, analysis and expert views through the course of the Lord's Test match. New updates will appear on top. Please hit the refresh button periodically.)

    Question for readers: Is Dravid back to his best?


    Dravid punches the air after completing his 33rd Test hundred.Dravid punches the air after completing his 33rd Test hundred.

    Dravid punches the air after completing his 33rd Test hundred.

    15 years ago on this ground, Dravid walked immediately after England appealed for a caught behind. He was on Test debut, five short of a Test hundred. It was a really thin edge. Who knows what the umpire would have ruled had Dravid not walked.

    Earlier in the same year, another young batsman with a goatee got out four short of a hundred on Test debut against Sri Lanka. It was a dubious LBW decision.

    Ricky Ponting and Dravid couldn't be more different. But when they first appeared on the scene, they were somewhat similar. Both were fantastic players of fast bowling, sported moustaches, looked serious most times and talked really fast.

    It was in England, during the 1997 Ashes,

    Read More »from Live Blog: England vs India, Day 3, Lord’s

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