Partab Ramchand

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Blog Posts by Partab Ramchand

  • Rohit deserves a break in India’s Test team

    For the last couple of years while analyzing the younger crop of players, I have always held the view that Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are the two best bets for the future. They are the front runners to take over when the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman ride off into the sunset. The way to the Test ranks is via limited overs cricket and I am pleased to note that both Kohli and Rohit have made considerable progress. Kohli made his way to the World Cup squad, performed admirably and is now a certainty in the ODI side. Rohit was perhaps a bit unfortunate not to make the cut but he too is more or less a cert in the limited overs squad. If proof was needed of his class it was provided during the ODI series against West Indies. Even with the return of the established stars it will be difficult to keep Rohit out of the playing eleven. His overall figures may not compare with those of Sehwag, Yuvraj, Kohli and Gambhir but in Rohit's case it is a case of potential far

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  • India’s Crisis Man

    He walked out to bat for India for the first time in a Test match exactly 15 years ago. Today Rahul Dravid is playing his 150th Test for the country and has run up the kind of record that is truly eye rubbing and mind boggling. He made his debut along with another great Sourav Ganguly but has outlasted his former captain and even as there has been some hints about his other senior colleagues VVS Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar riding off into the sunset, it is a tribute to Dravid that at 38 there has been not even been a murmur about whether he should retire.  

     

    Actually Dravid like Sourav Ganguly was taken on that tour of England in 1996 as an extra batsman purely on his impressive domestic record. At the start of the tour it seemed unlikely that both would even make the playing eleven. The Indian batting had a settled look and the first six in the batting order were Navjot Sidhu, Vikram Rathore, Sanjay Manjrekar, Sachin Tendulkar, Md Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja. The withdrawal of Sidhu

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  • India vs West Indies: David vs Goliath?

     

    Past record and present form are two very important criteria when it comes to analyzing prospects before a Test series starts. But going by these two yardsticks on the eve of the three-match contest between India and West Indies would present a bit of a jigsaw puzzle. On past record it would appear that the home team should start firm favourites. On nine previous visits to the Caribbean Indian teams have returned victorious only twice - in 1971 and 2006 – having lost on the other seven other occasions.

     

    On present form however the Indians should outclass Darren Sammy and his men. India are No 1 in the ICC rankings while West Indies are No 7. India have not lost a Test series since going down 1-2 in Sri Lanka in 2008. Other than that reverse the Indians over the last five years have won in West Indies, England and New Zealand besides sharing contests in Sri Lanka and South Africa and being virtually unbeatable at home. On the other hand one does not care to remember when West

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  • India’s spin tradition in safe hands

    India's spin tradition is so strong that the cupboard can never be bare. One great spin bowler retires and another suitable candidate takes his place. That's how the tradition has been carried through 75 years ever since Vinoo Mankad, the first world class spin bowler, appeared on the scene.

     

     

    Mankad, Ghulam Ahmed and Subash Gupte in the forties and fifties gave way to Salim Durrani, Bapu Nadkarni and Chandu Borde for a short while in the early sixties before the famed spin quartet took over. Bishen Bedi, BS Chandrasekhar, EAS Prasanna and S Venkatraghavan lasted from the mid sixties to the late 70s bowling India to famous and historic victories with such regularity that Rajinder Goel and Padmakar Shivalkar could not figure even in a single official Test match. Replacing the quartet was not easy but Dilip Doshi, Ravi Shastri, Shivlal Yadav, Maninder Singh, Narendra Hirwani and (very briefly) Laxman Sivaramakrishnan and Arshad Ayub took care of the spinning roles admirably through

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  • When Indians Were Glorious in Defeat

    Every year at this time I take a trip down memory lane to a Test match that was played in June 1967. "Some defeats are more glorious than victories" said an editorial in the Indian Express. Forty four years have passed but just mention Leeds 1967 to an old timer and his eyes will sparkle with delight. Everyone loves a winner goes the adage but in this case everyone loved the loser. "England wins match but India claims honours" went the headline in one of the newspapers summing up the events of five days in which Indian cricket earned a new respect even as the Test itself was lost by six wickets.

     

    Glorious and defeat do not generally go hand in hand but in this case the description is apt. A young and inexperienced Indian team landed in England with the odds heavily against them. For starters India had played 16 Tests in England spread over five visits and the record read: lost 12, drawn 4. Secondly the month of May proved to be extremely wet. The tourists went through one frustrating

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  • Trott is mentally very strong

    Suddenly the most talked about batsman in world cricket is not Sachin Tendulkar or Ricky Ponting or Jacques Kallis. Jonathon Trott has now not only taken over at the top of the averages but is also the most discussed and analyzed batsman not just in Test cricket but also the limited overs game. And why not? When a player boasts of an average of 64 in cricket's traditional format and 55 in ODIs it is time to sit up and take notice of a very special talent who has all the qualities that go into a world class batsman – technique and temperament, concentration and determination, ethereal strokes and rock like defence and the happy knack of adjusting his game to the situation.

     

    As a facts and figures man it has never failed to amaze me how so many top class English batsmen over the years have ended their careers with their average in the 40s. Oh sure, there are the legends like Jack Hobbs, Len Hutton, Walter Hammond, Denis Compton and Ken Barrington who all have averages in the fifties

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  • Salim Durrani – Indian Cricket’s Original Rockstar

    He never did get the recognition he deserved during his playing days. And now the CK Nayudu Lifetime achievement award also has come a little too late for 76-year-old Salim Durrani. Some of the awardees have been very much junior to him - MAK Pataudi, Erapalli Prasanna, BS Bedi, BS Chandrasekhar, S Venkatraghavan, Mohinder Amarnath, Gundappa Viswanath. Durrani gets the award 38 years after he played his last Test. Indeed it is over half a century since he made his debut against Australia at Bombay in January 1960.

     

    For that matter it is a moot point whether Durrani's achievements are in keeping with his considerable talent. He played 29 Tests, scored 1202 runs at an average of just over 25 with a lone hundred and took 75 wickets at 35.42 apiece with three five-wicket hauls and one ten-wicket haul. These figures might be dismissed by today's generation who are used to seeing the Indian team notching up one victory after another, the batsmen piling up runs aplenty and bowlers taking

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  • Sri Lanka are the new ‘lambs’ abroad

    There was a time when the tagline "tigers at home, lambs abroad" was applied to India. Not anymore. The Indians have won at least one Test in every country, shared contests in Australia and South Africa, won a series in England, Pakistan and West Indies and won a series in New Zealand in 2009 after 41 years so they don't qualify for that tag anymore.

     

    In fact if there is a side that would qualify for it right now it could well be Sri Lanka. The shattering defeat at Cardiff only augments the charge that their batsmen at best are flat track bullies at home and that their bowling is woefully inadequate in the absence of Chaminda Vaas and Muthiah Muralitharan. It is another thing that they were also without Lasith Malinga who recently retired from Test cricket in a bid to prolong his limited overs career.

     

    However weak Sri Lanka's bowling is without the services of the three mentioned there is always the firm belief that the batsmen would steer the team out of trouble. After all in Kumar

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  • Indian selectors looking ahead

    The controversy over club vs country, the debates over too much cricket and the injuries to various key players and the reasons as to why and how all this happened can be kept aside for the time being. The most positive aspect of the selection of the Indian squads for the tour of the West Indies is that it gives many promising players the opportunity to cement their places in the team in the near future. After all the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh cannot go on forever. Much has been said and written about the Indian team's bench strength and here was a chance for the selectors to look ahead and plan for the future and that is what they have done.

     

    Kris Srikkanth and his colleagues have spread the net far and wide but in reality there is never any need to do so as the replacements for established players are always ready. In batting and bowling India have an admirable second line of defence and there is no reason

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  • Rahul Sharma knows his time will come

    One must be careful in assessing how good a player is based on performances in the IPL. We have had the examples of Manpreet Gony and Ashok Dinda to name but two who were hurriedly given India caps following their showing in the competition. Obviously they were not ready for the big stage yet and under the circumstances it is good to note that while picking the Indian team to play in limited overs games in the West Indies the selectors went largely by performances around the domestic circuit.

     

    At the risk of being proved wrong I am however willing to stick my neck out and predict that Rahul Sharma will not only don Indian colours sooner rather than later but will also make a success of it. No young bowler in the IPL has been more impressive than the 24-year-old Jalandhar born leg spinner. He has suddenly become the next best thing to happen to Indian cricket as far as spin bowling is concerned and a much talked about cricketer.

     

    It is not just the bagful of wickets he has taken

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