Partab Ramchand

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Blog Posts by Partab Ramchand

  • Batting has been India’s strong point

    Since its genesis in Sharjah in 1984 the Asia Cup has come a long way. Its history might be a bit rocky in that it has not been held every two years as initially envisaged. Also a couple of times, the tournament has been held with India or Pakistan not taking part. All this is now in the past and the four Test teams from the sub-continent are now regular participants.

     

    On the last couple of occasions, the organizers in a bid to spread the game over a wider area have invited teams from the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong to take part. And, while, this is no doubt a laudable move it has also led to some meaningless matches.

     

    In the tenth edition of the competition being held in Sri Lanka from June 15 to 24, it is back to the four Test teams who will play each other once before the top two qualify for the final. And, while, Bangladesh have proved their competence in limited overs cricket their inconsistency does not augur well for them and it is clear that the winner will come from

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  • Selectors have made the right move

    The selection of the Indian team for the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka proves that the selectors have admitted that it is time to stop experimenting and concentrate on the players likely to be on duty during next year's World Cup to be held in the sub continent.

     

    Barring two or three players, this could well be the team for the mega event and with just about nine months to go it is imperative that the established cricketers are given ample time to settle into their roles. Till March 2011, the tinkering in the team should be kept down to a minimum.

     

    Kris Srikkanth and his co-selectors have also made the right move in dropping Yuvraj Singh on grounds of fitness and form. This is a clear signal that no one should take his place for granted - not even the most established star.

     

    That Yuvraj is a match winner in limited overs cricket is well known. That he will be part of the World Cup campaign is almost certain. But in the present situation, it is best that he takes a sabbatical from the

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  • There were shortcomings in tactical thinking

    For the life of me, I just can't comprehend headlines like "Zimbabwe shock India" and "India goes down to Zimbabwe in surprise defeat." Let's face facts. This is an India C team playing against the Zimbabwe A team and under the circumstances, the field is very open not only with regard to matches involving these two teams but also the third competitor Sri Lanka, which has also sent a depleted side. So where is the question of surprise, shock, upset and so on.

     

    As far as I am concerned, when the tournament started, I had expressed the view that this would be a closely contested side between three apparently evenly matched sides. Whatever Zimbabwe's limitations at Test level – and they have not played a Test match for some years now – they have always been a pretty handy team in limited overs cricket and being at full strength even as the two other teams were not, it should have been obvious that they would be able to hold their own, particularly, at home even against teams which had

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  • Rohit, Kohli combine style with substance

    As one who has steadfastly maintained for some time now that the two best young batsmen in India are Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, I was overjoyed to see them share a third wicket century partnership while steering India to victory over Sri Lanka in the ongoing tri-series in Zimbabwe.

     

    Among the plethora of young batsmen bidding to take over from 'the big three' - Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman - in the Test squad whenever they choose to ride off into the sunset these two have the best credentials.

     

    They have already established themselves in the limited overs squads and should be able to beat back the stiff challenge posed by other youngsters and cement places in the squad in the game's traditional format. Besides talent and skill they have the ideal temperament, a trait they displayed in no uncertain terms during their third wicket stand of 154 runs in 28 overs on Sunday.

     

    The two came together when India were rather precariously placed at 47 for two in the tenth

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  • Time has come for change

    There has been much talk about staging day-night Test matches for some time now in the wake of dwindling attendances at the game's traditional format and the raging popularity of Twenty20 cricket.  But, now with ICC president David Morgan saying that "it will not be too long" before day-night Tests are played in Australia or India, it is obviously no more a question of whether but when the inaugural Test under lights will be played.

    The concept of day-night Tests has been held back principally by concerns that the white ball used for floodlit cricket will not stand up to the wear and tear of a five-day match. But that does not seem to be a problem that cannot be overcome and the authorities have already tried balls of various colours – including pink and orange - to see which one could be the best.

    In any case, Morgan is convinced that it is only a matter of time before day-night Test cricket makes an appearance. According to the ICC president, he has already talked to administrators

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  • Hussey cemented his position as ‘Mr Cricket’

    The growing popularity of Twenty20 cricket has been further cemented by the successful conduct of the just concluded ICC World Twenty20 in the Caribbean. From what one saw in the fortnight long competition it is no more just slam bang cricket. There is a lot of strategy and tactics involved and all countries have taken to the game's newest and shortest format very seriously.

     

    The very nature of the format - short and sweet - led one to initially think that is just hit and giggle. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Just for starters, it can be stated that the tactical errors of MS Dhoni were possibly the main reasons that led to India's exit at the Super Stage of the tournament.

     

    Persisting with Ravindra Jadeja, fielding just two quick bowlers on the fast and bouncy track at Bridgetown, not playing leg spinner Piyush Chawla and not using Yusuf Pathan as a floater in the batting order were some of the moves found wanting as far as strategic matters were concerned. It is

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  • A long cherished dream come true

    After 35 years, England have finally broke their cricketing duck in ICC trophy tournaments. It must have been embarrassing for the cricketers and the authorities that they were the only one among the eight major teams not to have at least one of the three competitions - the Fifty50 ICC Cricket World Cup, the ICC Champions Trophy and the ICC World Twenty20.

     

    On Friday, at Bridgetown, that quest ended and one had only to see the overjoyed players unable to control their emotions to realize that this was a very special moment and a long cherished dream come true. England did make it to the one day ICC Cricket World Cup final three times in 1979, 1987 and 1992. After that their best was making it to the title clash in the ICC Champions Trophy at home against the West Indies in 2004.

     

    Nothing it seemed would halt England from winning their first major ICC trophy when the West Indies were 147 for eight while chasing a target of 218. But, a totally unexpected ninth wicket partnership

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  • Both teams have a well settled look

    The final sentence in my previous column read: "The phrase no match is lost till it is won seems to have been coined for the Australians." As a close observer of Australian cricket for half a century, I have seen enough evidence of their resilient qualities that makes them feared opponents.

     

    But to be candid, I never thought that they would win the ICC World Twenty20 semi-final against Pakistan on Friday. Many times during the Aussie reply, I kept thinking that even Australia could not win from here and even Pakistan, who are known to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory could not lose from here.

     

    And, yet that's exactly what happened. Lightning does not strike twice in the same place goes the adage but during this tournament the Aussies have struck thrice. Against Bangladesh they recovered from 65 for six to win comfortably. Against Sri Lanka they recovered from 67 for five to win emphatically. But this was the miracle to end all miracles. It was a result that shouldn't have come

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  • The Aussies are looking formidable

    About ten years ago, Steve Waugh's book recounting the details of the record breaking 1999-2000 season was released. It was titled "Never Satisfied'' which fittingly described the Aussie approach. 

     

    Grit and determination and a hunger for success have always been the hallmark of Australian cricket and that is why they reigned at the top in both Tests and ODIs for so long and continue to do so in the latter format.

    Now their aim is to be the best in cricket's newest, shortest and most popular format and believe me when the Aussies make up their minds to achieve a certain goal few teams can match them on the field of play.

     

    I well remember the time when in 2006, Ricky Ponting brought his team to India for the ICC Champions Trophy. They were the No 1 Test side, enjoyed the No 1 status in ODIs too and were ICC Cricket World Cup champions in 1999 and 2003. The ICC Champions Trophy was the one silverware missing from their shelves back home.

     

    One could clearly see that the Aussies were

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  • Dhoni and his men flattered only to deceive

    Barring a miracle India's campaign in the ongoing ICC World Twenty20 is over at the Super Eight stage - a rather unwelcome development for which the team personnel and the think tank must share the blame.

     

    MS Dhoni and his men flattered only to deceive. An expected victory over Afghanistan and a notable win over South Africa put them comfortably into the Super Eight and gave Indian cricket fans that perhaps even a repeat of the famous triumph at the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 three years ago was possible. That proved to be an illusion.

     

    It was one thing playing on the slower tracks at St Lucia and quite another to perform on the pacy and bouncy surfaces at Bridgetown. Both, the Australians and the home team, aware that the Indians could well be sitting ducks to short pitched deliveries on such pitches, dished them out generously and the Indian batsmen had no answer.

     

    They could only bob, duck and weave their way out of danger and when they tried to be adventurous it only led to

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