Partab Ramchand

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Blog Posts by Partab Ramchand

  • Test cricket is alive and kicking

    With all the frenetic activity associated with the Indian Premier League and Twenty20 my attention has been diverted to the pleasures of Test match cricket. Yes, pleasures for as a bit of an old timer, as a traditionalist who grew up on a staple diet of five day matches that sometimes did not produce a result even after 30 hours of play I have really enjoyed the fare served out at the Providence stadium in Guyana.

    What a fiercely competitive match it has been between West Indies and Pakistan! Three and a half days of gripping cricket, fluctuating fortunes, some excellent batting and bowling and a keen contest between two evenly matched sides (incidentally Pakistan are ranked No 6 and West Indies No 7) produced the kind of thriller that only Test cricket can produce no matter what the younger generation might say about Twenty20. The comparatively leisurely proceedings, two innings a side instead of one, players in white, day cricket and the red ball have provided a refreshingly

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  • Fletcher ready for most demanding job

    Well begun is half done goes the well known adage. These are very early days but at least Duncan Fletcher has made the right initial moves. At his first press conference since taking over as India coach the 62-year-old former Zimbabwe captain came across as someone who knows his job and is looking forward eagerly to taking charge. That is, in a manner of speaking for Fletcher who coached England for eight years made it clear that his approach would be amiable rather than dictatorial much like his predecessor Gary Kirsten.

     

    It is now becoming clear why Kirsten recommended Fletcher for the role for in outlook and method there is a lot of similarity between the two. One remembers when Kirsten took over three years ago he also made the right moves by saying and doing the right things. The affable South African was a welcome change from the autocratic Greg Chappell and it was hoped that in the happy and amiable atmosphere great things could be achieved. Well, as subsequent events

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  • Day-night Tests are keeping with the times

    With the ICC Cricket Committee coming out strongly in favour of day-night Test matches to save the game's traditional format it is no more a question of whether but when the inaugural Test under lights will be played. The committee at its meeting at Lord's expressed the view that steps should be taken quickly to promote the traditional format and called for the immediate introduction of day-night matches to give a boost to the game in countries where attendances are low and unfortunately this seems to be the rule rather than the exception.

     

    The committee was of the view that recent successful testing with pink balls could well mean that floodlit Tests can start as soon as possible. There has been some resistance to the move by traditionalists who believe that there should be no major changes as far as Test cricket is concerned.  But as former Australian captain Steve Waugh said last year "a day-night Test would be a chance to be part of history by taking the game in a different

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  • The IPL and its impact

    Let's face facts. Twenty20 is here to stay and play a major role in the development of the game and its finances. It's not a passing fad. It is here to entertain and to evolve and is very much a part of the times in which we live in. For today's generation the entertainment has to be faster, shorter and crisper as we have seen other sports too like billiards and tennis. So it is with cricket which has evolved from Test cricket to the one day game and now T-20.

    Fortunately there is space for all three formats to survive and I do not share the pessimism of the cynics who are quick to write the obituary of Test cricket. That's what they did at the height of the popularity of ODIs and Test cricket warded off the challenge successfully and emerged stronger. On the face of it cricket's traditional format might be low on entertainment value though the purists would not agree. However it is high in matters of strategy and tactics and cricketing skills and players rightly admit that it gives

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  • What ails the West Indies?

    What is wrong with West Indian cricket? Everything it would seem. On and off the field it lurches from one crisis to another. With the players and the Cricket Board at loggerheads it is unlikely that things will improve. Perhaps this is reflected by the on field happenings. The West Indies are No 7 in the ICC Test rankings and No 8 in the ODI rankings. They have just gone down to a rather experimental Pakistan side with the home advantage obviously meaning nothing. Senior players like Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan have been dropped amidst a lot of acrimony even though the last named figured in the final two games against Pakistan. Gayle and Kieron Pollard two of their best known players are currently playing in the IPL. And their ten-wicket capitulation at the hands of Pakistan in the World Cup quarterfinal is too fresh in memory. 

     

    It is always sad to see a great side slip down the ladder and playing standards falling to an abysmal level. Australia has

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  • Fletcher doesn’t have to try too hard

    He was one of the front runners for the job and as such Duncan Fletcher's appointment as Gary Kirsten's successor as Indian coach is not exactly a surprise. At 62 he is the oldest of the four foreign coaches that the Indians have had since John Wright took over a little over ten years ago. But his age alone should not let one to be apprehensive about the former Zimbabwe captain not being able to bridge the generation gap. On experience and credentials one cannot fault his accession to the most demanding job in world cricket. With cricket enjoying the status of a religion in this country every move of anyone associated with the game is dissected, bisected and analyzed and Fletcher will come under the microscopic eye during his two year tenure.

     

    For a person who has had differences with the media and is plainly uncomfortable with them as his autobiography reveals caustically Fletcher will start off on the back foot. The Indian media can make life hell for any high profile sports person

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  • No clear favourites in IPL

    Just over a fortnight into the IPL and it is clear that the fourth edition of the immensely popular tournament has done much to bring out the best of the Twenty20 format. The competition has seen everything – huge hits, big scores including hundreds, splendid bowling performances including two five wicket hauls, fluctuating fortunes among the 10 participating teams and entertainment of a high value complete with the glitz and glamour associated with the IPL since its inaugural edition in 2008.

     

    The lead has changed hands rapidly and the inclusion of two franchisees has made the tournament even more competitive. There are no clear favourites when it comes to the Twenty20 format and this is very true of the IPL. Just six points separate the current top of the table team – Mumbai Indians – from the bottom placed side – Deccan Chargers and one would not be surprised if the gap is bridged in next to no time. One would also not be surprised if the positions keep changing after every match

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  • Tendulkar’s will to succeed makes him a feared opponent

    Sachin Tendulkar turns 38 on Sunday, he is in his 22nd year in international cricket and yet there is no talk about him riding off into the sunset. Why should there be when he
    is playing as well as ever, the runs are being stroked fluently and the big scores are being notched up in all formats of the game. He may be 38 as far as his birth certificate goes but seeing him on the field scampering for the quick single, coming back energetically for two, leaping and diving to stop the ball from going to the boundary one could be forgiven for passing him off as no more than 25.

    Tendulkar has drunk from the elixir of youth and ageless is perhaps the best way to describe his art and craft. It really is quite incredible that after all these years he is
    still able to retain his keenness for the game. This boyish enthusiasm is clearly the main reason behind his success and longevity. He is still able to hold his own in the field
    despite being surrounded by much younger teammates and as far as his

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  • Gavaskar: The father figure of Indian cricket

    Exactly 40 years ago this week a 21-year-old Indian batsman in his debut series notched up a fabulous feat that went a long way in steering India to a historic triumph over the West Indies in the five-Test contest. To the younger generation brought up on numerous notable victories in Fifty50 andTwenty20 and being around in an era when India are the No 1 Test team in the game and the No 2 ODI team this would hardly seem significant enough to warrant mention all these years later. Nothing can be further from the truth for that triumph in the Caribbean altered the face of Indian cricket in the international arena. From then on any contest with an Indian team could not be taken lightly thanks largely to the impact that one immensely gifted youngster with a water tight technique, intense concentration and an insatiable appetite for runs had on the cricketing scene worldwide.

    Let later generations talk about other great players. For me it will always be Sunil Gavaskar who first made the

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  • Why the IPL is a success

    The appetite of the Indian cricket fan is insatiable. I for one was under the impression that they would have had their plates overfull with six weeks of World Cup fare and reckoned that the response for IPL-4 which commenced just six days after the final between India and Sri Lanka would be lukewarm. I could not have been more off the mark. Going by what one has seen over the first few days of the Twenty20 competition its popularity has not dimmed one bit. Matches have been well attended, fans have been glued to the TV yet again and wherever you go the discussion is no more on the World Cup but all about the Super Kings and the Knight Riders, the Royals and the Chargers, the Warriors and the Tuskers.

     

    That sums up the fascination for IPL and the Twenty20 format. Ever since its inception in 2008 the cash-rich tournament with its big names, razzle-dazzle, the Bollywood touch, the cheer leaders and effective entertainment value has touched a chord around the cricketing world. In its

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