Partab Ramchand

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Blog Posts by Partab Ramchand

  • An all-rounder is the answer to Indian cricket’s dilemma

    For sometime now, the Indian team in the absence of an all-rounder has adopted either of the two options open to them in ODIs – seven batsmen and four bowlers or six batsmen and five bowlers. More often than not they have played to their main strength – batting – by adopting the former policy and letting players like Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh and Sourav Ganguly to share the fifth bowler's quota of ten overs.


    Both theories have their loopholes. A bowler short has frequently meant the side conceding too many runs while a batsman short has also led to the side being dismissed cheaply. An all-rounder is the answer to Indian cricket's dilemma for then the combination becomes six plus one plus four and this could well be the winning equation.


    The value of an all-rounder cannot be overemphasized. Kapil Dev's dynamic qualities were one reason why India had such a splendid record in one day cricket during his heyday in the 80s, including two major triumphs – the

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  • Indian cricket has deep wells of strength

    The transition process has commenced in real earnest. First Anil Kumble and then Sourav Ganguly left the international stage that they had adorned for so many years. Going by recent events it should be Rahul Dravid's turn next. And then, perhaps, it will be some more time before Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman ride off into the sunset. 


    How does one replace such giants who have been pillars of strength to Indian cricket and played an integral role in shaping arguably the greatest phase in the game's history in this country? One notable victory followed another, the Indians acquired the happy habit of winning abroad on a regular basis and the team has risen to joint No 2 in the Test rankings. Will the departure of these all time greats lead to a slump in the cricketing fortunes?


    One remembers Greg Chappell, Dennis Lillee and Rodney Marsh all calling it a day after the Sydney Test against Pakistan in January 1984. How Australia struggled for years following this triple blow! They

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  • Ishant is a stayer and not a sprinter

    Over the years I have seen innumerable young cricketers hailed as messiahs only for them to falter early in their careers and fall by the wayside after being unable to handle the pressures of high expectations. Under the circumstances I am always wary of handing out plaudits aplenty to an up and coming cricketer. I am no cynic but prefer to wait and watch before passing judgment.


    These days it appears that former cricketers, his contemporaries and the media are all going gaga over Ishant Sharma. Is he worth all the attention, the heady praise and the lofty adjectives that have been used to describe the young man and his bowling skills? You bet he is. He can safely be recommended as a long term prospect.


    In fact, former Australian fast bowler Damien Fleming has already spoken of Ishant in the same breath as Glenn McGrath and is of the view that he could end up with 500 wickets like the great Aussie paceman.


    In racing parlance, Ishant is a stayer and not a sprinter. It is not

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  • MS Dhoni – man with the Midas touch

    The result of the India – Australia series only served to confirm what has been known for many years now – that at home India are almost impossible to beat. Since the South Africans in February – March 2000 became the first team to win a Test series here since Pakistan in 1987, the Indians have lost one contest – against the Australians four years ago.


    However, spotted their record may be away from home the Indians in their own backyard are a formidable outfit and for any team coming here to win a Test series the campaign can straightaway be termed as Mission Impossible. Simply put if the world's top ranking team loses a four-match series 2-0 then does any other team stand a chance? It is another matter that Ricky Ponting's Aussie squad is one in decline following the retirements of many greats. Still, if they did not have the bowling they had the batting line-up required to combat the Indians.


    From their viewpoint, it must be galling to be bowled out twice in the series. Then

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  • Tendulkar set to break another barrier

    What's the average lifespan of an international cricketer? Well, it really varies due to various factors. How good you are, how consistent your performances are, how fit you are and in Indian cricket how you are able to withstand the merciless pressures of high expectations.


    The longest lifespan of an international cricketer is – would you believe it – 30 years and 315 days. That was the legendary Wilfred Rhodes who played his first Test in 1899 and his last in 1930. At the age of 52 years and 165 days, he remains the world's oldest Test cricketer. It may be hard to come to terms with certain facts but there are cricketers who have lasted more than a quarter of a century on the international stage. And in case readers think that all these would probably be in the early years of the 20th century like Rhodes it is not necessarily true.


    A cricketer of what can be loosely called the modern era had a 27-year gap between his first Test and his last and I am referring to former England

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  • Tendulkar is still ambitious

    Every time Sachin Tendulkar is among the runs or gets a hundred my mind always goes back to the headline in a leading national daily in January 2006 and I allow myself a wry smile. It seemed unbelievable but no one could doubt that it was very much there in black and white and in almost blasphemously large type on the front page.


    ENDULKAR? screamed the headline just because the great man had failed in three successive innings in the Tests in Pakistan. The now infamous headline can now be brushed aside as sensationalism or a vulgarly irresponsible job by a deskman who tried to be too clever but was made to eat humble and distasteful pie.


    At the time, Tendulkar had scored a little over 10,000 runs with 35 hundreds at an average of just over 56. Now, almost three years later, the little big man is still very much around having scored about 2000 runs more, having hit five more centuries and the average is just over 55. Moreover, after breaking one barrier – 12,000 runs - he has

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  • Kumble – a spinner with a fast bowler’s attitude

    Indian cricket has thrown up the most fascinating variety of spin bowlers the world has known but even in a line-up of illustrious tweakers Anil Kumble can more than hold his own. It is not just his tally of 619 Test wickets the third highest in cricketing history or his perfect ten at the Kotla or his standing as the match winner supreme.


    The enduring image of Kumble will I suspect be that of the great trier, a cricketer who never gave up however insurmountable the odds, however flat the pitch and however formidable the opposition, one who took adverse conditions and situations in his stride. He was almost obstinate in his never-say-die attitude. Throw him a challenge and he rose to the occasion gloriously.


    Kumble was always known as the spinner with a fast bowler's attitude. Probably, this came about because he started his career as a medium pacer in schools cricket. Being tall and energetic he did a passable job but when he was 15 his elder brother Dinesh persuaded him to

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  • Gambhir makes giant strides

    He was the small boy among the big men. Now he is well on his way to upstaging the big men. The transformation of Gautam Gambhir has been truly remarkable. From now on it is impossible to think of the Indian team without a substantial contribution from him at the top of the order. From being in and out of the team he is now a permanent fixture – as permanent as the superstars.   


    Unexpected heroes are the favourite subjects for fiction writers and Gambhir has certainly been one in recent months. At 27 the pugnacious left-hander from Delhi had over the first three years of his Test career experienced the ups and downs being in and out of both the Test and ODI squads.


    But since the Test series against Sri Lanka he has been a tower of strength at the top of the order, striking a particularly fruitful association with his Delhi mate and good friend Virender Sehwag and made it that much easier for the exalted middle order to play that much more freely. Mental strength allied to his

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  • Both pace and spin can succeed in India

    Does a visiting team win a Test series in India with a pace-oriented attack or is spin the key? The question is relevant as we have an Australian team in our midst aiming to win the Test series with an all-out pace attack with no spin bowling worth the name.


    Given the traditional nature of Indian pitches – slow, bald and batsman friendly - they would seem to spell the death knell of fast bowlers. Given this background it must be surprising to note that the best fast bowlers have overcome this handicap and done pretty well.


    One remembers as far back as 1956, Ray Lindwall, then 35, and reckoned to be over the hill, taking seven for 38 in India’s second innings in hot and humid Madras to bowl Australia to an innings win with a day to spare. Not unexpectedly, the visitors won that three-Test series by two matches to nil.


    Yes, the intense heat and humidity is another obstacle fast bowlers have to hurdle across but this did not stop Wesley Hall and Roy Gilchrist from mauling the

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  • It would be a folly to underestimate the Aussies

    Commenting on the eve of the Test series, I had mentioned the home advantage that India enjoyed and this was where I reckoned India would have the edge over Australia, even if on paper there was very little to choose between the contestants.


    India's formidable record at home is indeed such that even the No 1 ranked team in the world has found it difficult to overcome. In the last eight years, India have lost only one Test series in this country - to Australia four years ago. And, as is well known that was Australia's first series win in India for 35 years.


    What, however, makes the Mohali victory doubly sweet is the emphatic manner in which it was achieved – the biggest win for India in terms of runs - and the team work involved. Indian victories are generally the handiwork of two or three players who cover up adequately for the failures of others. Even, future generations who take a cursory glance at the scores will be able to conclude that this must have been a most satisfying

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