Partab Ramchand

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Blog Posts by Partab Ramchand

  • MSD can do no wrong

    There have been instances in the past when the Indian
    cricket captain has been the total, complete and absolute leader, the
    undisputed master of all he surveyed. The cases of Ajit Wadekar in the early
    70s, Sunil Gavaskar in the late 70s and early 80s, Md Azharuddin in the early
    and mid 90s and Sourav Ganguly in the early years of the new millennium come
    immediately to mind. But no one has been in a more undisputed position than the
    present incumbent.


    Mahendra Singh Dhoni can do no wrong. He can walk on water
    or climb Mount Everest without oxygen. The cynics might still say he is lucky
    and that he has too many things in his favour. But then don't all successful
    captains have more than their share of good fortune? And after all did not
    Richie Benaud one of the greatest of all leaders point out that captaincy is
    ten percent skill and ninety per cent luck? Without that all-important element
    of good fortune even the shrewdest captains have seen their grandiose plans and

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  • Big win, but don’t forget the past

    Public memory is short and cricket followers in this country are generally creatures of emotion and not of logic. There is nothing wrong in showing emotion per se. But then these displays should be controlled and should not go over the top. Under the circumstances it is no surprise that in the wake of India's triumph in the World Cup the questions in polls follow along the expected lines. Is this the best Indian ODI team ever? Is MS Dhoni the best-ever Indian captain? Is this the greatest triumph in Indian cricket history? And not unexpectedly the majority answers in the affirmative.


    In a way this kind of reaction is not surprising given the monumental achievement of winning back the World Cup after 28 years. The point to note however is that these questions are asked every time there is a memorable Indian triumph. And over the years there have been quite a few.


    Old timers still talk about the celebrations that followed India's first-ever Test victory in February 1952 at Madras.

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  • The man behind Indian cricket’s renaissance

    Watching Gary Kirsten take the victory lap around the Wankhede stadium and being hoisted on to the shoulders of the Indian players who displayed their affection for the affable South African in no uncertain terms I immediately thought of Greg Chappell. Was he watching this back home in Australia? Did it rekindle memories of that disastrous campaign four years ago in the Caribbean when he was the autocratic coach?

    What a difference a more amiable coach makes! From the moment he took over charge of the Indian team more than three years ago Kirsten made all the right moves. Over more than 1100 days there was no let-up in this direction and the result is there for all to see, gape and admire. The No 1 ranked Test team in the world, the No 2 ranked ODI team, a number of notable triumphs in all formats of the game and a level of performance much higher than ever before. It was Kirsten who installed the sense of self belief in the players and made them mentally strong and this has culminated

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  • Dhoni and co dared to dream

    The cynics outnumbered the believers. The decibel notes from the critics were getting noisier and more vocal. Dean Jones came up with his now classic prediction: "India winning the World Cup? Tell Dhoni he is dreaming." He reckoned that with the bowling and fielding they had the Indians had no chance of winning. It was a view that was shared by a number of others.


    And yet when it all ended six weeks after it started the World Cup was India's. Yes, the same team that didn't seem to have a chance because of their weakness in bowling and fielding emerged champions and Dhoni was able to join Kapil Dev. The legendary cricketer had complained more than once that it was lonely at the top and longed to have company. Now he has someone worthy to share the pedestal with him.


    Self belief is one of the most enduring of all qualities when it comes to sport. Yes, Dhoni was dreaming of winning the World Cup along with Sachin Tendulkar and several other players. There is nothing wrong with

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  • The ‘C’ word is back to haunt South Africa

    Will anyone ever again consider South Africa as a serious contender for the World Cup or any other major event? Will the bookies ever again install South Africa as favourites? Will any punter back them to emerge champions? The answer to all these questions has to be a resounding "no" following the tragicomic events of Friday.

    Here was a team playing as champions. Here was the team to beat for the title said the experts and almost everyone else. Here was a team that was peaking at the right time after topping a highly competitive group. Here was a team that had an invincible look about it with an array of in-form batsmen, an all-time great in Jacques Kallis, arguably the best fielding unit in the game, a bowling line-up headed by the best fast bowler in the business and including a fascinating mix of spinners and led by a fiercely competitive and intensely patriotic captain. And yet here they were going down to a side which has always had the bridesmaid tag written all over it, with a

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  • The Cup Is Still Open

    It was an open World Cup five weeks ago. It is still an open World Cup going into the quarterfinals thanks to all the fancied teams making the grade. There is only a slight change in the scenario. India were the bookies' favourites on the eve of the competition; the favourites are now South Africa. But to be candid any one of about half a dozen teams has an almost equal chance of winning the cup. The days of one team dominating like the West Indies in the formative years of the World Cup of Australia in the first decade of the new millennium are over. Even during the preliminary stage the strengths and the weaknesses of the eight quarterfinalists were palpable. This has clearly been brought out by the fact that none of the eight teams could maintain an unbeaten record. Some lost one game, others two and the West Indies in fact went down in three before making the grade on better run rate.


    And so to the quarterfinals. The pairings are intriguing to say the least. The most entertaining

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  • No major surprises in quarters line-up

    Finally the men have been separated from the boys. The pretenders did threaten to upstage the big boys and even qualify for the quarterfinals. But when it came to the crunch situation it is the Goliaths who survived while the Davids fell by the wayside. But then it has always been like that when it comes to the World Cup or other such major events. Kenya's entry into the semifinals in 2003 can be taken as a one-off. The associate members will always be capable of pulling off the odd upset or two as they have done repeatedly over the years. After all in limited overs cricket it is a question of one team having a good day and another having a bad day at the office. Sustained campaigns however can only be carried out by experienced teams with the skill and class and the self belief to take such ups and downs in their strides.

    It was always on the cards that Australia, Pakistan, New Zealand and Sri Lanka from group A and South Africa, India, West Indies and England from group B would make

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  • Akhtar could have achieved a lot more

    His overall figures in all formats of the game are impressive. However as he rides off into the sunset there is the distinct feeling that Shoaib Akhtar could have achieved much more. But then a strange mixture of run-ins with the establishment, former players as well as his teammates allied to an endless list of injuries made his a start and stop career. He played in only 46 of the 84 Tests Pakistan played since his debut in November 1997 and 163 ODIs - a relatively small number for a subcontinent player - in over 13 years.

    As a personality and a cricketing character however Akhtar remains almost unsurpassable.  Yet as Akhtar insisted at the press conference called to announce his retirement from the international game he would not have done things any differently. No regrets whatsoever he insisted. He once said famously "I am not an angel. I have my good days and bad days. I am still learning day by day."  Yes sometime in the future one can almost hear Akhtar singing a la Frank

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  • India’s batting slides likely to continue

    Predictably enough all hell has broken loose after India's loss to South Africa. The inquests have begun and will seemingly never end. To be candid it was a defeat difficult to digest. To let go one winning hand is perhaps understandable; to let go two is inexcusable. India did not deserve to win and this is what is so hard to swallow.

    We never thought it would come to this but there is now a worrisome aspect about the batting. Two batting collapses against England and South Africa coupled with two
    inconsistent showings against Netherlands and Ireland allied to the fact that 80 percent of the runs from the bat against Bangladesh were compiled by two batsmen does not augur well for the future. It was thought that whatever the limitations of the bowling and fielding the lustrous batting would carry the Indians through. Now there is no such guarantee. Half of the line-up cannot be listed as contributors in the real sense and there is every reason to believe that the batting slides will

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  • India’s performance leaves a lot to be desired

    They are table toppers in Pool B but the Indian team's showing so far has not been in keeping with their record or their reputation as World Cup favourites. With two tough matches still to be played against South Africa and the West Indies they will have to raise the level of their performance if they wish to repeat the feat of Kapil's Devils in 1983 even if their entry into the quarterfinals is more or less assured.

    Figures may not always tell the whole story but a glance through the statistics associated with the Indian team during their World Cup campaign throws up some tell tale facts. The Indians are riding on the achievements of a few while the others have hardly contributed to the team's cause. The runs have come from the bats of Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh; the wickets have been taken by Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh. This clearly illustrates that half the squad hasn't really contributed much and that cannot be good for a team aspiring for

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