Partab Ramchand

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Blog Posts by Partab Ramchand

  • Expect some upsets this World Cup


    A look at the groupings and a glance at the squads and it is clear that the tenth edition of the World Cup wears a very open look. There can be no outright favourites as was the case on most previous occasions. It doesn't matter if the favourites did not go on to win the trophy but on form and reputation they were installed as favourites like the West Indies in 1975, 1979 and 1983, India and Pakistan in 1987, Australia in 1992 and Australia again in 2003 and 2007. Only in 1996 and 1999 were there no clear cut favourites and while Sri Lanka won on the first occasion as outsiders Australia were not exactly outsiders when they won on the second occasion - the first of three successive triumphs.

     

    Indeed going by what has been witnessed over the years one wouldn't be surprised to see shock results at the preliminary stage itself. David getting the better of Goliath always makes for interesting news and the World Cup has seen its share of surprising, shocking and sensational results. With

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  • Hysteria won’t help win the World Cup

    The 30-day countdown has just started. The groupings are known, the squads have been announced and it is clear that the 2011 World Cup is round the corner. One has only to see the TV channels, the various websites and every publication be it news, sports or business to know that the cricketing world - or more specifically the Indian subcontinent - is going to be engulfed by the fever that comes around once every four years. This time the temperature is going to be even more 'hot' what with the mega event being held in the subcontinent. There is a feeling of deja vu as so many of us have been on this road before. In 1987 and 1996 we were witness to what effect the conduct of the World Cup in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka has on its people and the environs. Normal work is at a standstill and discussions at clubs and homes, offices and bus stops centres around the previous night’s fixture or the match to be held on the following day. Who will win?

     

    How many runs will Sachin Tendulkar

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  • All is well in the ODIs

     

    Whatever happens in the last two ODIs the Indian team has already performed most creditably in the five-match series against South Africa. For one thing South Africa like India are tigers at home. Secondly the Indians have a particularly poor record in bilateral matches in South Africa. Notwithstanding the impressive showing in the Test matches, the Indians were given little chance in the ODIs especially as it was known that they would be without some leading players. Taking the field without Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Praveen Kumar can do considerable damage to confidence levels. After all these four are among the first eleven for the World Cup. But then I have always maintained that the reserve strength of the Indian team is admirable and as such there is nothing really to worry about the immediate future. This has been underscored by the performance in the ODIs.

     

    It is never easy to come back after taking a 135-run beating but the Indians have displayed

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  • India’s WC Squad: Best Possible Combination

    There was never any chance of the selectors springing up
    major surprises when it came to picking the 15-member squad for the World Cup.
    The Indian team has been sporting a well settled look for sometime now and the
    first eleven as well as the reserve players too virtually picked themselves.

     

    About the only minor surprise is the non-inclusion of a
    reserve wicketkeeper. It is likely to be a long campaign and injuries are not
    uncommon. In fact a few of the players picked are already having injury
    problems and it is to be hoped that they will be fit and ready by the time
    February 19 rolls around. Under the circumstances if - Heaven forbid - Dhoni is
    injured and unable to play a match or two then a non specialist keeper will
    have to be behind the stumps and it is a frightening thought. Of course the
    selectors can always rush Dinesh Kartik or Parthiv Patel what with the
    tournament being held in the sub continent. But it is always better to include
    a reserve wicketkeeper as a sort of

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  • Who Will Make The World Cup Squad?

    Just about five weeks remain for cricket's mega event to
    commence and team preparations are on in real earnest. The probables have been
    picked and the contestants are honing their limited over skills all over the
    world. A couple of countries have already announced their 15-member squads who
    will be on duty during the World Cup coming back to the sub continent after 15
    years.

     

    We in India eagerly await the unveiling of the national
    squad which should be out in a few days time. That has not stopped thousands of
    cricket fans from coming out with their 15 and a cursory glance at these squads
    shows few surprises. Most of the team members actually pick themselves and it
    is only the fringe or reserve players - two or three - who would be the subject
    of some debate.   

     

    On form and reputation it is clear that the first eleven
    should read something like this - Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin
    Tendulkar, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh,
    Parveen

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  • Jacques Kallis: A genuine all rounder

    In case anyone hasn't noticed the number of genuine all rounders have been diminishing. From the heydays of Richard Hadlee, Imran Khan, Kapil Dev and Ian Botham in the 80s the question now beckons: Where are the all rounders? Well, you don't have to look too far. After all there's always Jacques Kallis. But where are the others? I mean the cricketers who could command a place in the playing eleven either on their batting or either on their bowling. I am not really surprised. With the demands of international cricket being what it is the player who can bat and bowl - and I don't mean a bits and pieces cricketer like in Twenty20 or Fifty50 - is a vanishing breed. However fit a player is the body can take only so much and no more - unless of course you are Kallis.

     

    Gary Sobers? Remember him. The greatest all round cricketer who ever graced the game. He could bat (8032 runs in 93 Tests, 26 centuries, top score of 365 not out, average 57.78), he could bowl (235 wickets, average 34, six

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  • India Deserve To Be The No 1 Test Team

    It doesn't really matter if the No 1 team in the world did not win the Test series in South Africa. Having lost all the four previous contests in that country the MS Dhoni led Indian team can take a lot of credit for having finished with a squared series in South Africa for the first time. That they managed to win one of the three games with a rather mediocre bowling line-up is perhaps the most encouraging aspect.

    The bowling has always been a major worry for the Indians even as they have remained at the top of the rankings for more than a year now. With the most lustrous batting order in the game frequently covering up for them the bowlers have just about managed to hold their own with some difficulty. But the three-match series again underlined the fact that the Indians are over dependant on Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh and if these two have an off day then tough times are ahead for the team. Unlike in batting where there are many to shoulder the responsibility if one or two fail

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  • How ODIs altered the face of cricket

    Forty years ago a match was played at Melbourne. It was staged quite by accident but unexpectedly created the finances, shape and tone of the modern game. It will not be an exaggeration to say that the limited overs game has altered the face of an art form known as cricket. One must not forget that one-day cricket made its appearance when the game was sorely in need of something faster and attractive. Since then it has stayed the course, spread its wings much wider, made changes to its basic structure whenever required and has gained in popularity many times over.

     

    Actually limited overs cricket had made its bow at the county level in England with the introduction of the Gillette Cup in 1963. The authorities worried by the lack of attendances at three-day county matches came up with this shortened version in a bid to attract crowds. The tournament was an instant success and led to other similar competitions like the John Player League in 1969 and the Benson & Hedges Cup three years

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  • How can sledging be ‘part of the game’?

    As a staunch traditionalist who has long bemoaned the growing
    misbehaviour of players on the cricket field I am deeply saddened by
    Peter Siddle’s remark that he is a better bowler when he is sledging.
    One always thought that a sportsman becomes better through the age old
    qualities of skills acquired through hard work.

    What the
    Australian pace bowler did after dismissing Matt Prior in England's
    second innings at Perth was unpardonable but what is worse that he
    remains unapologetic and even defiant about his despicable act terming
    the episode as "part of the game". Since when are contemptible acts part
    of the game?

    What is sure not to improve matters is Kevin
    Pietersen saying that he is comfortable with the levels of sledging in
    the Ashes series. While admitting that there had been verbal clashes
    between the players in the first three matches of the five-match series
    he goes on to say that "there’s nothing that’s been overboard."

    The
    unhappy scenario is complete with Paul Marsh -

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  • Time to do some introspection

    A battle has been lost, not the war. The Indians have got a few days off to try and recover from the despondency of losing the first Test by an innings with nearly a day to spare. The think tank could well use the time to do some introspection.

     

    Let's face facts. The Indian team is ranked No 1 entirely on merit. Besides the traditional superiority at home they have over the last half a dozen years won contests in Pakistan, West Indies, England and New Zealand besides sharing rubbers in Sri Lanka and Australia. Narrow losses in Sri Lanka, South Africa and Australia form the red column in their balance sheet.

     

    The point is that, South Africa the other contender for the top spot spoilt their chances of succeeding Australia by losing at home to the Aussies after getting the better of them 'Down Under'. Moreover in India, they have only succeeded in drawing two successive series and are yet to emulate Hansie Cronje's side that won the two-match contest in this country in 2000. Besides,

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