Partab Ramchand

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Blog Posts by Partab Ramchand

  • The dominant force

    If Indian cricket's traditional strength has been the batting, for Pakistan it is their bowling and more specifically seam and swing bowling. For all the great batsmen and the few high quality spinners that Pakistan has produced, the dominant force has been the pace attack.

     

    Fazal Mahmood set the ball rolling by making his presence felt right from Pakistan's first Test in 1952, and till this day the tradition has been maintained. One glance at the list of leading Pakistan bowlers will confirm this for even while the names of Abdul Qadir, Saqlain Mushtaq, Iqbal Qasim, Intikhab Alam, Mushtaq Ahmed and Danish Kaneria figure prominently towering above them as far achievements for Pakistan cricket are concerned are the likes of Imran Khan, Sarfraz Nawaz, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar.

     

    What has been the point of much debate is how Pakistan are able to produce so many great fast bowlers even while India have the occasional Kapil Dev, Javagal Srinath or Zaheer Khan. And

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  • Yousuf – The supreme artist

    The uplifting, invigorating effect that sometimes just one player can have on the whole team! That point was driven home by the presence of Mohammed Yousuf in the Pakistan side during the just concluded third Test against England at the Oval. 

     

    In the previous four Tests they played against Australia and England, Pakistan's middle order looked fragile and it was obvious that Yousuf would have to be back to lend a semblance of balance to the batting.

     

    What a joy it was to see Yousuf in action again! His class, skill and experience is undeniable but what added the dramatic touch to his comeback is that he announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket which was clearly a direct result of the treatment and punishment handed out to him in the aftermath of Pakistan's disastrous tour of Australia last winter of which he was captain.

     

    Yousuf was handed an indefinite ban according to the recommendations of an inquiry committee set up by the Pakistan Cricket Board to

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  • How much is too much cricket?

    How much is too much cricket? Where does one draw the line? The issue has cropped up following the complaint by the Indian players that their heavy workload is taking its toll. The international schedule really is tight, but then, it would be easy to say that the Indian cricketers should not crib about too much cricket. This is the way the game is played these days for better or for worse and it is time they accepted it particularly as they are being paid handsomely as professionals.

     

    There was a time when cricket was a seasonal sport, when the season in India ran from November to March, when there were just a handful of Test matches every year, when the sport was more a leisurely activity. The change towards a packed calendar took place many years ago, but for some time now it has been virtually non-stop cricket. No more is it a seasonal sport, it is played round the year.

     

    The formats have increased, the teams have multiplied and there is demand for more and more cricket from

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  • VVS Laxman – Mr Elegance to Mr Crisis Man

    Five years ago, I wrote "at 30, Laxman is the youngest member of the famed quartet and it can be said that his most prolific years are ahead of him." Naturally, I am doubly happy that the touch artist from Hyderabad has proved me right but to be candid almost anyone could have made the same prediction. From Mr Elegance to Mr Crisis Man, VVS Laxman has played the whole of gamut of roles combining substance with style along the way.

     

    In a poll conducted on a website a few years ago, Laxman's 281 against Australia at Kolkata in March 2001 was adjudged the greatest innings ever played by an Indian in Test cricket. It was final confirmation of something that had been acknowledged by cricket followers, experts and fellow players ever since he crafted an unforgettable knock - a near triple century of epic proportions which turned a Test match around on its head so markedly that only for the third time in Test history a side that enforced the follow on crumbled to defeat.

     

    Since then,

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  • Leading Indian batsmen – then and now

    Over the years, Indian cricket has been fortunate in the batting their traditional strength. Swashbucklers and stonewallers, technicians and artists, craftsmen and artisans, right-handers and left-handers - you name it and a varied field has graced Indian cricket for almost 80 years.

     

    So many of them have run up an enviable record and this thought came to my mind when just the other day I had a cursory glance at the nine Indian batsmen who have crossed 6000 runs in Tests.

     

    The list of outstanding batsmen of course is much longer but opportunities were rather limited in the formative years of Indian Test cricket and it is no surprise that all these nine players made their entry during the last 40 years when there was the scope to figure in more matches.

     

    All the same, you still have to score runs consistently while notching up the three-figure knocks at regular intervals to figure in the top bracket and there is little doubt that these nine batsmen are symbolic of the myriad of

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  • Full credit to the Indian batsmen

    The Indian batting is so strong that it has rewritten one of cricket's oldest clichés that bowling wins matches and batting can only help draw them. The most lustrous batting line-up in the world has not only drawn matches from hopeless situations - Napier 2009 is perhaps the most shining example - but has also scripted victories when everything has seemed lost. Colombo 2010 underlined this. The great thing about the star-studded line-up is that it is able to ride over a crisis when there are a couple of failures. The No 2 slot for example in the just-concluded Test series against Sri Lanka contributed little, whether it was Gautam Gambhir or Murali Vijay, Rahul Dravid at No 3 contributed less than 100 runs in five innings.

     

    The bowling not unexpectedly was a big flop. And, yet, the Indians drew the series honourably - a creditable feat considering the fact that it is never easy to win a Test series in Sri Lanka and the Indians themselves lost the last two contests in 2001 and 2008.

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  • The marathon man of international cricket

    He just goes on and on setting records that will probably last forever. It could be dangerous to make such predictions what with the proliferation of international cricket matches, but there is no such risk in sticking one' s neck out where Sachin Tendulkar is concerned. At an age when cricketers at least contemplate retirement - if they have not already called it a day - he is playing some of his finest knocks.

     

    His hunger for success remains undiminished, his appetite for runs and centuries insatiable and he displays the keenness of a teenager just starting out on his career. Seeing him on the field these days, it is difficult to believe that come November, it will be 21 years since he made his Test debut as a curly-haired 16-year-old against Pakistan at Karachi. Tendulkar' s latest record is for once not associated with runs and centuries but with durability. The current Test against Sri Lanka at Colombo is his 169th surpassing Steve Waugh' s mark by one.

     

    I well remember Colin

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  • Raina is made of sterner stuff

    I have always maintained that whatever problems there may be as far as the Indian bowling is concerned there is truly an embarrassment of riches when it comes to the batting. The most lustrous batting line up in the world has been going strong for a long time now and even as most of them are in the evenings of their illustrious careers there is no cause for despondency. That is the foremost lesson that Suresh Raina's century on debut has underlined.

     

    After Sourav Ganguly retired, Yuvraj Singh was the obvious choice for the No 6 slot. He certainly had earned the right by some sterling performances and was the acknowledged leader of the GenNext of Indian batting. Despite several chances the prodigiously gifted left hander did not exactly cement his place. However there was no cause for worry. There were several claimants including Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Cheteswar Pujara but there was little doubt that Suresh Raina was going to be the first pick should Yuvraj be replaced for some

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  • The Sri Lankan quartet seems to be peaking

    The Indian batting line-up is considered to be the most lustrous in the game today, but going by events over the past couple of years Sri Lanka's batting too seems to be almost as strong.

     

    Yes, I am aware that the vast majority of the feats have been performed at home or in sub continental pitches. But, the fact remains that Sri Lanka's batsmen have never really failed abroad. They have continued to be among the runs though they have not been able to feast on the bowling as they do at home or in rather familiar conditions.

     

    The first time I saw the Sri Lankan batsmen in action on their maiden tour of India in 1982, I remember thinking that in style and method they resembled the West Indian approach. I observed then while reviewing the tour that "once they acquire more experience and the rough edges in their cricket are smoothened out they may well pose a threat in international cricket.''

     

    This was when I followed the adventurous exploits of Duleep Mendis and Roy Dias. During his

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  • Bowling is a major cause for worry

    Not unexpectedly, India's defeat at Galle has led to the usual over reaction. Cricket fans in this country tend to go over board when it comes to victory or defeat. It's not that India had not suffered setbacks in Sri Lanka before.

     

    In fact, they had lost the Test series both in 2001 and 2008. Perhaps, the hurt is felt more this time as India are ranked No 1 but then this is not a team to be ranked alongside other top rated squads like the West Indian sides under Clive Lloyd and Vivian Richards or the Australians under Steve Waugh.

     

    India are perched at the top, no doubt, but just four points separate them and South Africa while Australia are third only one point behind South Africa. Indeed, India will be toppled by Sri Lanka if they lose the current series 2-0. That's how precariously they are placed at the top.

     

    Ian Chappell said last year when India took over at the top that their reign would not be an extended one and going by the closeness of the tussle for the No 1 spot one

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