Skandan Sampath

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Blog Posts by Skandan Sampath

  • Miller gets it Wright for Kings XI Punjab

    Also See: Scorecard | Gallery | Sehwag helps Delhi storm past Mumbai

    It came down to 29 from 12 in the end, with David Miller (80*) and Mandeep Singh (77*) at the crease. The penultimate over began with Ashok Dinda being smashed for two fours by David Miller, one down the ground, and the other past point. Both deliveries being full tosses. It took a comforting gloved arm from Robin Uthappa to help Dinda keep his nerve. Giving away three singles is all right. But when Mandeep took two off the final ball, courtesy a misfield from third man Rahul Sharma, Dinda offered a mouthful.

    Was it in Bengali or in English? Difficult to tell.

    Luke Wright came in to bowl the final six deliveries. Miller and Mandeep traded strike, and the South African readied himself for the final four balls. Wright bowled full, and was smashed for six. Two runs later, the target came down to six from two. Man-of-the-Match Miller got a dull full toss, and was more than happy to send the ball over long off for a six, and

    Read More »from Miller gets it Wright for Kings XI Punjab
  • Three Cheers and Four Jeers

    Triple figures, three fours for a victory, three wickets for Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and more in our collection of cheers and jeers from Mohali. Go figure.

    The man with the moustache deserved the man of the match award
    Also See: Scorecard | Match Report | Cricket's Most Famous Moustaches

    Good start by Shikhar Dhawan:  A man with two pierced ear lobes got up, after making a desperate dive to get into the crease. With the 100th run in the pocket, he took his helmet off, raising his arms, with a smile aimed at the heavens. The shots that helped him enter the history books, were crisp and convincing. Dhawan’s strength is his superbly balanced stance, which ensures that he gets behind the ball at all times. The timing was excellent, and in full display, when he was essaying the cover drive, as also the ones that were driven on the up. The left-hander doesn’t play away from his body, but uses his feet to move towards the pitch of the ball. His inside-out shot against the spinners, with the feet criss-crossing like scissor blades, only added to Australia’s misery. Half-trackers and full tosses were given the respect they deserved, with the 27-year old’s gloves displaying pre-planned intent and restraint. Was

    Read More »from Three Cheers and Four Jeers
  • Cheers and Jeers: Why are Australia turning over?

    Five moments in our collection of cheers and jeers from India's win over Australia in Hyderabad

    Jadeja used his 'armed' ball to run Henriques out

    It’s the shot selection.

    Yes. There  have been some great deliveries from the Indian spinners, but to attribute their turnover to super-human brilliance would be as good as calling a right-arm spinner a chinaman. If you saw Ed Cowan’s expression after being beaten by Jadeja, and the fact that he was pouting his appreciation to both the bowler and the fielders around him, you could say that he was all at sea.

    Or should we say lack of experience?

    To a delivery turning in, Cowan played on the back foot, and the edge first hit Dhoni’s pad, before Virender Sehwag caught it in the slips. Mind you, he had his shades on, and not his spectacles.

    Jadeja used his 'armed' ball

    There is a lot being said about Ravindra Jadeja’s place in the Indian Test team. But when the man picks up the ball, fumbles, tries again and throws the ball at the stumps. It's out. When the sphere left his wrists, propelled by an under-arm throw, Moises Henriques was well outside the crease. Watching Mahendra Singh Dhoni Read More »from Cheers and Jeers: Why are Australia turning over?
  • Rewind: When fast bowlers attack

    February 26, 1980 — An acrimonious series hits a new low in Christchurch when Croft shoulders umpire Goodall.

    Holding vents his ire on the wickets.

    Disputes between cricketers and umpires are not unheard of on the cricket field. When a genuine appeal is turned down, peeved bowlers usually ask umpires where they went wrong, or look away in disgust, to avoid the match referee’s gaze. But 33 years ago, Kiwi umpire Fred Goodall got a feel of West Indian muscle, in an ill-tempered series in New Zealand that was fraught with ugly disputes between the visitors and the match officials.

    In the first Test at Dunedin, Michael Holding was unhappy when denied a wicket by umpire John Hastie, who turned down a caught-behind appeal. The man nicknamed ‘Whispering Death’ took out his frustration by kicking the stumps — an act that was clearly unsportsmanlike. West Indies lost the match to New Zealand by one wicket.

    The second Test at Lancaster Park in Christchurch was no different, when umpire Fred Goodall said no when the Windies wanted Kiwi skipper Geoff Howarth back in the dressing room. Both teams went back to their dressing rooms for tea.

    Read More »from Rewind: When fast bowlers attack
  • Will the doors open for Wasim Jaffer?

    Age is a number, but there is safety in Jaffer's numbers.

    Wasim Jaffer.

    The first thing that will strike you about him, is the ease with which he operates from the crease.  The manner in which he slips into a stance, bat slowly moving between the pads, moving comfortably onto the front foot, before getting behind the ball. Knife on butter. When he gets on top of the delivery, the man picks the gap with a silken grace that is pleasing to watch.

    Well done.

    When the cut shot is on offer, the feet move towards off-stump, and he moves closer to the ball. The elbows move inward, bat in tow, as the slash sends the ball past point for four. The man can drive, nice firm step forward, elbow out, with loads of timing. The head keeps still, with an expression that betrays nothing. Not happiness, not even a smile, maybe a shrinking dimple behind the beard. The same when he takes a foot forward, and leaves the cherry alone, not before making sure that nothing is left to chance.

    Well left.

    Turns out that he can play spin too. From the batting crease on one Read More »from Will the doors open for Wasim Jaffer?
  • Agarkar: Made full use of the home conditions

    Sachin Tendulkar and Mumbai skipper Ajit Agarkar hold aloft the Ranji Trophy for 2012-13. Picture by Skandan Sampath, Yahoo! Cricket

    After winning Mumbai's 40th Ranji Trophy title with two days to spare, skipper Ajit Agarkar was happy that his side made the most of the home conditions at the Wankhede Stadium.

    "The conditions were in our favour. Dhawal Kulkarni pitched the ball in the right areas. There was a lot of moisture, and we bowled in all the right areas. We know these conditions well. It helps," said the victorious captain.

    Mumbai humble Saurashtra
    Mumbai Diary - Day 3

    When asked if he was surprised by Saurashtra's meek surrender, Agarkar said, "I was a little surprised. But when they were 3-4 wickets down, it was clear that it was our game. They don't have the batting depth that we have. Their first innings total of 148 made all the difference."

    The 35-year old was all praise for Man-of-the-Match Wasim Jaffer who made 132 for Mumbai in the first innings, "Wasim was exceptional. He keeps doing it year after year. To play that innings on this pitch under pressure is something that makes us all happy."

    When Read More »from Agarkar: Made full use of the home conditions
  • Unfortunate that Sachin got run out: Jaffer

    RANJI TROPHY FINAL: The Mumbai batsman made 132 and was involved in Tendulkar's dismissal today.

    Tendulkar in a Ranji game against Railways in November.

    Mumbai: Veteran Mumbai opener Wasim Jaffer went past former team-mate Amol Muzumdar as the highest run-getter in Indian domestic cricket, after crossing  the 16,000-run mark in First Class cricket on Day 2 of the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy final against Saurashtra.

    He also made his 32nd century, the most by any batsman in the Ranji Trophy, putting Mumbai in command of the final. Mumbai were 287-6 at the close of play, with a meaty lead of 139 over Saurashtra, who were bowled out for just 148 yesterday.

    “I am very happy to get a ton," said Jaffer at the close of play. "The two records were playing on my mind. As it was being printed so much.”

    In the course of his innings, Jaffer was involved in the run-out of Sachin Tendulkar, who made 22.

    Tendulkar pushed the ball to point, took off, but Jaffer sent him back. By the time Sachin wanted to get back, the bails were off. When asked about what Tendulkar told him after the run out, Jaffer said: “Sachin asked me to move on. It is not something Read More »from Unfortunate that Sachin got run out: Jaffer
  • Around the Wankhede

    SIDELIGHTS: Ranji Trophy final, Mumbai vs Saurashtra

    A Mumbai local train passes a boundary wall of the Wankhede Stadium, January 26, 2013, Mumbai. (Photo by Skandan Sampath)

    AS ONE walks in through the Vinoo Mankad gate at the Wankhede Stadium, the ticket counter on the left is manned by a gentleman in charge of selling the paper that authorizes entry into the stadium for the big ticket final- Mumbai Vs Saurashtra. A smart alec offers him a 50 rupee note for a ticket that costs Rs. 150.

    Like the man was going to buy that.

    A first class pass.After returning the cash, without a ticket, he returns to his duties, giving away tickets to fans who are willing to pay the right price. Frisking is a routine affair, and once the men in the black safari suits are satisfied with  the contents of your baggage, the ‘first class’ ticket allows you to enjoy the biggest first class experience that Indian cricket has to offer — a Ranji Trophy final.

    Past the food counters are fans posing to take pictures below the board that says Sachin Tendulkar stand, which is locked and empty. At least in the morning. As the deep throats in the North Stand chant his name, the little man goes about his duties

    Read More »from Around the Wankhede
  • Kulkarni: Pitch was great for pacers

    Mumbai:  Dhawal Kulkarni was a happy man after taking 4/24 against Saurashtra on day one of the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy final at the Wankhede Stadium.

    “I am very happy. Would have been great if I would have got a fifer. I enjoyed taking all four wickets today,” said Kulkarni right after stumps.

    “It was a good decision to win the toss and bowl first. The pitch was great for pacers, and the moisture in it helped us a bit. It will become fast, as it it turns hard. Spinners should have a role on day four and five,” said the right-arm pacer when asked about the pitch.

    Saurashtra skipper Jaydev Shah admitted that things didn’t go right for his side.

    “The toss was important. It wasn’t easy to score runs. This wicket is for fast bowlers. Mumbai got the right breakthrough at the right time. I think 200-250 would have been a  good total,” Shah said when asked about his side’s below-par total of 148 all out.

    When asked about his decision to bat at No.6

    “I had viral fever. That’s the reason why I came down

    Read More »from Kulkarni: Pitch was great for pacers
  • Agarkar: Lucky to have Sachin

    Tendulkar's presence in the dressing room helps, says Mumbai skipper Ajit Agarkar.

    Mumbai: While Mumbai look to pick up their 40th Ranji Trophy title, their skipper Ajit Agarkar, is particularly happy about the presence of one man in the dressing room.

    On Mumbai's road to the final

    I am very happy with the way we have gone so far. We never had a perfect game. The one against Baroda was the easiest. Had to scrape through in most.  Hope that we play well. From struggling a little bit to qualify, to being in the final. Very happy with the way we are. Looking forward to the final.

    Final Preview: Mumbai vs Saurashtra
    Jaydev Shah: Wish Pujara and Jadeja were here

    On opponents Saurashtra

    For anyone to reach the final, it is not easy. We don't underestimate anyone. Any opposition in the final is dangerous. Must be at your best. It's a one-off game.

    On Sachin Tendulkar's presence

    We have the great man. Sachin's presence in the dressing room helps. We are very happy that he is part of the squad. He helps the younger guys out. We have been lucky enough to have him. The timing is right.

    Read More »from Agarkar: Lucky to have Sachin


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