• For the current generation of Indian cricket fans, the trouble at the top of the order is an all-too-familiar one. But while the days of make-shift openers are behind us, getting the right combination could prove tricky in the coming days.

    Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Murali Vijay are the openers for the New Zealand series. With four hundreds and a 99 this year, Sehwag was an easy call. But Gambhir and Vijay are in a joust for the second spot.

    The fit-again Gambhir will be Sehwag’s preferred partner in Ahmedabad. But some issues need to be addressed. Do you go by past performances or form? Vijay is clearly the form player at this juncture. His 139 in Bangalore was as critical to India’s series win as his 37 on Day 5.

    ~+~+~+~

    Murali Vijay

    With a hundred against Australia, Murali Vijay is the in-form man.

    In contrast, Gambhir’s recent scores have been 12, 1, 25 against South Africa, 2 & 0 in Galle, and 25 & 0 in Mohali. One could discount the duck in Mohali, where he was done in by the

    Read More »from Whither the in-form player?
  • Cheteshwar Pujara showed a lot of character - Sachin Tendulkar

    The amount of confidence in Pujara's 72 runs in India's second innings at Chinnaswamy was like he has been there for a while. The debutant played shots with immense maturity on a wearing wicket - as if he had played some 20-30 Tests for India already and was feeling right at home. Laxman wouldn't mind that...

    Chasing 207 for a win on the last day, Pujara - who was sent ahead of Dravid - was fluent and shared two crucial partnerships with Vijay and Tendulkar. Dhoni and co might take all the credit for his promotion to number three, but the 22-year-old was the real turnaround for the match. Ponting and his bowlers could only watch the future of Indian batting in full bloom.

    In the first innings too, Pujara started with an awesome cover drive before a threateningly low delivery from Mitchell Johnson did him in. However in the second innings he dealt the exact one from Ben Hilfenhaus to the cover boundary - a shot that would

    Read More »from Not a Kid Anymore!
  • Since the inception of the Indian Premier League a little over three years ago, Lalit Modi has run it like his personal fiefdom, carving out large chunks of the pie for family, friends and well-wishers. For the better part of two years, everyone -- the Board of Control for Cricket in India honchos, large sections of the media, even the public -- knew what was going on, but in the euphoria over the building of "the world's biggest sporting brand", they chose to turn a blind eye to behind-the-scenes shenanigans.

    And then Modi [acting, ironically, on the advice of the then BCCI president] chose to out the Shashi Tharoor involvement in the Kochi franchise, and all hell predictably broke loose. I've chronicled that event, and all that happened since, so exhaustively that there is little point in an extended iteration. Net net, the single biggest outcome was the universal demonization of Lalit Modi, who was depicted as the source for all ills in the IPL, and by extension Indian cricket. The

    Read More »from The IPL Fiasco: Battle Royale in the Offing

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