• It is only fitting that two stalwarts of the game will cross paths for one last time in the final of the 2011 World Cup at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium. While this will be Muttiah Muralitharan's last international match; it is more than likely that though Sachin Tendulkar will continue playing international cricket, the final on April 2, 2011, would be his swansong in World Cups.

    Tendulkar and Muralitharan have had contrasting careers. Tendulkar's career has mainly been controversy-free, but the same can't be said of Muralitharan, whose bowling action was under the scanner for quite a while before it was finally and rightly deemed to be legal. It is a testament to his talent and spirit though that Muralitharan didn’t let these controversies affect his performances on the field; in fact, he came back stronger more often than not each time after his skill was questioned. Tendulkar has had to deal with the expectations of more than a billion people for most of his 21-year international

    Read More »from An ode to the two masters
  • Would we win the Cup, seems to be the only question playing on everyone's mind. While the answer to that could be an emphatic yes, the bigger question that we should be asking instead is – how should we win the Cup? Here's a quick look at how we can aim to dissect and dismantle the game-changers in the Sri Lankan side.

     

    Dilshan: He's perhaps the most dangerous batsman in the Sri Lankan outfit. He may not be the most attractive or the most technically equipped, but he's definitely a game-changer. He's a lot like Sehwag, who can take the game away if he gets going. But like most attacking players, he has his chinks too. Since off-side is his preferred area, he stays inside the line of the ball in order to create room, which allows his arms to move freely. The best way to attack him is to get as close to him as possible and keep it on the fuller side, for he's a lot stronger square of the wickets than in the front of them. Another reason for bowling fuller is that the moment you're too

    Read More »from Sri Lanka’s four pillars
  • If you look at Sachin Tendulkar's performance in Wednesday's semi-final in absolute terms, 85 runs off 115 balls with four dropped catches and two favourable reviews make it atypically ordinary by his standards.

     

    But when you factor in the opponent, the stage, the pressure, the wicket which behaved in an un-Mohali manner and how much batsmen after Tendulkar struggled, you realise the innings' worth.

     

    In a game like that, you'd take your runs whichever way they come. Tendulkar has now played three World Cup semi-finals, scoring 65 in 1996, 83 in 2003 and 85 on Wednesday.

     

    This is what the South Africans call BMT - big match temperament. Except 2007, Tendulkar has shown plenty of BMT by scoring heavily in all World Cups. Now all that's left is one final push in his home town.

     

    MS Dhoni praised both him and Suresh Raina for playing the two innings that made the difference in the final analysis.

     

    "He batted really well," Dhoni said of Tendulkar. "When's he's there, he makes batting

    Read More »from Tendulkar and the art of big game hunting

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