• It has been hailed as the Miracle at Mohali and quite rightly so. The history of Indian cricket has been punctuated with great or historic victories but the word miracle can only be associated with a handful of triumphs. 

     

    The adjective was perhaps first used to describe India's victory over Australia at Kanpur on Christmas Eve 1959. It came about at a time when Indian cricket was in doldrums, thanks to unseemly happenings off the field while the team itself had lost eleven of the previous 14 Tests.

     

    Miracle can also be used to describe the victory at Melbourne in February 1981 when with one fit bowler and two half-fit bowlers, India bowled out Australia for 83 on their way to a series-leveling 59-run victory. The next such triumph came 20 years later against the same opponents in the famous match at Kolkata when only for the third time in the history of Test cricket a team came back to win after following on.

     

    The victory at Mohali can justifiably take its place among the

    Read More »from High on confidence
  • The Wong Kar Wai movie, In the Mood for Love, has the lines: "That era has passed, Nothing that belonged to it exists any more..." How often must those words, or sentiments to that effect, pop into Ricky Ponting's mind these days? Having come into a team that was on the cusp of world domination, he became an integral part of a side whose like we may never see again, but has since been asked to pick up the pieces as a golden generation moved on.

     

    When Brian Lara, Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh raged against the dying Caribbean light at Bridgetown in 1999, Ponting was still making his way in the game. The century that he scored in the first innings of that game was only his third, but he had already played in a World Cup final [and lost], been part of an Ashes-changing partnership [with Matthew Elliott at Headingley in 1997] and been at the wrong end of a fist in a Kolkata nightclub.

     

    As it turned out, that Barbados defeat would be no more than a pothole in Australia's path to

    Read More »from Oz cricket in search of its soul
  • I began writing this even as the unflappable VVS Laxman, yet again, demonstrated his uncanny ability to rise to the occasion, to shepherd the tail, and to win for his team matches that were written off as lost. The backdrop to my piece, therefore, is yet another come-from-behind win scripted by this most unassuming of cricketers - a great climax, a photo-finish ending, and yet another compelling chapter in the history of India-Australia Tests.

     

    Not to rain on this parade, but mixed in with the euphoria of the win and the manner of it is a sadness that so few people chose to come to the stadium to watch the drama unfold. There was a time when Tests filled stadiums in India; today, unfortunately, there are very few takers for this format.

     

    While researching this column, I stumbled upon a few interesting backgrounders that help understand this phenomenon better, and that lead to the conclusion that the BCCI should take the lion's share of the blame for this public apathy, which owes to

    Read More »from ‘India needs to embrace Test cricket’

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