• As 2009 dawns the stage does seem set for a pulsating duel for the No 1 spot between South Africa and India. Even though Australia is still rated numero uno it is clear that they are slipping and it is only a matter of time before they are dislodged from the exalted status they have enjoyed for so many years. Which team will take over however promises to be one of the highlights of the year.


    On results last year it would appear that South Africa are the front runners. They did not lose a Test series while getting the better of West Indies, Bangladesh (twice), England and Australia. The victories in England and Australia were particularly significant. They had not won a series in England for 43 years and as far as their record `Down Under’ it was as woeful as it can get. They had not won a series in Australia for almost a hundred years since their maiden visit in 1910-11. Moreover they handed out the first series loss to Australia at home in 16 years. South Africa also shared a

    Read More »from Pulsating contest in prospect
  • At the start of the new millennium Sourav Ganguly was the monarch of Indian cricket. At the end of the first decade of the new millennium it is Mahendra Singh Dhoni's turn to enjoy that exalted status. As swashbuckling batsman, brilliant wicket keeper and dynamic captain, in all three formats of the captain, he is at the peak of his powers and popularity going by the number of ads he appears in and public appearances that he makes.


    Dhoni's role as captain has attracted particular attention and I venture to predict that future chroniclers will concentrate more on this aspect than on his batting or keeping. At the moment he is a leader who can do no wrong. Indeed he can probably walk on water. The cynics might call it luck. Well, no captain can manage without the luck factor and perhaps there are a few things that have worked in his favour.


    But luck alone cannot bring you victories in the first four Tests as captain – something unique for an Indian captain. Good fortune alone cannot

    Read More »from ‘Captain Cool’ certainly fits Dhoni
  • Lifeless wicket. Poor turn-out. Dour play. An epic mismatch. The first Test of the season couldn't be more underwhelming.

    THE FLAVOUR of the Australia summer is pace. A young tearaway in Pat Cummins has been discovered. And there's no doubt Australia would play to their strengths when India come visiting later this year. The hard and quick wickets will suit their pace arsenal that has grown impressively in their years of transition.

    Dhonis wicket keeping

    Meanwhile, at the Kotla Stadium, India are playing West Indies on a surface as lifeless as Mars — the sort of wicket you'd never expect to play on in a Test in Australia. The quality of opposition also reflects on how poorly India tend to build towards fixtures that matter.


    In their last 10 years of touring, the only major Test team West Indies have beaten is South Africa, once. Having played them plenty of times this year, India would be aware of the obvious weaknesses of West Indies. Hence this home


    • Meanwhile, at the Kotla Stadium, India
    Read More »from Tendulkar in the limelight


(1,347 Stories)




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