• The Asia Cup is already underway, but the format is such that the serious business begins only a little later. The match that everybody is looking forward to is between hosts Pakistan and India tomorrow. At the starting line it seems difficult to see a final line-up without India, because they look in better shape than either Sri Lanka or Pakistan.

    I was impressed when I saw Mahendra Singh Dhoni in Pakistan two years ago, and he has impressed me even more in his leadership role. He now looks ready to lead the side in all forms of the game, and his team-mates seem to be responding very well to him. The youngsters in the side are looking like a talented bunch, and while they did lose the finals in Bangladesh, they have hardly been putting a foot wrong ever since Pakistan toured India last year. It's a young, fearless side that is lead by a young fearless captain.

    Sadly, the same optimism cannot be shown as far as Pakistan is concerned. Right from the moment Inzamam-ul Haq forfeited a
    Read More »from Dhoni looks ready to lead the side in all forms of the game
  • They were so snooty at Lord's in those days. It was a different world then. There was a luncheon invitation for me with the MCC official who also gave me my media pass - a medallion with the MCC crest. Only, that lunch, a banquet before sending the teams on their way to various venues at the start of the World Cup in 1983, was over several hours earlier.


    If the miscommunication was a minor hitch, consider being told that the medallion would not be valid for the final unless India qualified. Writing then as I was for a broadsheet that would expect to get invited even to the Buckingham Palace, I couldn't possibly not be at the final, regardless of who was playing.


    The venerable sage, John Woodcock, cricket correspondent of the Times, had promised me that I would be welcome in the press box, which I could access with his messenger's pass. As it transpired, we held our heads aloft as we got our medallions validated for the final by right.


    June 25, 1983 - It did not seem a

    Read More »from June 25, 1983: The day India changed history
  • India stuck in T20 mode

    Team India were in Twenty-20 mode whereas Pakistan played the almost old-fashioned ODI cricket to emerge triumphant in Dhaka. The difference between the two sides in the final was simply that of styles even if the toss did play a role in loading the match in favour of the team setting the target.


    M.S. Dhoni was quick to own up his tactical mistakes, which he said had to do with his batting order, specifically that of promoting Suresh Raina rather than stepping in himself. The batting order error may, however, have had less to do with the verdict. The reason why India failed was the bowlers were still in the T-20 mood, happy to escape punishment.


    In assessing the conditions, Pakistan proved clever and quick. They analysed the situation early and decided a safe start was more important and that wickets in hand at the end would mean runs. In playing the ODI as teams would 10 years ago, they made the first half pretty dull.


    It was when the batsmen opened up to accelerate that India's

    Read More »from India stuck in T20 mode


(1,342 Stories)




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