• This is what we play for-the tough, gritty battle of Test match cricket is something that any cricketer worth his salt revels in-and we are glad to take up the challenge of beating India in their backyard. The build-up to this tour has not been ideal, with both teams going through their share of controversies, but once the players get away from the people who create the chaos, and the daily reportage of incidents true and false, it becomes easier to focus on the cricket.

    Ideally, players should not have to get involved with what goes on off the field, because that is the realm of administrators. Increasingly, however, it seems difficult to focus solely on cricket, and we can do without off-field distractions on a tour as challenging as this. I think it would be better for everyone across the board to remember that this is all about cricket, and without the game, there are no jobs for anybody, be they administrators or players.

    Thankfully, the cricket starts tomorrow, and once that

    Read More »from We aren’t really losing sleep over Kirsten’s presence
  • If India are to win more home Test matches - which they must, as they have begun winning overseas - then the team needs to have the right balance according to the prevailing pitch and weather conditions. And, this implies that the team has to do away with the additional specialist batsman, at present a sort of safety clause from possible defeat.

    The replacement has to be a bowling all-rounder or a specialist bowler, pace or spin.

    The thought must have already crossed the minds of the national selectors headed by Dilip Vengsarkar and the captain, Anil Kumble. To see a visiting team like South Africa - whose batsmen are quite unfamiliar against quality spin bowling - hold their own and walk out of the first Test in Chennai with heads held high, and even look to surprise the home outfit in the subsequent two Tests, is not really within the script that has been written. Kumble's problem, as far as one can see, is to bell the cat and that is to tell one of the specialist batsmen that he has

    Read More »from To win, one cannot always play safe
  • My preoccupation with history is at times looked upon as unnecessary and, probably, even a measure of one-upmanship. Not that it has ever concerned me in the least. One of cricket's premier historians, H.S. Altham, did ask, "Can they do without us?" The historian and the statistician are essential in any field of human activity and cricket is privileged that it has always had more than its fair share of such invaluable contributors. Like Altham, let us in the same breath bless the admirable statistician, Bill Frindall.

    In the middle of the first Test between India and South Africa at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, the record-breaking opening duo of South African skipper Graeme Smith and Neil McKenzie might be interested in seeing a slice of history which concerns it. It is always possible that these players might or might not come back to Chennai, so there can be nothing better than getting things over and done with. Even a photograph or two might help, though is little evidence these

    Read More »from Chennai history must not escape SA openers

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