On November 25th, five years ago, the cricket world was shell shocked and faced its worst nightmare.
Joined March 2016
A freelance sports writer and enthusiast.
On November 25th, five years ago, the cricket world was shell shocked and faced its worst nightmare.
It’s April, it’s summer time in India, and the Indian Premier League (IPL) is into its third week.
As a young teenager, I was always fascinated by the No.4 in Test cricket.
Is this an ICC Champions Trophy or an ICC Upsets Trophy?
South Africa’s win in Wellington against New Zealand was perhaps their most defining Test victory since their mighty win over Australia in Perth last November.
When you think about fast bowling, you immediately tend to think about the bowlers from West Indies from the 70s and 80s. The Holdings, the Garners, the Roberts and the Marshalls.
The third Test at Edgbaston in Birmingham against Pakistan saw England captain Alastair Cook become the highest run-getter for England across all the three formats, surpassing Kevin Pietersen’s tally of 13779 international runs.
Alastair Cook and England put a full stop to all the doubts surrounding their inability to play spin, particularly leg-spinner Yasir Shah by registering an authoritative 330-run victory over Pakistan at Old Trafford in the second Test.
Test cricket used to be cricket’s bread and butter, though the traditional format of the game is unfortunately going through a process of slow death.
Kevin Pietersen is a South African-born Englishman who, on his day, made batting look ridiculously easy. From being sublime on one day to being terrible on the other, his batting very much resembled his way of life.
The World T20 has ended and it’s time to play some club cricket. It is IPL time.
The ICC World T20 2016, a tournament that started off under heavy criticism over being unfair to associates, was already a huge success by the time we came to its business end.
Having witnessed Australia’s performance so far at World T20, it’s clearly evident that Australia certainly have a huge conundrum of picking the right team.
Assuming that P Shaw remains unavailable for the third Test, how about team India management give a shot by trying Vijay and Pujara to open the batting? Pujara has opened the batting in the past and since he is your No. 3 anyways, I guess he won’t mind fancy himself opening the batting. Rahane can shift to No.3 , Kohli still remains at 4 and KL Rahul can walk in at No.5. I guess, batting at No. 5, would give Rahul a much needed breather and his aggressive style of batting can be better suited in the middle order where he won’t need to worry about negotiating the new ball anymore.
Just the question remains, is Indian think-tank willing to make so many changes in batting order at once or rather they are more happy replacing either Vijay or Rahul and not mess with the rest of the batting order?
This, I believe is the make or break Test match of the series, so there is so much to think of and plenty to play for!
Will history repeat in Melbourne?
Well said, but I guess you slightly missed my point towards the end. As far as Rahane is concerned, what I am trying to say is that Rahane should find a way to convert his starts into significant match-winning scores. And personally, I don’t agree with your point about Rahane being just a journeyman, after all Rahane’s away average of 45.9 is almost same as Kohli’s 47.2. It’s his poor record at Home and inability to convert his starts on a regular basis is what’s concerning the most.
Why Kohli is miles ahead of his own batsmen
In the final, I guess it is going to be a contest between Pakistan’s bowlers versus India’s batsmen as it has been traditionally. Pakistan’s bowlers certainly have the potential to trouble India’s batting, but if their bowling fails, I personally don’t think they can beat India. India surely start as the firm favourites but Pakistan have nothing to lose and pressure to perform will be more on India than on Pakistan. Again, it will boil down to the fact that team that handles the pressure and fear will win.
ICC Champions Trophy 2017: Excitement, surprises and turnaround
Perhaps the most defining factor of the Ranchi Test Match was the knock played by Maxwell in the first innings. Australia were 4/140 when he walked in and could have easily played a rash shot leaving the Australian tail exposed right on the first day itself. But he hold his nerve, played an uncharacteristic Maxwell innings, showed lots of patience and ably supported his captain who was as solid as a rock at the other end. Along with Steve O’ Keefe’s exuberating bowling display in the first Test, this innings by Maxwell will certainly turn out be a series defining event if Australia indeed go on to win this series or even manage to draw this series. Its indeed everything to play for at Dharamshala in the fourth and Final Test of what has already been a mouth-watering series for all the Cricket fans.
Unexpected Aussies stand tall in Ranchi epic
It was indeed a remarkable victory for islanders. For a team, to whom nobody even gave a chance of winning to start with, pulled off a sensational win from a point when everyone thought the game is dead and buried for them. What made the victory even sweeter was the fact that it was inspired by a boy who is just 21 years old and who was just playing in his 7th Test. And he came into bat when his team was in awful mess at 6/2 and still needing 80 runs just to make Australia bat again. He defied all the odds, before him not a single batsman from either side had scored a 50 in the Test match, he himself had just scored 8 in the first innings and the atmosphere all around him was not at all conducive to victory. But, champions don’t cry and as a youngster you always want these kind of situations to prove yourself, to bring the best out of you, don’t you? And Kusal Mendis just did that. Rangana Herath picking up 5 wickets in the second innings was like icing on the cake for Sri Lanka and the fact that Sandakan also took 7 wickets in the match gives us a hope about is this the start of revival for Sri Lanka and can they once again rise to the heights they used to be at when Jayasuriya, Murali, Sanga and Mahela were around? Well, time will tell those things, but as of now its’ time to rejoice Sri Lanka’s one of the memorable Test victories.
Sri Lanka's first Test win a game for the ages
Virat Kohli for me is way ahead of everyone else. Not just by number but also by his passion, hunger, determination and dedication. His ability to finish the games off and stay out there till the very end almost every time is remarkable and that separates him from the rest. From being a bad-boy of Indian Cricket to being the most consistent batsman in the world, Kohli’s story so far will surely inspire the generations to come. To add to it, as a leader, Virat looks pro-active and his aggression and confidence seems to be rubbing off on his team-mates which augurs extremely well for India moving forward.
International cricket's modern-day fab five
No doubt Pakistan played brilliantly and what made the victory even more special was the fact that it was also Pakistan’s first Test away from the sub-continent in nearly three years. Misbah, the old warrior stood tall when it mattered, Yasir’s leg spin was a joy to watch, Mohammed Amir is getting back where he belonged to. Overall, it was a memorable victory for Pakistan and a huge success for Yasir Shah, in particular, but don’t create too much hype around him. After all, don’t judge him just after one match, he would find the going tough as the series goes on, even the English batsman would start picking him up and then his real challenge begins. It would be quite interesting to see how England would bounce back in the series and not to forget, though England have a fragile middle order, their line-up will be bolstered by the addition of Anderson and Stokes and hence Pakistan too should look to tighten up their screws with their top-order, especially their openers Hafeez and Masood. As a cricket fan, it was wonderful to watch an absorbing Test match with crowd getting right behind their respective teams and if both the teams play to their full potential, we could be in for a fulfilling summer of Test Cricket much similar to what we had during the Ashes in 2005.
Pakistan have beaten England, are Australia next?
Two tier system proposal looks to be a good deall on paper, but its execution will only hamper the lower ranked teams. As far as crowd support is concerned, the crowds for WI Vs India Tests way back even in 2006 in the caribbean were disappointing with majority of stands being empty. So, if suppose there happens to be a Test match between Zimbabwe and West Indies in Harare, how many people would turn up remains to a big question. Yes the two-tier system might create a fair competition in terms of strengths and weaknesses but that would also mean that the new teams like Ireland and Afghanistan may take ages to face stronger teams like England, South Africa, Australia, India and that can hamper their progress in the long run. The only way these teams can improve is by playing better opponents and in that way the emerging teams can know about the hard grind that Test Cricket brings to the table at the early stages itself which will go a long way in making these teams better and stronger.
We need promotion and relegation in international cricket
It was a relief than anything else to see the Tri-Series fold the way it has folded. Undoubtedly its a far better deal to host a Tri-series than the meaningless bilateral ODI series. The Tri-series in England and Australia in their respective summers used to be an integral part of Cricketing calender about 10-12 years ago and those events were absolute fun. Even in this English summer, instead of playing two bilateral series, we could have had a much more meaningful Tri-series comprising hosts England and two touring teams Sri Lanka and Pakistan. With large Asian fan base in England, even Pakistan-Sri Lanka contests would have been played in front of huge crowds and would have certainly made the summer more interesting and One-day Cricket more relevant. Hope we can have more Tri-series tournaments coming up in near future which will definitely spice up the contest.
Ballr Cup shows there's still merit in the tri-series system
Perhaps the only way forward to save Test Cricket or Cricket in particular is to increase the number of teams actively playing Cricket. With only four to five teams playing genuine Test Cricket, Test Cricket is going through a process of stagnation where same teams are competing against each other more often than not and this is taking the spice out of the contest. Apart from being just a 90-minute game, the reason why Football is popular is the massive number of teams playing the game. So, ICC as a global body, curbing the vested interests should look to promote the game worldwide. The teams like Ireland, Afghanistan should be given more opportunities to develop their game by making them play against good opponents on a regular basis before giving them the Test Status. As of now, International T20 Cricket is the medicine and emerging teams like Ireland a new ray of hope. Drafting in more teams to play competitive cricket is the only foresighted solution if we want to save our beautiful game.
What are the root causes of Test cricket's decline?
with Ireland set to play 11 ODI’s this summer, this could well turn to be Ireland’s summer of glory. To add to it, their performance against Sri Lanka in the first ODI was a sign that Ireland are ready to break the barrier and establish themselves as a good ODI side. Their series against Afghanistan seems to be a mouth-watering contest between two emerging sides who bring a breath of fresh air into the international cricket.
Ireland's ten-year ODI journey is heading towards Test acceptance
Yes but back then, the only form of the game that was played was Test Cricket. So, players were trained to play Test Cricket and as a result number of Test playing nations gradually increased as the time passed by. But in modern era, thee is so much of cricket going along and with all the T20 cricket around, players aren’t that motivated to learn the skills that are essential to play Test Cricket. As of now, the weaker teams are becoming weaker, existing stronger teams look vulnerable as well. Except few teams, other teams are playing fewer Test Matches , so its difficult for them to improve and hence I fear about the future of Test Cricket.
What are the root causes of Test cricket's decline?
Wonderfully written piece! Botham is undoubtedly the best all-rounder England have ever produced. The decision to replace Botham with Brearley as captain for 1981 Ashes was a master-stroke which brought out the best of Ian Botham.
Botham, Ashes and Botham's Ashes
Previously, sense prevailed in the scheduling of Australian Summer. There used to be two teams playing Test Cricket against Australia and the same two teams were a part of Tri-series along with the hosts Australia. Look at the current schedule, it appears to be that Cricket Australia just wants to keep their players heavily busy right from November to February. Chappell-Hadlee trophy is good, but it looks inconsequential in the current schedule, sandwiched between two Test Series. Moreover, that T20 series against SL too is a dead rubber. Seeing the way Cricket Australia and BCCi schedule their home series of-late looks as if their schedule is far too much money driven and lacks cricketing sense. It’s high time that the big three of Cricket show some cricketing logic while scheduling their home series. The only thing that is worth appreciating in the current schedule is the possibility that we can witness day-night Test Cricket with two Tests scheduled to be played under lights.
Four teams to tour Australia in the 2016-17 summer of cricket
Look forward folks! don’t worry now about Test Cricket or which format is better and so on, the major worry now as a Cricket fan is can this victory revive the state of Cricket in West Indies? Cricket needs WI just as Wi need Cricket. As of now as the players gear up for playing the IPL, I see no hope of Wi cricket getting back on track. When will the eternal dispute between the board and it’s players end? They have players who can exceptionally play the limited-overs Cricket, but one should find a way to get these Windies players motivated to play Test Cricket and to do this it is highly imperative that players and even the board members shun their egos and focus on the job to be done. Lets hope the meeting that has been scheduled between players and the board after the culmination of IPL brings some rewards and WI field their best players across all the three formats.
WT20 win shows not all is lost for West Indian cricket
Without any doubt, day-night Test Cricket is the need of the hour. We need bums on the seats and we need lot of people turning up at venues to watch a Test match. And the highest probability of this happening is at that time when people are free and that is at night time. Why are T20’s being played in front of jam-packed crowds? agreed it is just like a movie, three hours and the game is over but more importantly they are predominantly played in the evenings when lot of people can come to watch the match. In case of day-night Test matches, Dads can bring their kids at the stadium to watch the evening sessions after their offices. In this way, we can get full-houses witnessing the evening sessions of the Test matches. What more do you want to promote Test Cricket? Hosting day-night Test matches is more of a commercial decision taken in order to increase the viewership rather than a decision based on Cricketing logic. It is worth experimenting and hats off to Cricket Australia for leading the way.
More day-night Tests? Bring it on
No doubt everyone including KP himself has moved on now. No doubt that that England has become a wonderful team not only in Tests, but also in ODI’s and T20’s. It’s alright you call KP a ghost, but until this point of time, we haven’t got a satisfying explanation regarding why he was made a scapegoat at the end of disastrous Ashes summer in early 2014. Didn’t he score runs?He did, in fact was the highest run getter for England in that Ashes series down under. Scored 71 and 49 in fourth Test at MCG when no body else played. Agreed he was arrogant, rude,even over-confident at times, but was he treated well by the ECB or british media? certainly not and why, just because he wasn’t British or never tried to become what English wanted him to become. Look at Flintoff, wasn’t he not of the same league as that of KP? but no one complained much about him while KP was always under cruel eagle-like eyes of ECB and that too in spite of performing exceptionally as he did. KP certainly deserved a good farewell from International Cricket but ECB bosses were so mean that KP had to leave the international scenes dejected, disappointed and hurt.
The ghost of KP has past
To be honest as a non-Aussie, the Tests in Australia have become less interesting of-late. Some 10-15 odd years earlier, watching Tests of Australian summer used to fun. And the reason is simple, the wickets have gone from bad to worse. Lack of sporting pitches and pitches tailor-made for batting draw huge amount of runs from both the sides and then it becomes no contest whatsoever. Gabba wicket has become an absolute belter, no one fears WACA any more. Test against NZ at WACA last summer was an absolute dead rubber. The wickets even against India in previous summer were absolutely flat with nothing in them for bowlers. No wonder people in Australia have started to dislike Test Cricket. Who will come to watch a Test match like the one that took place at Perth last summer? Its high time curators start prepare sporting wickets and revive the people’s interest in Test Cricket. Sporting wickets will certainly bring back huge amount of crowds for Test matches.
Pink ball could save Gabba Test: Harris
Well written Anthony. No way T20 is killing Test Cricket. In fact, T20’s are having a positive impact on Test Cricket. Test Cricket has become fast, entertaining and result-oriented ever since the advent of T20. Batsmen and bowlers have become more proactive in implementing new skills even at Test level now. Moreover the McCullums, the Warners have brought a breath of fresh air in Test Cricket that the format desperately needed. Their impact in Tests is far more evident than in T20’s. The only thing that can kill Test Cricket though is bad quality pitches, the wickets that are featherbed for batting. If you produce sporting wickets, worry not, Test Cricket is here to stay!!!
Curmudgeon: Test cricket is dead
Hats off to Cricket Australia for trying out different things. Hosting two pink-ball day-night Test matches in one summer is a move worth appreciating. Hope so it attracts huge crowds at Gabba as well just like what we saw at Adelaide last summer.
No Gabba as CA announce second pink ball test
peter, If you say he doesn’t have any hunger playing for WI, please go out and check his stats:
Scored 110 in his last ODI, scored 63 in his second-last, both against SL in Sri Lanka, scored a total of 601 runs @46.33 in ODI’s in year 2015.
coming to T20I Internationals, Scored 85 in the final, played a stable innings of 43 against SA to see his team home, scored 37 against Eng in group stage match and also has an overall healthy batting average of 29.81.
Agreed, he has a sub-par performances in Test Cricket, but now that Shiv is gone, who else is consistent in that team either?
Though he should improve at Test Level, It’s easy to criticize, but to stay there in midst of all the chaos and performing as of he is doing now and that too in all the three formats is still worth appreciating, right?
Marlon's the man for an occasion
Perhaps the biggest thing about Marlon Samuels as of now is his hunger to play for West Indies day in and day out irrespective of formats. While majority of players have a dispute with their board and some play only selected formats, Marlon seems to be enjoying his second-coming. Ever since he made a comeback in Wi team for the home series against India in 2011, he has been the most committed servant for WI cricket. Coming to his heroics in the final, he has always been the slow starter, getting off the blocks ever so slowly, but when he does that, he is lethal, murderous for the opposition. So his innings in the final wasn’t any surprise for the cricketing world as we all knew about his abilities. He is lazy, he is arrogant, also looks ugly but his commitment to the West Indies team definitely needs appreciation at least considering all the chaos that is taking place all around him.
Marlon's the man for an occasion
I guess instead of playing off-season Cricket, why can’t venues like Darwin or Cairns host a ODI or a T20I during Australian summer?
How is weather at these venues during summer? If its is conducive for cricket, then it would be a great experience to even have a couple of BBL matches scheduled at these venues. This will not only allow the people over there to enjoy live cricket but also eliminate the possibility of playing off-season cricket. Playing off-season cricket will only make the already tight schedule even more tighter and the prospect of only playing small touring teams at these remote venues will hardly boost the progress of these venues in becoming future mainstream venues. So, from my perspective allow these venues to host couple of matches during Australian summer.
Time to play more Top End Test cricket
No doubt that West Indies and West Indian players are a revelation in T20 cricket, but is Cricket dying rapidly in West Indies, at a much faster rate than previously thought of? Just couple of months back when they toured Australia, Calypso kings looked completely out of sorts, no one except Darren Bravo showed any intent to survive at the Test level. The big question that remains to be answered is that what will inspire these men coming from Island nations to step up and take other formats of the game seriously as well, especially Test Cricket. When will the conflict between the board and it’s players end and there would peace back in WI cricket, Cricket needs WI playing at it’s full potential in all the formats, just as WI needs Cricket. They might win this World T20 and there would be rejuvenation about their victory back home, but can this victory actually revive the fortunes of WI cricket? or it would be forgotten as the time passes by and it’s players begin their normal routine of playing in different T20 leagues all around the world. Wi cricket desperately needs a new Lloyd but the problem is that he can’t be seen anywhere at least as of now.
Twenty20 rejuvenates cricket in the West Indies
Nathan Lyon should have been in the squad and probably should have played all the four games. With Khawaja having a great summer with the bat and a great run at the top of the order in BBL, it was impossible not to give him the opening spot. But, if I was a captain, I would have never rotated Warner and he should have been partnering Khawaja at the top. Coming to your topic, True that Australia were pathetic with their bowling at the death, but it was Kohli’s genius that guided India over the line. He maintained his calm and composure throughout the innings and more so when Yuvraj was struggling while running between the wickets. He played shots in the gaps and exactly knew where the fielders were. There was no slogging in Virat’s batting, it was simply great, intelligent use of stroke play which Australia failed to consider while bowling at death.
There's NO WAY India should have beaten Australia