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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Serious Opener and Double Ton!!

What a serious innings from the Flamboyant Southpaw. Scoring his first Double Ton in as low as 19 test matches is a big feat in itself. The very name of his suggests that he is a very serious player. He alongside with Sehwag makes a deadly opening pair as they score at a good rate. Yes we are talking about the Delhi south paw Gautam Gambhir. Scoring a Half Century, Century and a Double ton all in a row in consecutive innings, he has proved that he is there for many years now and that there are no doubts of his selection for the opening slot. His last 6 innings out of 9 have been of scores above 50 and this is the third consecutive innings he has crossed 50 run mark in three innings.

Shy person by looks, yet that does not make him a person who will take it from any one. One can ask the Australian bowlers about that as they got it back from Gauti both with the Bat and with the Mouth. While in form, he is a treat to watch and he plays very elegantly. Way ahead to go Gauti!!

The way has been playing against Australia suggest that the Australian have been out of sorts to get rid of the strong batting line up.Rickey Ponting himself rolled his arms to try his luck with the wickets. This is really frustrating for the Australians as they have yet again outclassed by the Indian Batsman.

On the other hand, VVS Laxman as he is always a danger man for Australia has again worked as a thorn in the arms of the Australians. Even he has the knack to score heavily against the Aussies. Yet again he scored a century against them in a very stylish manner. Out of the 13 centuries, he has made 6 of them against Australia which proves that Australians are his favorite opponents. He is Very Very Special to the Australians.He has now scored in excess of 2000 runs against them.

Laxman also has a knack to make a come back in a series and retain his side for the rest of the matches. Had Harbhajan Singh been fir to play for the match, it was Laxman who would have had to sit for the match to make way for the Captain Anil Kumble. But that was not the case as Bhajji was declared unfit. This was more than a chance or him and he ceased it with both the hands scoring a ton. Now the selection of the team for the next match is going to be all the more difficult.

Nevertheless,, lets not get too much into the selection, lets sit back and hope for a Great Indian Victory once again as we are all set for it.

That’s it from Shams & Wags for Now!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Incredible India!!

What an outstanding test match for the Indians. Defeating the Aussies with such a big margin of 320 runs is really a commendable job. Outwitting the Aussies in all departments is an achievement in itself.

Couple of milestones achieved by our veterans. Sachin surpassed Brain Lara and became the player with highest number of test runs and only player to have scored 12,000 plus runs in test matches. Ganguly returned it back to the selectors in style by scoring good runs and even he scored 7000 runs.

Saurav dada gave a superb reply with his bat by scoring the century, making the selectors quite. The way he is playing, it’s a treat watching him as it was always. He is an outstanding player who has always silenced his critics by scoring runs. Dada will be completely missed once he retires after this series.

What a lethal seam attack has it been for the Indians? We are basking in the glory of the new opening pair of bowling where Zaheer has his bunny in Hayden, while Ishant has his bunny set up in Rickey Ponting. The tactics of Hayden of sitting on the pitch before the start of match yet not working.

Unlike an Aussie onslaught, where attack is the only word, they were forced to pay attention to the Plan B of defense as Indian bowlers were too good to be handled.
Debutant Amit Mishra was impressive as he filled the void created by absence of Anil Kumble. It was a dream debut for him as he went on to take his first five wicket haul in his debut match.Harbhajan made it sure in the start of the second innings of the Aussies that they don’t attack. Both the openers fell into his trap and then the hopes of winning the match were up and live.

It was worth taking a leaf out of the books of Zaheer and Ishant as to how to use the ball for reverse swing as the Indians managed to use it so well. In the Australian camp, only Shane Watson used it well. The idea behind the reverse swing is to take care of the ball and make one side heavy by using sweat and constantly shining it.
On the fifth day, Zaheer cleaning up three wickets made an early announcement that victory was just about round the corner and then Amit Mishra cleaning up the tail.

Words of appreciation for our batsman as they scored at will and at a good scoring rate.
Captain Dhoni played his natural innings in the second innings and scored quick fire runs. The declaration came at the right time one feels as then we were able to force for the victory. What can one say about Dhoni, he is a complete opportunist, give him chance and he will prove his with. What ever he touches, gets converted in gold. With the victorious captain, he also got the Man of the Match award.
It’s about time for Laxman to perform as he is the only senior member to perform.

That’s all about it from Shams and Wags till we go on to Feroz Shah Kotla at Delhi
Until then Enjoy!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Second Test Of Character!!

Welcome to the Second Test Match between India and Australia at Mohali.
India has won the toss and elected to bat. India won’t be availing the services of Captain Kumble. Keeper Dhoni taking the honors of captaining the test side in absence of Kumble.

The next best thing to watch out for is the Master Blaster is inching close to the record of highest number of test runs. He is 15 runs short of the magical figure. Will he reach the milestone is the main attraction of the game. Sit back and enjoy till we come back with the days review. Till then enjoy
Shams & Wags.

Monday, October 13, 2008

ZAK Wins In The Tame Draw

The result on the last day was not at all expected. The entire anxiety and the enthusiasm were killed by the Draw.It was Zaheer Khan who lead from the front. 5 wickets and then scoring 57 runs made him earn the Man of the Match title.
The point of interest in the match was highly the batting of Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh. It was for the contribution of the duo in batting that made Indians go for a draw or else India would have lost the match. The so called Indian middle order again failed to fire. Only Dravid and Ganguly contributed runs while Sehwag had given a promising start.

It’s difficult to chase in excess of 250 runs on the last day hence it was pointless for India to go for the kill. Sachin Tendulkar falling one short of his half century and he is yet behind of 17 runs to score the highest runs and only he knows how many innings more would lead him to the front.

Australian’s batted superbly. Ponting lead the way in the first innings by scoring a magnificent century proving that he can bat well against Indians as well. He was followed by another gem of innings by Mike Hussey who is known as Mr. Cricket.
He is a super dependable bloke. His batting average speaks volumes. His batting average is in excess of 70.

In the entire runs galore, lets not forget the important support innings of opener Simon Katich. He supported well as in both the innings, Hayden got out cheaply. Katich is a superb player and he is the player to watch out for.

Here’s Shams and Wags signing off for the First Test Match. Catch up for more as we move on to Mohali for the second test starting 17th October 08.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Gritty Ponting!!

Attack right from the word go is the Australians way of playing. But that seems to be a passé now as they opted for a rather defensive mode. Having won the toss, the Aussies would have thought of scoring quick fire runs But not to be the case this time around as the third delivery of the over and Hayden tried playing the ball on the off side only finding himself caught in the gloves of Dhoni for a duck. Simon Katich was then joined by Rickey Ponting in the very first over. Ponting applied himself in front of the Indian bowlers and started accumulating runs in a rather defensive style. Interesting statistics is that 4 years ago while both the teams played in Bangalore, the score was identical at the end of session and for the loss of the same player Hayden. 75/1 at lunch.

It’s Festive season in India as everyone celebrating Dusshera . Crowd slowly melts up to the stadium and so does all Television viewers across country. Shams & wags prediction of Playing XI for both sides came in true. Only few changes in Aussies camp. Cameron White was handed his first Test cap – courtesy injured Bryce McGain.
Shane Watson filled the all-rounder's role after the Andrew Symonds was left out of the squad for disciplinary reasons.

Even though they had a slow start, the Aussies managed to score pretty decently and Ponting’s and Katich’s 166 run partnership ensured the Oz remained in the game.
Hayden has a pecular habbit of sitting on the pitch an hour before days play. May be he is trying to bribe the pitch by doing so, but taht didnt help him this time around.

In our last article, we had heavily criticised Ponting for getting into the mind games and letting his mouth talk rather than his bat. But it was surely Ponting’s day and he really proved that the quality players let their bat do the talking rather than mouth.

Katich played a good supporting play as he rotated the strike which ensured that the runs kept ticking.Ponting celebrated his first century in India while completing his third run before thriving his bat like a warrior with a sword. It was Ponting’s 16th as a captain, he was previously tied with Steve Waugh and Allan Border on 15.
At 201/2. there was loud appeal from Kumble.All the replays suggest thatit as a catch and not a bump, but as there was not a referral system in this series, it as not referred to the third umpire.
But with tea looming, it was the rookie Ishant Sharma who made the breakthrough as he induced an edge from Katich on 66 and the ball falling safely yet again in the hands of Keeper Dhoni. Mike Hussey was lucky to escape early as one of his edge on Kumble’s bowling going past keeper Dhoni’s thumb. By 75th over of the day Indian were looking tired as Kumble turned to Sehwag's part time spin to give some rest to regular bowlers. It made all easy for Ponting and Hussey.

With 226 on the board, Ponting tried to sweep Harbhajan, was struck low on the front pad and Umpire Asad Rauf raised his finger yet again making him Bhajji’s bunny.
3 overs before the close of the days play,Kumble took new ball and it worked for Indians on last ball of the day as Clarke was trapped in front for 11 by Zaheer.
So the opening wicket and the ending wicket were bagged by our very own ZAK.
Heres the Score Card:

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Play Gentlemen- Attack

Come 9th October 2008 and all roads in Bangalore leads towards the M. Chinnaswami Stadium “Aussie Sucks, Aussies Suck will be the buzz in the ground as the series will be under way and till the time the umpires in the middle of the ground says “Play Gentlemen” . Hello and welcome to yet another edition of the
‘Border Gavaskar Trophy’ which is under way in Bangalore.
It will be the critical toss to win and India starts as the favorites in the first test match. The pitch appears to be moist due to the rains. As usual the Australians have started the mind game. Seems they don’t quiet like the idea of letting their bat and ball do the talking.

Punter is of the opinion that Anil Kumble and the rest of the senior pros are reaching the age of retiring and that their body shows signs of fatigue. He opened his trap at the eve of the Match conference at Chinnaswami stadium.
“That’s what we’re trying to achieve, pity their older guys under immense pressure”
Punter fails to understand that he himself is 33 and while he said” I pity their older guy” he should not forget that even he will be at the receiving end in some time to come. It’s high time that the player of his quality should let his work do the talking rather than depending on the words.

Rather than concentrating as to which spinner to be included in the side, punter is bothered about the age of some of the Indian players. I think he has forgotten his phone number like record when he had toured India and that Bhajji had mad him look like a fool as he could not play against him and time and again gave his scalp to Bhajji.

It’s about time for him to take a leaf out of his counterpart Anil Kumble and learn certain aspects of the game.
It’s the home ground of the lethal spinner and captain Anil Kumble. He will be rearing to go and right from the word go, am pretty sure he will be edgy as to when his chance to deliver the goods. Kumble is a kind of player who has earned respect as a player and captain over the period of time. He is silent assassin and commitment is always above 100 %.

It’s going to be a great test match between India and Australia as both the teams have quality players. The Aussies have a strong batting line up. Mathew Hayden stands tall as the player and every one in India is aware of his exploits with the bat. Mike hussy in the middle order and Ricky Ponting himself are good dependable batsmen. Ponting is a treat to watch while is in the middle and in form.
He looks very edgy while he starts the innings. The best time to get him out is to catch him young at the crease. They have the likes of Michael Clerk, Wicket Keeper Haddin who has a safe pair of hands.
In the bowling department, spin department is a weak link. They have a fearsome pace attack in the form of Brett Lee. Surprisingly he is yet to play a Test match in India.

The anxiety and the pressure level is building and it will be a treat to watch this absolute nail biting spectacle. Till then its bye from Shams & Wags and keep reading more for reviews of the day.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Late Swinging Yorker!!

Just a couple of days ago we had mentioned in our article about the princely come back of our Dada Saurav Ganguly. Joyful was the moment even as the news was flashed about the inclusion of Dada in the Test Series against Australia.

Suddenly the entire joy has turned down to sorrow as we hear yet shocking news.
Yes it’s rather hard and surprising to believe that Saurav Chandidas Ganguly has announced his retirement and that this will be his last series.
Retirement was there in the mind of dada but only he knew when its coming and he has chosen non other than the Border – Gavaskar trophy for his retirement.
It’s a celebration time in Bengal this time of the year for the Kali Pooja which is their biggest festival. I am very sure that the new s of retirement will bring certain amount of sorrow in Bengal, in fact in entire India for that matter.

This flamboyant south paw made his ODI debut in Brisbane on Jan 11 1992 against West Indies, on contrast he made his Test debut in England on 20th June 1996 against England and there he scoured two centuries in his debut match.

He played his last ODI against Pakistan in Gwalior on 15th November 2007.

The quality of the good players is that he knows when to retire. As famously said: “Its good to retire when people ask why retire, rather than why not?”

Same kind of jolt received by the Australians when Adam Gilchrist had announced his retirement from the test side while India had toured and played his last match there. Only god knows why players prefer choosing the Border Gavaskar Trophy to retire? I think this can be only a matter of coincidence.

The best ever compliment that Dada would have got was “On the off side, the one next best to god is Ganguly’ These were the famous word of Mr. Dependable Wall Rahul Dravid.

Finally it’s entirely the player’s decision and one has to respect it. Dada, all the best for your future and hope you will silence your critics in the last few matches of yours before you retire!!

Article by Shams& Wags.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Miles And Smiles

Hello Readers, We know many of you might have followed 4 day match against Board President XI in Hyderabad. The match ended in draw but there were more smiles in Indian side and worries in Oz’s camp.
Had the selection been done on 2nd Oct’08 instead of 1st for the early two tests, the picture would look different. Only player who’ve been picked up in Test squad S.Badrinath failed in both innings. Rise and shine time for Virat Kohli & Rohit Sharma in first innings as they both hit 105 each to put BP XI in strong position. With the likes of Kumble and Bhajji as a spin attack very little chances are left for other spinners to get into probable for selection. Yet Piyush Chawla & Pragyan Ojha bowled well against Oz’s and shared 8 wickets between them to bundle out Aussies cheaply in first innings. Punter’s bad patch in Indian soil continued. Only brave innings was played by Mike Hussey who scored century and some batting braveness for Stuart Clarke in lower order. Second innings brings more smiles for BP XI as captain Yuvraj Singh made century while Jaffer missed the same with 7 runs.
Aussies really wouldn’t have expected the worst news in the form of there main attacking spinner Bryce McGain being ruled out of entire series due to shoulder injury. The other spinner Kreja who also came with dream of making Test debut alongside McGain now has real chance to be in playing eleven. Aussies have also called all-rounder Cameron White who has performed really well in domestic circuit for them to join the squad. His leg spin can be bit handy apart from giving strength to batting lower down the order.
With just 3 days to go for the first test in Bangalore (now Bangaluru) playing conditions look pretty much similar to what we had in Hyderabad during practice match.Looking at the weather conditions captain Kumble will certainly be playing with 2 seamers and 2 spinners with long batting line up we have.
Shams & Wags’s probable XI for the Test are-
India – Anil Kumble(Capt.),V.Sehwag, G.Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar,Sourav Ganguly,VVS Laxman, M S Dhoni (VC & wk),Harbhajan Singh,Zaheer Khan,Ishant Sharma,Munaf Patel (12th man).
Australia – Ricky Ponting (Capt.), M Hayden, Phil Jacques, S Katich, Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey, B Haddin, Brett Lee, Stuart Clarke, M Johnson, Kreja, Watson (12th man)

Article By Shams & Wags

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Princely Comeback!!

Need of the hour is to take a leaf out of Dada’s book. Even if the odds are heavily stacked against your favor and even if the fat lady does not sing for you, one must definitely learn from Saurav Ganguly to how to keep focusing on the come back.
All started in the early 90's where he was a part of the tour down under. He was the 12th man and was asked to carry drink and towel. He belongs to the Royal family and at that point in time he refused to carry drinks which made him pay the price of being dropped of the squad. As one would agree, time works as a healer, he made his test debut in 1996 along side Rahul Dravid.Both of them scored magnificently and at that time itself they announced their arrival to the test arena Ganguly went on to make century in his century where as Dravid fell short of 4 runs.
Time and again he has found himself under an axe and there are always fingers pointing towards his selection. For a person who has been a thorn in the arms of Steve Waugh who considers him as an arrogant captain, it’s a cardinal sin to keep dropping him out of the squad. Dada exactly knew that the Australians do not get bogged down unless some one gets under their skin which is what he exactly did.

The title ‘Dada’ which is given to him means Big Brother is apt as he has been an instrumental force in building the young team and that he has been by the side of the youngsters and has always shown faith in them.
Seems Steve Waugh would have taken the slang meaning of Dada which means a bully or a Goon that’s why he has always criticised him.

He is one of the members of the Fab four of Indian Team. Records speak volume for him. He has been a player who has played well in both the formats of the games

Despite the fact that every one failed to score in the series against Sri Lanka, he was the first person to be axed out of the team. He has been dropped out of the test side despite of scoring decent number of runs if not scoring heavily. In the event of the failure, people start talking that he is not fit for playing and that the youngster should be given a chance ahead.
Sometimes one feels that the selectors have some vested interest in dropping him out of the squad. One should not forget that he has won India many matches under his captainship both in India and abroad.

Having said every thing, one also has to agree the fact that nothing can be taken for granted and hard work and perseverance is the name of he game if one wants to be a part of it. At the same time,let your performance speak volume rather than making noise.I think this is what is working for Dada as he has been considered in the Squad of 15 member for the action packed India- Australia Border Gavaskar series.


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