Rahane’s 2017 battle to get back in the test side

Ajinkya Rahane.jpeg

Injuries and a lack of form have come at the wrong time for Ajinkya Rahane. From being one of the first names on the team sheet, he now finds his place in the test side under threat, this may well follow with his exclusion from the ODI side.

The former test vice captain could only watch as younger players Karun Nair and KL Rahul stole the show in the last test. What made his agony more was the fact that prior to being injured he had three bad matches. Unfortunately for Rahane India hadn’t played test cricket for a while before this, so his past form is not remembered. The vice captain role will also be hard to claw back off Ravi Ashwin who is on the form of his life.

Looking at Rahane’s test career his stats are excellent, most recently Ganguly has stated that he is as good as Kohli. The talent is undeniable, but the question for Rahane that will need to be answered by the selectors for the Australia series is how much does past form and experience count over recent form?

Ajinkya Rahane’s test stats:

Age Tests  100’s 50’s Average
28 32 8 9 47.33

The Indian test side has an abundance of batting talent now, that is capable of dominating test cricket. Rahane’s rivals are Pujara (who has consolidated his number 3 position), Kohli (the captain who is undroppable on current form), Nair (who is the form batsman) and Rohit Sharma (who also missed the series due to injury).

Rahane could also open the batting, but would have to uproot Vijay and KL Rahul, he would also have to push ahead of Dhawan and Gambhir (who both are off form). There is a tough decision to be made prior to the Australian series in February.

There is no doubt that the classy batsman will be back one day, for now it might be a waiting game. He will have to work hard and once again prove himself in domestic cricket and try to get back into the minds of the selectors with a good IPL.

Who Will Win IPL 2015?

Who Will Win IPL 2015?

Love it or hate it the IPL is one of the most exciting cricket competitions. It always brings to light potential young stars of Indian cricket as well as future world stars. What I love most is the team spirit of those players who last month hated each other. As always it is hard to call a winner. Please vote below as who you would like to win and write a comment explaining why you want this team.

Will Kohli break the ODI Century record?

kohli-indiaModern India. Probably the most cricket mad nation on this planet. If you can make it as a cricketer in India you will probably have made it. One man who definitely falls into this category is vice captain Virat Kohli. He has the Bollywood actress girlfriend, millions of fans world wide, millions in the bank and is heir to the biggest captaincy job in world sport. What more could a man ask for?

Well he may have his eyes on yet another record. In my opinion he could challenge the magnificent ODI test centuries record set by Sachin Tendulkar. This a record that many feel is unbeatable. I feel it is very attainable for Kohli. If we compare the stats then there is not much splitting them.

Before starting this comparison I would like to state my love for Sachin Tendulkar. For me he is the best batsman that I have ever seen and most likely the inspiration for players such as Virat Kohli. If we were to ask Kohli he probably would agree that Tendulkar was a better player. The stats do not include test cricket where the little master would rule and do not take into account the longevity of Sachin’s full career, it simply is a snapshot of both the stars at 26 years old.

Sachin Kohli
Age 26 26
100’s 27 21
50’s 38 33
ODI Matches 198 146
Strike Rate 88.96 90.50
Average 45.66 52.61

 

Saying all that out of all the current international cricket players Virat has the best chance to break this record. Whether he can is another question. Despite him only turning 26 last month he has 21 centuries to his name already. Thats still a staggering 28 behind Tendulkars 49 total ODI centuries.

What can be gained from this is Kohli’s better strike rate at the same age. If we take into account the number of games needed to score a century Sachin would score a ton every 8 games, while Kohli scores a century every 7th game. 

If we were to take this one step further. We could deduce that if Virat Kohli scored a century at the same rate after the same amount of games (198) he would be one century ahead of Sachin.

Although both players have a high average, Kohli wins again. We can’t make to much of this stat as it is affected by players remaing not out in games. Kohli has always batted at number 3 or lower so he is more likely than Sachin to stay not out. It does however show consistency, and this raises expectancy for him to carry this on.

Another factor to consider that much of Sachin Tendulkar’s ODI career was spent opening the batting. Contrast this to Kohli who has rarely opened if at all for India. Add to this the pressure of being the future captain and Kohli really is starting to look like a genuine challenger.

Sachin had great longevity in the game, Virat looks to have a good fitness level as well as hunger to achieve great things. Who knows if in 10 years time we are reading articles on Virat Kohli being the record holder in ODI cricket for the most centuries. All we know is that he has the potential and time to smash this record so don’t rule anything out.

Don’t forget to vote/comment below.

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England v India – My Thoughts

Following a sports team can bring many highs as well as many lows. Especially if that team is the Indian cricket team. I can’t quite bring my self to understand what happened in the test & ODI series, but be sure we won’t be hearing the last of these problems for both sides.

Where to start with India’s problems? The same old problems of a test series abroad still haunt Indian cricket. On paper India should have performed far better than they did in the test series. The only players who can take any consolation from the series are Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Murali Vijay, Ajinke Rahane and MS Dhoni at a push (a big push).

Talking of Dhoni, he did well in patches with the bat but not to the level we expect from him. He seems to be playing within himself. His captaincy was at times to safe in the test series. India started the series very well, with a battling performance on that flat pitch at Trent Bridge, and a great win at Lords. But after that game we saw the same Indian performance that we got in the UK last time around, albeit with different players.

I have said it for a while now but India have a great bowling attack to compliment the star studied batting. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is looking more and more like a young James Anderson, while Sami and Ishant scared the English with their pace. Shame Ishant Sharma got injured after Lords, his injury made a difference. Punkaj Signh tried very hard but wasn’t really up to the standard.

There were two other talking points for India to think about in the test series. The first being the situation between Jadeja and Anderson. This odd little saga, seemed to take the stuffing out of India. For some reason the accuser (Jadeja) was found guilty of his offence, while the accused (Anderson) was not tried at all for another two weeks. What’s more is that Anderson was let off scot free forcing the ICC to re-asses the Jadeja charges also.

There has been lots of talk that Dhoni and his players felt let down by the coach and board not supporting them. Since the Anderson hearing India seemed like a team who didn’t care. I would like to clarify that both players were found innocent, but have you ever seen MS Dhoni so animated, ever? “Captain Cool” got angry, definitely one of the most sporting players around currently. For this reason I know what speculation I should believe. I also believe that Jimmy Anderson is a great bowler but on the field he seems to cross any sporting line constantly.

India bounced back well in the ODI series with Raina even adapting to lots and lots of short pitch bowling. One big disappointment was Virat Kohli, we need him to come good.

England’s main problem is Alistair Cook. He had a poor test series, not reaching three figures once. He was called out by many pundits as being tactically out of his depth as captain also. In many ways India’s shockingly bad batting in the last few test matches has prolonged Cook’s captaincy.

The England selectors now have a massive headache in the selection for the World Cup and Sri Lanka tour before that. Cook is still the ODI captain, yet 99% of people that know anything about cricket know that Alistair Cook does not merit a place in the ODI side.

A special mention needs to go out to Moin Ali, England seem to have found a rough diamond there.

Questions to answer:
Should Dhoni step down a test captain to concentrate on limited overs captaincy?

Should India replace Duncan Fletcher?

Should England pursue with Cook in ODI cricket?

Who are the next captains for both sides?

 

England, Sangakara, Jayawardene and the end of Yuvraj

ecf80-yuvraj-singh-pictures-2251

The T20 World Cup in Bangladesh was an overwhelming success. For me it was the best international T20 tournament so far. The competition will be remembered for a few things, the first being Kumar Sangakara and Mahela Jayawardene going out of T20 cricket with a bang. The second being England’s total capitulation against The Netherlands and the last being the slow decline of another great Yuvraj Singh.

Although India played well throughout the tournament they were definitely the second best side in the final. Sri Lanka had plenty of experiences in how to lose a major final, but this time they always looked in control of the game. The ending of two of the worlds great players T20 careers was almost the stuff of dreams. Both Sangakara and Jayawardene had been part of great Sri Lankan teams which bravely lost so many finals. It would have been a real shame for them to retire without any silverware to show. They have one more chance in limited overs cricket, the 2015 world cup will be the ending of their ODI careers. Surely they cannot repeat this feat can they?

The two best friends have always been at ease in the international game, breaking many records. It will be fun to see how Sri Lanka will play without their two talismanic figures when they line up against England on the 20th May at the Kia Oval.  It will be a hard few years when they totally call it quits, for Sri Lanka.

England had a very interesting winter, cumulating in the terrible T20 world cup. Not only did they lose all the matches in Australia, they topped it all by embarrassing themselves against The Netherlands. What was very evident for is that Stuart Broad is not a real captain. I read an interesting quote from someone on my twitter feed, (sorry I cant remember who). He said “some people are generals and others are soldiers, Broad is a soldier.” It is not really a secret that Ashley Giles is going to be the next England coach. From the looks of the winter it seems to be the wrong choice, only time will tell.

Finally a real sad sight for Indian cricket was the decline of Yuvraj Singh. He cannot be held solely to blame for India’s loss in the final but he played a major role in it. He has been one of India’s greatest players playing major roles in past glories. The six 6’s against England was what set up India to win the first T20 world cup. He was voted the player of the tournament in the last world cup which India won. Coming back from cancer was a massive battle for him, thankfully he has won. After this he has not been the same player he was.

He is now fit and looking as slim as he has ever been but there seems to be something slightly missing. He is getting in and then getting out. The performance in the final was very unlike him. I do wonder how much more of Yuvraj we will see when players such as Binny, Shikar Dhawan were sitting on the sidelines. This may not be the end as Yuvraj is a fighter he may have one more comeback in him. I wish him well, hopefully he can find form with his new side RCB in the IPL.

What are your best memories of Kumar Sangakara and Mahela Jayawardene? Will Yuvraj make another comeback and who should captain England in T20/limited overs cricket? Please let me know below. 

Is Jadeja an opener and India’s team dilema

Ravindra Jadeja

When Jadeja first started his international career he was seen as a bit of a makeshift allrounder. He was a useful part time spinner, a pinch hitter. He was labelled as nothing more than a handy T20 player. Over the past year and a half this has all changed. He is now a vital cog in the Indian side, even displacing Ashwin in the last two tests that India have played.

Not only is his spin bowling impressive, he is one of the best fielders in the side aswell as developing his batting to more than just pinch hitting. When thinking of similar players to Jadeja over the last decade one name springs to mind. This being Dilshan of Sri Lanka, he started out as a part time bowler and lower order pinch hitter just like Jadeja.

The fielding similarities are there also, Dilshan like Jadeja could field anywhere even wicket keeping. I haven’t seen the young Indian keep wicket yet but am sure he could do a steady job if called upon. One thing that happened for Dilshan was that he was moved up to open the batting.

I feel that Jadeja is very capable of this role, in fact I feel that this move would favour the balance of the Indian test side. In my opinion India are lacking one more bowling allrounder. In the first test against New Zealand the bowling attack was made up of Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma,  Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja. I feel that against the bigger sides outside of India they need five bowlers and not four.

The batting line up currently is perfect for India, they have a good opening partnership, a great number three and four and good lower order batsmen. In my opinion they need to find a place for either Ashwin or Bhuvneshwar in test cricket, to supplement the four already there.

The options are to drop Rahane and move Jadeja up to opener, let the very apt Ahwin or equally good batsman Bhuvneshwar develop into the bowling allrounder. The other option would be to drop Murali Vijay and push either Rahane or Jadeja up the order.

I would favour the second option. It would be unfortunate for Murali Vijay who has done nothing wrong but sometimes big decisions need to be made. Both Ashwin and Bhuvneshwar are capable number seven batsmen. They would also give the side great balance between the batting and bowling. Having five bowlers will benefit India especially in England in the summer.

Ian Smith: “Jadeja is India’s best ever fielder”

Ravindra Jadeja

Half way through the first test between India and New Zealand, veteran commentator Ian Smith came out with a very interesting statement. He boldly stated that Ravindra Jadeja was the “best ever fielder” that India have produced. The other players who could lay a claim to this title are Yuvraj Singh, Mohammed KaifVirat Kohli and Suresh Raina. Below I have given my opinion on Jadeja in relation to these players.

Ravindra Jadeja:

A total cricketer who is simply good at every thing that he does. So much so brilliant that he is brilliant at growing a moustache. He is electric in the field, so fast that taking any sort of run to him is a risk. Currently he is up their as India’s best fielder.

Yuvraj Singh:

He probably was the Indian who made fielding “sexy” for his nation. Yuvraj along with Kaif were the first two players to show the senior players that fielding was important. Their selection to the national side was very important as it probably inspired the current crop of players to work hard on their fielding. He made the point position his own until recently for India. It seems that Yuvraj will always be remembered as a great fielder but I would rank Jadeja slightly higher because of his pace around the field. He can field anywhere but Yuvraj has only really shown his value at point. I have also seen Yuvraj go through the complacent stage where he put on weight and didnt concentrate as much on his game. He is now back looking lean and back to his old great fielding.

Mohammed Kaif:

Maybe the first player to get into the side because of his fielding ability over batting or bowling. Kaif was an electric fielder, very fast chasing the ball around the field. There were times that Kaif and Yuvraj stifled teams. He was unlucky not be given much of a chance in test cricket, his fielding may have gone to the next level. A great fielder but I feel Jadeja is naturally more athletic.

Virat Kohli:

The aggressive batting and part time bowling is supplemented by his great fielding prowess. He is up there with one of India’s greatest. He has fielded in many positions most recently being employed in the slips. From the outside it looks as if Kohli puts allot of effort in fielding. I personally cannot distinguish him from Jadeja.

Suresh Raina:

Like Kaif it could be argued that he is currently being retained in the ODI side due to his great fielding. In my opinion he is the best Indian fielder I have seen. I have seen him take all types of catches and run out. On the boundary he has used the parry back well. It is hard to say that he is better than Kohli or Jadeja but I feel his fielding has been better over a prolonged period of time. His inclusion in the world cup quarter final against Australia probably changed the course of the world cup, not only for him seeing India through with the bat but also his fielding saved at least 15 runs.