Bye Bye MS Dhoni (Legend)

Following on from the poor showing in Australia, MS Dhoni has decided to call it time on his test match career. This was something that was on the cards (read my article after the 2nd test finished). India’s most successful captain will continue in ODI cricket where he will look to defend the world cup. It would not surprise me if he called it quits totally after that is up.

Unfortunately his test career slightly fizzled out, I am not certain that his heart was in playing on at test level for a while now. This seemed to come across in the way he was playing. That apart he has been a phenomenal player for India in test cricket. As mentioned above his record for India makes him their best test match skipper. His combined test and ODI record would also see him in the top 10 captains of all time. The icc rankings (taken from the icc website) puts him at number 3 in this list. Read my blog from 2012 here questioning why Dhoni was so hated.

All this is not bad for a player who many said is not cut out for test cricket. Six centuries and many more fifties later he is having the last laugh. I remember a few of those hundreds, in particular the magnificant 148 he scored against Pakistan in only his second test series. Or the match winning 224 scored with SIX sixes and TWENTY FOUR fours against Australia.

He also holds the record for most dismissals by an Indian, the third highest all-time runs scored by a wicketkeeper and the only Indian to captain a test side to four consecutive test wins. I will also remember him for his calm persona as well as being one of the last fair players. Calling back Ian Bell when the Englishman was clearly being stupid was one such example.

Under his stewardship India reached number 1 in test cricket as well as thrashing most teams at home. Where he will be questioned is the performance of the side away from India. The double whooping by England and Australia and defeats to South Africa and New Zealand away is something that may stick to his name. But lets forget that and remember the good things.

MS Dhoni leaves Indian test cricket in a good place, with Kohli at the helm with lots of exciting younger players the times will be good. Good luck to Virat Kohli who has big big boots to fill. Thanks for the memories Captain Cool.

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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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Bell, Bopara & Cook all playing for their places?

Alastair Cook and Ian Bell in action during the second ODI against West Indies

England travel to Sri Lanka on the back of two ODI series losses. This series is key to the squads preparation for the upcoming world cup which starts in February. Unlike the majority of international sides England have lots and lots of questions to answer before the world cup starts.

India, Australia and South Africa for example have had a settled squad in place for the last two or three years, whilst England have chopped and changed and then brought the original guys back into the fold. It is a very English problem that the side faces. Like many of England’s past sides they do not have players of the same experience as the other sides. This is not due to them having a young squad it is due to the constant experimenting to the ODI side.

Bopara is probably England’s most experienced ODI player now, yet he is inexplicably dropped from the summer’s series against India and Sri Lanka. The reason given was that they wanted to experiment with pace bowling. Ian Bell is another who seems to have been around for ever, yet I can not remember an ODI series where he has been the best batsman for England.

I do not blame either Bopara or Bell, I blame the lack of clear leadership in English cricket, particularly for the shorter forms of the game. Conversely to Bell and Bopara we have England captain Alistair Cook. It is very clear to all that he is only in the side because he is the captain. If he once again fails in Sri Lanka will the selectors make the right call? I somehow doubt it.

In the eyes of the selection committee I fell Alistair Cook can do no wrong. For England’s sake I hope they come to their senses and relieve him of all captaincy matters. He should go back to batting only in test cricket, where he is an undoubted star when the captaincy pressure is off.

Who opens for England? The answer can’t be answered without mentioning Alex Hales. Surprisingly he only played in the India series, but will feature up the top. If England did not stumble on his re-selection we probably would have seen Bell and Cook again opening, ZZzzzzzz..

Bopara, Broad, Root, Morgan, Voakes, Jordan and Butler have to play. Anderson deserves one last chance in the world cup, although he has never cut it at ODI level. Especially in the sub continent, so another poor showing in Sri Lanka before the world cup may do him more harm than good. Another key player for England is Moin Ali, he has to play but in my eyes can be assisted by another spinner. Ali is now a genuine all rounder, so play him as a batsman that bowls not the other way around.

Ali opens for England in T20 cricket so why can he not do the same in the ODI squad?

The Sri Lanka series will be very interesting to see how England line up. Lets hope they pick the best side and not the side that are most chummy with the coach.

Selectors taking England back to the 90’s?

A bug bear of mine is the way the English selectors work. The problems of the late 80’s and early 90’s looked to be over with has returned.  This being the constant chopping and changing of squads.

 

As a child I remember watching Greame Hick and Mark Ramprakash play every other test series. They are just of a few of the unfortunate players who the ECB ruined. These were two of the most talented batsmen that England have ever produced. This is evident in the stats not only in county cricket, but their international record is much better than what people think. They had good games but one or two bad games would see them dropped. Others on this list could be Rob Key, Jack Russell, Adam Hollioake and lately Ravi Bopara just to name a few. Rob Key’s last match for England included an Ashes double century. Ravi Bopara scored an impressive 3 centuries in his 13 test matches that he played, but one bad series saw him never return to test cricket.

The problem that troubled English cricket for so many years went away under the stewardship of Hussain and Fletcher. It was with great work behind the scenes and strong management that this was allowed to happen. This set up the basis of the great Ashes winning side under Michael Vaughn and later the dominant side that Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower built. Its no surprise that this was best period in England’s cricket history since World War 2.

There were times when a young Andrew Flintoff was not performing regularly, he seemed over weight and constantly injured. If he were 6/7 years older I am sure that the English selectors would have quickly disposed of him. Under the management at the time they stuck with him. Look at the Michael Vaughn that won the Ashes they used a minimal 12 players for the whole series.

My point is that if the selectors pick a player he should be given time to make the position his own or time to show that he is not capable of doing the job. Poor Nick Compton played in 9 tests  scoring 2 hundreds and 1 fifty in that, he was dropped not on form just to make space for someone more exciting. There is nothing wrong in that but the next time that England needed an opener in the side he was overlooked for Carbury.

The Hampshire opener (Carbury) himself has been mistreated by England. He was portrayed as one of the two scape goats with KP for the failed Ashes series. Talking of openers how did the selectors see fit to promote Sam Robson ahead of Varun Chopra? The former Essex man has been overlooked too many times now. Saying all this Robson is a good player and I hope England do not drop him now until they know for sure that he is good or not.

The English selectors need to be more consistent in their selection process, this should also produce more consistent results on the pitch.

 

The Stars & Flops of IPL 7

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As IPL 7 draws to a conclusion Simply Cricket Blog takes a look back at some of the best performers and those who have not lived up to their high expectations. The biggest surprise has to be Mumbai Indians going from champions to a bottom side. Conversely Delhi Daredevils form has not been a surprise at all.

The stars of IPL 7:

The undoubted star of this IPl has to be Glenn Maxwell. Before this tournament started he was considered a player with a good track record at domestic level, but not anything of note in international cricket. I now feel he has taken his profile to be considered in the top bracket of T20 players now. The IPL can be considered on par with international T20’s due to the vast number of international players competing. Kings X1 Punjab have a number of players who could be in this list.

20 year old Akshar Patel is another who has impressed for Kings X1, a relatively unknown player before this competition started. He is now on the minds of the selectors who will undoubtedly monitor his performances over the coming year. He is officially listed as an allrounder but we have only seen the best of his bowling as yet. Could he be a long term successor to Ashwin?

Dwayne Smith has been the best player so far for Chennai Super Kings. His new partnership with Brendan Mcullum has been pretty successful. It is ironic that he was part of the winning squad last season and his former side now lay at the bottom of the league. Mike Hussey went the other way and he has totally flopped.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar currently holds the purple cap and is now showing that he is capable of playing all forms of the game. I believe him to be the natural heir to Zaheer Khan’s throne and this could be a big few months for him with the England tour coming up. He is part of the fierce Sunrisers Hyderabad bowling attack, also containing Dale Stein amongst others.

Others who make a list of IPL 2014 stars are JP Duminy, who is fighting on his own for Delhi. Miller and Bailey again from Punjab. New Rajesthan captain Shane Watson who looks to have remembered that he is an allrounder again. Talking of resurgences Robin Uthappa looks to have found some of his best form again, just in time to give Indian selectors a slight headache.

The Flops of IPL 7:

If it were possible I would list the whole Mumbai Indians squad in the list as well as Delhi Daredevills minus JP Duminy. His captain Kevin Pietersen has made the list purely on reputation, much was expected from him at Delhi and he has just not lived up to this.

Rohit Sharma makes this list, everything he did last season turned to gold, this season is another story. His squad have let him down and the pressure of managing a team on poor form has affected his own game. Another Indian who makes this list is Parthiv Patel. He used to be a fluent batsman and a brilliant wicket keeper, so far for RCB he has not shown this. A former world star Mike Hussey, has been woeful during the competition. His retirement from cricket seems to have hindered his performances.

The IPL finishes up on Sunday 1st June, I would love to see Punjab take the title this season.

Delhi need KP and RCB show why they are favourites!

The IPL is back, sorry I meant Indian T20 League. We have a bizarre re-branding of the popular IPL name and also we have two teams who’s official names have changed. Who am I to advise these expert marketers but most people will still call this the IPL.

virat-kohli

Stupid Name Changes:

The worst of the three name changes has to be the competition its self. Over the last few years the IPL has built up a brand, in my opinion it will always be known as the IPL now. As for Rajesthan and Punjab it seems there are a few reasons for the name changes.

I am not sure if the new name have been forced onto the sides, so that all the teams are city based and not state based. This could be true because the sides are listed as Mohali and Jaipur in the league table on the official site but still called by the old names on other parts of the site. Other reasons I can think of are that Kings XI Punjab was an unlucky name and Rajesthan Royals are desperate to shift the spot fixing name.

The First Two Games:

The two favourites for the tournament Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore have been in action over the first two games, to differing results. Mumbai were blown out of the water but Kallis and his KKR side. The veteran allrounder showed that their is still life in the old dog. The break from international cricket seems to have refreshed him. The same didn’t seem to apply for Mike Hussey on the opposing side, who had a début to forget. as with all good players I am sure he will come good. Looking at Mumbai’s players they should be relaxed to know they can esily turn this loss around. KKR showed enough in this game to be ranked as one of the top sides.

Royal Challengers Bangalore are my favourites to win this year. They showed exactly why in their first game. Unfortunately for me they did it against the side I have allegiances to Delhi Daredevils. The north Indian side lacked their leader Kevin Pietersen. The whole side was changed including the coaching set up, but on the field not much has changed. They are still ultra reliant on KP and do not have the quality in their batting. Their opponents today left out Chris Gayle, yet they still eased to victory.

A batting line up that includes Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, AB Devilliers and Albie Morkel will always be considered favourites for T20 competitions. Their biggest issue is if Kohli can keep a lid on his erratic captaincy and if they can convert their strong home form away from home.

 

Poll: Who will win the ICC World T20 2014?

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