India Winning Through Team Efforts

A lot had been said in the build up to the World Cup about certain Indian players and the teams chances at the tournament. I for one am blown away as to how good the side has been. So much went on during the poor tour of Australia that many like myself stopped believing that they would have much impact. Players like Dhawan and Dhoni have answered the critics already.

For India there has not been one outstanding player so far, they have all contributed to each match. That is the sign of a confident team. Each match a different player has stepped up to the plate. Kohli and Shami against Pakistan, Dhawan, Ashwin and Rahane against South Africa. Even MS Dhoni was called into action against West Indies. He generally comes to the rescue when nobody else does.

In terms of the batting Jadeja has hardly been needed and Rohit Sharma is yet to fully fire. This is a great sign for India as they players will come to the party soon too.

The fielding and bowling have been surprisingly good for India, this despite Ishant Sharma’s absence and Bhuvneshwar only playing one game. The competition is only in its early days so I am not getting too excited about India’s chances, but I now class them with New Zealand and Australia as the sides to beat.

Lets hope India can continue this form through the knock out stages.

India World Cup Infographic

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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.

Sachin, his legacy and potential replacements

Indian Warrior

Thursday will mark the final chapter in Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar’s professional cricket story. Fittingly the final destination for Sachin is his spiritual home,  the Wankhede Stadium.  So many people will hold different memories of him, but the everlasting image for me will be him being held aloft after the famous world cup win. Countless records have fallen to Tendulkar, too many to list.

A mark of the man’s profile is the tributes that come his way. The biggest compliment has to be from the President of The United States of America Barack Obama, who stated the following:

“I don’t know about cricket but still I watch cricket to see Sachin play. Not because I love his play [but] because I want to know the reason why my country’s production goes down by five per cent when he’s in batting”

I am not sure what is more amazing, the fact that Obama took time out to recognise his retirement or the fact that  he attributes one player denting the worlds leading economy by 5%.

Cricket can now be divided into three different era’s, these being before Tendulkar, during his time and after Tendulkar. He has seen a massive change in world cricket and also Indian cricket. Through the course of his career he has seen Indian cricket rise to new heights. There had never been an Indian sports superstar before him, but because of him there will be many more.

What he has left behind is a very strong legacy, players such as Dhoni, Kohli and Rohit Sharma all grew up with him in the team. It is possible that without Tendulkar’s success these players would not have been playing the sport at all. These players in turn are inspiring children as young as age 5 and making their own legacy.

Going forward someone will have to be brought into the squad to replace one of the greatest players to have ever played the sport. I believe the batting talent is already in the squad to cover the loss of such a player. The calls will be for a batsman to come into the side, but I believe that an allrounder or extra bowler should be brought in, especially when playing at home. Kholi is a shoe in to move into the vacated number four spot, meaning Rohit Sharma can be moved up to five.

Dhoni is too good a batsman to be wasted at number seven, in my opinion he could bat in any of the top six positions with distinction. He would be my new number six. Jadeja should battle with Ashwin as to who bats at number seven. When playing abroad the selectors could be flexible for this role. If the pitch requires an extra batsman then so be it, if the extra seamer is needed then this could be an option.

The retirement of Tendulkar will be a sad day for cricket, but going forward, the future of Indian cricket seems in healthy state.

Tendulkar will always be a legend but India need to move on!

Some people call him a national treasure, some call him their idol and a few even call him God, but to me he will always be known as the greatest batsman in my lifetime of cricket.

 The date was 15 November 1989, this day was a very special day for Indian cricket. A young boy from Bombay made his way to the crease in the toughest of circumstances. To start your career against the arch enemy in their own back yard must be one of the toughest starts a cricketer could ask for.

Back on this day no one could have predicted what was to come over the next twenty four years. He has countless records to his name, but the one that sticks out in my mind is him being the first player to score a double century in a ODI. What is great about Tendulkar is that he seems to take joy in every shot and every century. 

 On many occasions it could be said that Sachin carried India, he has seen it all in Indian cricket. Throughout the early to mid 90’s he had very little support from a fledgling Indian side which struggled. Tendulkar kept this team afloat with his class. Playing with the likes of Kapil Dev, Ganguly, Dhoni and Virat Kohli he has gone from the kid of the side to father figure. It is hard to imagine the pressure that this one man has had to deal with but as with everything nothing lasts for ever.

 Over the last five years Sachin has enjoyed a good run of form, helping India to world cup glory and raising the team to world number one in test cricket. This probably was his last hoorah. The last year and a bit have been slightly tougher for the little master. It is evident that like Dravid before him, his seeing of the ball is getting slightly slower. 

 The announcement that Sachin will retire after the West Indies series comes as no surprise to anyone who has seen him play. The only surprise is that it had not come slightly earlier. The state of Indian cricket is the healthiest it has ever been, with many young players in the system. 

 The man that I predict will be given the first opportunity to replace the great man is Rohit Sharma. A very similar type of player, he know deserves a long run in the test side to prove his quality. No one is expecting him to do exactly what Sachin did but they want him to make his own name. If Rohit does not succeed there are plenty of others waiting in the wings for their chance. 

 I could go as far as saying with Dhoni and Kohli at the helm India have the best side they have ever had. These two names mentioned above are the two players who now carry the mantle of Sachin. They ironically grew up watching Sachin the superstar, now they call him bhai or paji.  

 Its with a heavy heart I say that Sachin Tendulkar retiring is a good thing for Indian cricket. He has given me so many good memories that I am sure I will treasure for a life time but I think it is time to keep these as good memories. Lets hope that the last few games of his career will highlight his whole career. Goodbye Sachin, have a great retirement in what ever you do.