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Balancing the Thin Line

Cricket is, inarguably, a very descriptive sport. Comprehending all the rules, and nuances therein, can be an arduous task. While the number of regulations is itself a long list, interpreting them is often tricky, especially on instances when diverging opinions can be derived from a single event. Among the multiple ways of dismissing a batter, the most contentious is probably that of running out the non-striker by the bowler in his run-up before completing the delivery. Commonly referred to as ‘Mankading’, it has commanded extraordinary attention over the last few years and serves a fitting example for conflicting perceptions. With ever increasing focus, is it time to revisit the scope of the dismissal, and look at options which can discourage batters, in general, from crossing the line? Spirit of cricket is usually invoked whenever a batter is Mankaded. Cricket is a contest between a bat and ball; such a run-out invariably nullifies the essence and is notionally unfair. The sport has
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Tracking Indian Cricket through Boxing Day Tests

1-0 up in the series. More than 60000 spectators on Boxing Day. Captain wins toss and decides to bat first. Opener’s first tour to Australia. India ends the day at 329 for 4; of which 195 (off 233) decorated with 25 fours and 5 sixes come from one batsman. Flamboyance defined Virender Sehwag’s batting career, but lack of baggage and no fear of failure leading to high impact knocks noticeably marked his early years. India went on to lose the test by 9 wickets, thanks to a career-best 257 from Ricky Ponting. India’s cricket over the 1990s & early-2000s on away tours seemed to follow this pattern of solid batting prowess and infrequent instances of out-bowling the opposition. The bowling looked thinner on days when the batting delivered under par, which resulted in more losses than draws or wins. Spin was India’s stronger suit, which made it more arduous task to restrict opposition in the 1 st innings, necessitating the batting to click in the first attempt. That Sehwag knock prope

Could IPL-2020 be RCB's Season?

Come 19 th of this month, Indian players will be seen resuming competitive cricket after a long hiatus. The net sessions have begun, social media conversations are multiplying, and the broadcaster build-ups are ramping up. Unprecedented circumstances have resulted in matches being played in empty stadiums and would be remarkably interesting to see how crowd-puller teams/players react. This is in addition to the mental fatigue of isolation and pressures of competing within a bubble for over a month and half. Tough characters or marquee players in the teams would be required to drive the rest, in addition to executing skills on the field. No bigger character in Indian cricket at the moment than Virat Kohli to demonstrate how it can be done. He has been leading one of the more popular IPL teams – Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) for a while now and would be keen to have a go at the trophy one more time. RCB is the third major team other than Delhi Capitals (DC) (previously Delhi Dared

One Among Us, Not Quite

Quiet Saturday evening of a National Holiday. A two-line captioned video clip makes its way onto the social media, and within minutes stirs up a concoction of emotions across the country of over a billion people. Everything about the post – audio, video, caption, timing, has some logic. The full stop had arrived and delivered by the man himself, in his own revered manner. We did not hear Mahendra Singh Dhoni speak but like always the mind took centre stage over emotions on a public platform. The emotions never really came to the fore, did they? We did not see much expression when he was run out for nought in the debut match, or when India crashed out of the 2007 World Cup. There was no animated reaction when 0-8 along with a home series loss to England threatened to cut short Dhoni’s captaincy nor when his run out in the 2019 World Cup virtually marked the conclusion of India’s campaign. The emotions did show up on occasions, especially when he was not out in the middle – press confe

Let Dhoni be Dhoni!

Sport is a great leveller, and time and again it has been established irrespective of stature of an athlete or nature of the sport. For somebody who was a certainty few years ago, is now being pushed for a place the side. Numbers don’t lie and averages of 27.80 (2016) and 25.00 (2018) in ODIs, testify the growing scrutiny about a certain MS Dhoni’s place in the limited overs team. The magnum opus for this version of the sport is hardly 3 months away, and a string of match-winning efforts have been required to downplay the growing demand for Dhoni’s position in white-ball cricket. At 99-4, Dhoni was joined by Kedar Jadhav on an uncertain pitch at Hyderabad during the first ODI of the India vs Australia series, and the target of 237 seemed far off. 24.5 overs later Virat Kohli went out to the post-match presentation as the winning skipper and Kedar Jadhav was adjudicated as the player of the match. Quietly at the other end, India’s trusted lieutenant to finish games ended the match

Which Kohli Will Turn Up For The 2017-18 Season?

1st ODI, India vs England, Pune, 15 January 2017. Score 63-4. Dhoni has just been dismissed. The original target of 351, now reads 288 off 229. Kohli is batting on 27*. India’s trio of all-rounders, relatively unfancied, to follow. Kohli scores his 17th hundred in a run-chase, but the hero of the day is Kedar Jadhav whose prominence in the 200-run stand with Kohli took the game away from the opposition. Kohli the batsman extends his incredible record of successful hundreds in run-chases to 17, but Kohli the captain (leading in only his 18th ODI) has found a bankable lower-middle order batsman; the latter more critical as there only 2 more games to play to before India defends its Champions Trophy title in England later in the year. 1st Test, India vs Australia, Pune, 23-25 February 2017. An extraordinarily dry surface greets the opening contest of the big ticket series. India dismiss Australia for 260 after losing the toss. Kohli walks in to bat at 44-2. Two balls later Kohli

कप्तान कोहली से विराट उम्मीदे!

५ जीत , ३ ड्रॉ , २ हार - ये है बतैर टेस्ट कप्तान विराट कोहली का डेढ़ साल का लेखा जोखा | मैदान में अग्रसक्रिय सोच , युवाओ को प्रोत्साहन और फ़ैसलो में जोखिम लेना और उसकी ज़िम्मेदारी लेना , ये कुछ खुभियाँ जो इस संक्षिप्त अवधि में फॅन्स और समिक्शो को भा रही है | कोहली ने एक पेचेदि भरे मोड़ पर कमान संभाली थी , जब टीम ऑस्ट्रेलिया में संघर्ष करते वक्त धोनी ने अचानक सन्यास की घोषणा की | लेकिन अपने स्वाभाव के अनुरूप कोहली ने उस जटिल परिस्थिति को एक अवसर में तब्दील किया | भारत ने उस दौरे की आखरी टेस्ट मॅच ड्रॉ किया और २०१५ में खेले गयी २ बड़ी शृंखलाओ में कोहली के   नेतृत्व   में भारत ने जीत दर्ज की - श्रीलंका में २२ साल बाद जीत और दक्षिण आफ्रिका को ३ - ० से पछाड़ा | १० टेस्ट मॅच भले ही एक अल्प समय हो किसी के कप्तानी का आकलन करने के लिए , मगर इतने कम कार्यकाल में कोहली ने अपनी छाप छोड़ी है | अक्सर कड़ी मेहनत के बाद एक तुलनात्मक रूप से आसान