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Friday, June 27, 2008

Sehwag hundred ensures easy win over Pakistan

Virender Sehwag porduced a superb innings of 119 on Thursday to power India to a crushing six-wicket win over Pakistan in their Asia Cup one-day match at the National stadium in Karachi.
Sehwag scored his ninth one-day hundred in a 198-run second wicket partnership with Suresh Raina (84) to guide India to 301 for four after 42.1 overs in reply to Pakistan's total of 299 for four.
The Pakistan score appeared imposing after Shoaib Malik had scored a captain's innings of 125 and Younis Khan added 59 but Sehwag had other ideas.
He hit 12 fours and five sixes after stand in Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq had brought off a spectacular one handed catch at wide slip to get rid of Gautam Ghambir for nine early on.
Misbah led the side after Malik had retired hurt with cramp. Pakistan also lost their pacer Umar Gul to a side strain after he had bowled just 1.2 overs.
Rao Iftikhar got Gambhir on his first ball but after that it was all Sehwag as he played some breathtaking strokes to reach his first one-day hundred for India since the 2007 World Cup match against Bermuda.
The second wicket stand, made in just 149 balls, was also an Asia Cup record, breaking the previous best of 154 between Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly against Bangladesh in 2004.
Raina fell in the 28th over after he played a loose shot to Iftkhar and was caught at cover by Fawad Alam.
Sehwag was caught at long on by Younis off Shahid Afridi after a 95-ball innings. His dismissal didn't stop the flow of runs as Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh put on further 63.
Pakistan, despite posting a big total, didn't have the same tempo in their innings and could only score 80 runs in the final 10 overs losing three wickets.
India finished top of Group B of the six-nation tournament and will play Bangladesh in the first match of the super four stage on June 28.
Earlier, Malik, who opened Pakistan's innings, recorded his first hundred as skipper and shared valuable stands of 90 with fellow-opener Salman Butt (35) and 133 with Younis Khan (59) to ensure Pakistan took full advantage of batting first in extremely hot and humid conditions.
After a series of handsome drives, Malik reached his sixth hundred and third against India in the 36th over from 104 balls with 13 fours and one six.
He survived two chances in the 39th over when he was dropped on 116 and 121 by Piyush Chawla and Gautam Gambhir from off-spinner Yousuf Pathan.
Butt was the first to go during a mixed day in the field for India when he pulled leg-spinner, Chawla straight to Suresh Raina at mid-wicket after batting for 64 balls and hitting four boundaries.
Younis, who scored his 34th one-day half-century was the second man out, also caught by Raina who took a smart running catch at mid-wicket off Pathan.
After Malik retired hurt, Mohammad Yousuf picked up the pace by hitting five fours from 20 balls while Misbah-ul-Haq contributed an unbeaten 31 from 26 balls.
Yousuf was run out in the 46th over while big hitting Afridi fell in the penultimate over.
A crowd of around 25,000 turned out to watch India play a match in Pakistan for the first time since February, 2006.


Pietersen to lead England Cricket Team in next 4 Matches

Kevin Pietersen was named England's Stand-in Captain for teh next 4 matches as the regular Captain of the team Paul Collingwood is facing 4 Match ban for slow over rate in the wednesday's game against NewZealand.
By this Pietersen dream come true to captain the national side first time,Pietersen, who was born and raised in Pietermaritzburg near Durban but has an English mother, has had a fractious relationship with South Africa captain Graeme Smith.

Virender Sehwag Century against Pakistan : Asia cup

Suresh Raina's superb knock of 84 on just 69 baals: ASIA CUP

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Asia Cup: India demolished Honkong in opening match

India launched their Asia Cup campaign in an emphatic manner, routing minnows Hong Kong by 256 runs in their opening Group B match in Karachi on Wednesday.
Electing to bat, India rattled up massive 374 for four, riding on centuries by Suresh Raina (101) and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (unbeaten 109), practicing well ahead of clash against arch-rivals and hosts Pakistan on Thursday.
They then bundled out the opponents for a paltry 118 in 36.5 overs to register their second best victory margin, the highest being 257-run win against Bermuda in 2007.
Young leg-spinner Piyush Chawla (4/23) weaved the spin magic, bowling with guile as he forced three stumpings by foxing batsmen with his intriguing line and length apart fro effecting a catch out.
Hong Kong skipper Tabarak Dar (21), James Atkinson (23) and Irfan Ahmed (25) were the main contributors in their side's dismal run-chase.
Left-arm paceman R P Singh drew the first blood in his very first over, trapping Skhawat Ali for a nought, to begin the rot.
Dar and Atkinson then put up a 45-run stand for the second-wicket but once the skipper was dismissed, Hong Kong batsmen lacked confidence in negotiating the Indian attack.
The runs, whatever scored, came at an agonisingly slow pace as the 100 came up only in the 32nd over.
Poor running added to the woes of Hong Kong as lack of understanding resulted in run-outs of Irfan and Roy Lamsam.
Sehwag then closed the Hong Kong innings with two wickets on successive deliveries as he first clean bowled Afzaal Haider and then had Nadeem Ahmed caught behind the wickets, giving Dhoni his fourth victim of the innings.
Earlier, Suresh Raina notched up his maiden one-day century and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni his fourth as India sent minnows Hong Kong on a leather hunt scoring a massive 374 for four.
Raina spearheaded the batting blitz with his scintillating 101-run knock and teamed up with Dhoni (unbeaten 109) to put on 166 from 123 balls, which saw India set the highest total in Asia Cup history.
The 21-year old left hander was in spectacular form, reaching his first fifty from exactly 50 balls and then stepped up the tempo to race to his century from only 16 balls hitting five sixes and three fours in this period.
Raina was extremely harsh on pacer Skhawat Ali who went for three sixes in one over.
Raina fell two balls after smashing pacer Afzaal Haider for a six to reach his hundred and was caught at mid-wicket.
Dhoni touched the three-figure mark after consuming balls and helped himself with with six sixes and five fours to anchor the innings.
India with their strong performance also warmed up in spectacular fashion for their important clash against traditional rivals, Pakistan.
The Hong Kong spinners who had done an admirable job against Pakistan in their first match never recovered from an early blitz from openers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir .
The duo put on 127 for the first wicket and plundered runs at will, scoring 95 in first 10 overs.
The two openers brought up the fifty in under six overs and put on a smashing 100 from 65 balls before Sehwag went for a blistering 78 from 44 balls with 13 fours and two big sixes.
He fell to left arm spinner Najeeb Amar, who also dismissed Gambhir after the Delhi player had made a quick 51 from 54 balls.
Rohit Sharma was needlessly run out for 11 runs missing out on a great batting practice opportunity. But Dhoni and the Raina were unstoppable.
Nadeem Ahmed, who took four wickets against Pakistan went wicket less.

Monday, June 23, 2008

ICL players banned from Champions League

English county teams will be barred from this year's multi-million dollar Twenty20 Champions League if they contain players from the unofficial Indian Cricket League (ICL), the Board of Control for Cricket in India said on Sunday.
The competition, which follows the launch of the Indian Premier League (IPL) this year, was to originally feature two teams each from India, England, Australia and South Africa.
"The working committee approved the proposal to jointly organise the Champions Twenty20 tournament in September-October involving Australia, South Africa, India and Pakistan," BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said in a statement.
"Clubs from England who qualify can play provided the teams do not include players who are in the ICL," the statement added.
Organised by the BCCI, the event will be staged in India from September 29 to October 8.
IPL chief Lalit Modi told reporters: "The BCCI has made its position clear that it will not host or play in tournaments which have ICL players in it."

Saturday, June 21, 2008

1983 Cup Silver Jubilee celebrations to kick-off

The Silver Jubilee celebrations of the historic 1983 World Cup win will kick-off on Sunday with the re-union of the champion team members for a series of programmes, including a grand felicitation by the Cricket Board.

The celebrations will unfold in the afternoon with Vijay Mallya-owned United Breweries and Gitanjali Jellers organising an event where the team members will unveil a bejewelled bat to mark Indian cricket's most memorable achievement.

The former cricketers will also play a round of golf in the afternoon at the Jaypee Golf course in Greater Noida.

The Cricket Board will felicitate the heroes of the nation, who had grounded the mighty West Indies to clinch the coveted Cup at Lord's on June 25 in 1983, later in the evening at a star-studded ceremony in a swanky city hotel.

The players will be felicitated with Rs 25 lakh each in the presence of a host of dignitaries, including Sports Minister MS Gill.

Melody queen Lata Mangeshkar had also been invited to grace the felicitation function but the legendary playback singer would not be able to make it owing to health reasons.

Lata had helped the BCCI raise funds to honour 'Kapil's Devils' through a special concert following the Indian team's triumph in the quadrennial extravaganza for the first and only time. Her concert in the national capital had mobilised Rs 20 lakh for the then cash-strapped BCCI and the team members were paid Rs one lakh each from the proceeds.

Other invitees include all former Test captains, all Test cricketers based in Delhi, women international cricketers in Delhi, women's former and current India captains and past office bearers of the BCCI.

Besides, the President and Secretary of all state associations and ambassadors of cricketing nations would also be present on the occasion.

On the same morning, the BCCI's all-powerful working committee, headed by its President Sharad Pawar, will meet for what has been described as a "routine" meeting.

The agenda includes tabling of reports of various sub-committees like the Tours Programmes and Fixtures Committee, the Umpires committee, the pitch and grounds committee and the National Cricket Academy for ratification.

On the subsequent morning, the team will leave for London to attend the private celebrations arranged by Sunil Gavaskar at the prestigious Long Room of the Lord's where they created history 25 years ago.

BCCI President Sharad Pawar is expected to attend the gala dinner on Wednesday.

'Perhaps that day was for me only'

Kapil Dev, who led India to the memorable triumph in the 1983 World Cup, gets nostalgic in conversation with Times Now's Arnab Goswami. Excerpts:

Kapilji, first of all, it's wonderful to see you once again and we are not going talk about ICL, IPL, controversies or any of that in the course of this chat.

Well, you are the boss and once you are invited and want to take an interview it's entirely up to you whatever you want to ask.

Okay, then we will talk about the few days that led to the most historic days in Indian cricket on 25th of June 1983. Take us through that time because so many people watched that in television... so many youngsters haven't seen what happened on that day.

Very difficult to remember everything; 25 years is not like yesterday� 25 years is 25; your brain starts fading out, a lot of memories start going off, but you do remember incidents because they remain in your memory through out your life. You cant remember what you have eaten, what you did at that day, but, as we can say, we got out very cheaply. 183 is not a total to play against West Indies , who were champions twice in the World Cup before. And, yes, you remember the Balwinder Singh Sandhu thing...the coming up...up the hill bowled a gem of a remember that. You remember Srikkanth hitting a square cut to Marshall I mean, few things you can't forget, so I can't really say I will remember everything.

Like in the dressing room...we come back...and we were a very happy lot basically...not ...not...anybody not expected us we can reach to the finals so we had started celebrating before it happened because coming into final was a victory for us. Let's put it that way... And we were very disappointed to see the wicket... it was total green and we played Lord's few times but that wicket I still remember and we were all trying to say what is know...even though we understand our strength but we were worried about the opponents strength also...bowler like Garner, Marshall, N D Robert, Michael Holding...those 4 fast bowlers. One can can play for the century in any team they were so good.

Two most glorious moments in my view -- one captured on television and one not captured as BBC crew was on strike was your 175 not out before the semi-finals... I'll talk about that a little later but one moment I remember is your running was Vivian Richards at 28 and you took a brilliant catch...that really for me and many other people was the highest point of a 23-and-a-half-year-old captain...leading a young side...and that's killer instinct when you run backwards and take a catch of Vivian Richards...that was probably the biggest turning points.

No, I think the over before Viv hit me a couple of boundaries and hit Amarnath a couple of fours, cover drives, square drive and I asked Madan; I said Madi Pa take a break, you know take an over or two. He was very, one can, say adamant...Madan. and he said no give me this over...

He said that?

Yes...I would say as if he grabbed the ball and I was trying to say doesn't matter every bowler...Vivian Richard bowling any bowler can get hit but I said to him...I calmed him down and said Madi Pa just take a break. He said no just give me the over I'll...what word he said...give me one over I'll get him out. I have got him out much time before...he said in Punjabi and I said ok fine. When a bowler believes so should always be ready to go with the flow and captain should follow bowler's instinct also and I think that's what happened perhaps and I would say Viv at that time was so arrogant in his approach.

He was the king

No doubt one of the finest batsmen...


Ever played this game and his over confidence was our victory because had he played a little calmed down and played with more time he could have walked through with the cup but again.

And you remember that particular catch?

Yes, I think.

You ran backwards...did you realize running backwards?

Yes, I think what happened is...

Were you afraid of falling down?

No. A lot of people said about...what happen when these things happen is your reflexes take over. I don't remember...I saw the ball...the ball was in the air for quite long time...I started running. After taking the catch we realized what happened...not that period of 4 sec, 5 sec or 10 sec

That's why Sunny Gavaskar always says, still says...'Kapil Dev is the greatest natural player of the have that we have got'. This World Cup was very important in also the sense that everybody says about the young players and young were 23-years-and-a-half; you had taken over in difficult times. Here the tremendous personality of Bishen Singh Bedi in 1978 when you had taken over and then you took over the captaincy from Sunny Gavaskar and Indian cricket was dominated over by the Mumbai lobby and everyone said Sunny Gavaskar and Kapil Dev don't get along and here you were spearheading the side in a pretty mature way but in a bit of dare devilish way must say...

I think anybody who has ruled cricket for so long it is difficult to give up that thing. We should respect Bombay...they were one sort of cricketers where we learn a lot from them without any doubt and I think and their power that they had for 40 years was coming out in a different manner. And perhaps I was very young; all of these guys were my heroes too.

Were you talking to Sunny through out the tournament?

On and off...I mean most of the time me and Sunny start working more is...when you are 23 you are very immature...

How old was Sunny at that time?

Must be 8 years senior to me or 10 years seniors to me and I think Sunny...

It's like Dhoni ...but like Dhoni and Dravid...Dhoni and Sachin...

Sachin yes...I think we were school kids and in colleges when Sunny and Jimmy and Madan and Kiri were all playing for the country. So I can only say that when Sunny and me come into that is much later after 83, 84 it start happening. Then we were discussing...I start standing in the slip where I could discuss with him much more. All of them used to treat me like a kid off the field and on the field also

Kapil Dev with the Prudential CupThe game against probably knew as a captain...if you got this match wrong the chances of getting through were impossible.

When we were 17/5 and then you get 100 and odd runs it sounds to be a very important and enjoyable innings but as a captain...every captain would like to give a performance like that to the team when you are down. But it wasn't important, we weren't thinking about Zimbabwe we can lose because we were winning our matches and playing so well and where it comes to be that Zimbabwe match is very important is that we should win the match with 311 runs. I still remember in the dressing room if we win that and lose the next match against Australia we will be through for the semis.

In this particular 175 runs partnership when did Kiri come in...what was the score then?

Round about 100 and something when Kiri comes in...

100 and something for 7?

Ya round about and that is the time...before that little bit Madan scored, little bit Roger Binny and everybody gave me a little bit of breathing space

I just want to understand because I don't think in the history of Indian cricket there has been a 9th wicket partnership of a 126 runs between you and Kirmani...and in which Kirmani scored 24 of 56 balls eventually�

I think Kiri and me were just saying that Kiri you just have to say there. I was running out of the partners and I kept telling Kiri once I get 160-170 on the board...after that I said Kiri now I'll open up you stay there. And before that I was telling everybody I am going to stay there you do whatever you want to. And here I turn my role, I remember saying to Kiri...Kiri you stay have to play 60 overs. And I think all this happened in the last seven overs, if I am not wrong...


Last seven overs I think... in every cricketer's life... sometimes the time comes that that day is made for him only.

Absolutely...when it's magic...when it's written in destiny

It happens to every cricketer who played. like Sunil Gavaskar , Vivian Richards, or you can say Allan Border or you can say Zaheer Abbas or you can say Sachin Tendulkar , Rahul Dravid , Sourav Ganguly ... everybody had few days is written perhaps that day was for me only.

How did you feel that day...when you made 175 out of 138 balls...magnificent...

I wasn't tired...

Were you...were you tired?

I wasn't tired... I think the happiness takes over the tiredness, whatever you get. You are so happy that you performed so well.. you got 100 and odd runs when the team is down. Not that you also got 100 runs when the team is also at 500 runs.

Not when the team is down but when the team is almost out because it was this performance that took you on three days later into a stunning victory against Australia where you thrashed them by about 120 runs...when you had been thrashed by 150 runs in the previous game because that was the impetuous...that played a T20 you realize?.

I think that moment what happened is once you win a match like this against Zimbabwe...then what happens is you go for everything with over-confidence or you can start believing, yes we can do. That victory gave the team that much extra strength. We can beat anybody now. And in the next match again Roger Binny was a champion bowler, one of the best bowling performances he did during the World Cup.

And Yashpal Sharma scored 40�

Ya, everybody...the great thing about 83 World Cup was there is not even one person who can say I played well through out the tournament... every match a different player came out and won the match.

Well, it's strange that history repeats itself and it repeats itself in cricket because the whole T20 impetuous, the T20 World Cup... If one was to look back and turn back the clock 25 years back you played the T20 performance 18th of June against Zimbabwe and victory against Australia was so reminiscent of the kind of victories we saw in 2008 Jan in Australia...we thrashed them because we believed that we could thrash them and that's what you are talking about. It's more the self believe that you could thrash Australia in the World Cup.

Ya I think... After Zimbabwe it's just that the belief in the dressing room was far, far ahead of our time in that moment. And we didn't have computer, we dint have coaches, we had nobody it's just the team themselves.

Paji, tell me what happened in the team... I want to just know... tell me the little inside story... what happened in the dressing room? How did a 23-and-a-half-year-old captain, angry, aggressive player� how did he motivate his team...tell me what happened in the dressing room...

I don't know... other guys can say... I wasn't shy ever in my life to give my point of view to anybody they like it or not...

What did you say?

I don't remember, but I think at that time we were so happy to save our face against Zimbabwe and going in on the only thing was to come to the semi-finals; that was the aim, the actual aim of the team was half way through the tournament. We said we could reach to the semi-final if we start now. Somewhere along the time you don't need a manager, you don't need anybody. The spirit of players gels so well. And somebody in the team always come out as a champion. Maybe, Kirmani, maybe Sunil, maybe Kirti Azad, Mohinder Amarnath, Madan Lal, Yashwanth Sharma, Sandeep Patil, Ravi Shastri... I mean any cricketer you take like Srikkanth came about...he was the most interesting player...

Tell me a story...

I think Srikkanth was one who lightened up the dressing room the most...I mean he does so many funny things...we always used to find he was one who was the one most...unreliable in the dressing room, in a sense if all the cup, plates, tea-coffee happen if anybody is going to break it will be him to break something in the dressing room.


He was like that... his moment of hand, the way he used to bat and he was I thought a very nice character; every team have to have a character that release the tension. Everybody is not like Sunil Gavaskar; he never liked to talk to anybody when he's batting, so it was funny story Srikkanth and Sunil Gavaskar going in to bat, because Srikkanth used to go west and Sunil used to go South... because Sunny was totally indifferent.

Is that why Srikkanth started talking to himself?

Maybe, maybe... he many times he lightened up in every sense is he come out and do such funny things... I would say he was young boy... he was our age and laugh at seniors and make a Mickey out of seniors cricketers� and I thought this kind of cricketers is required in all teams, everybody become very serious; becomes very difficult in the dressing I thought I would love to have a man... this type of character in the team because you do require to lighten up things in the team.

That picture that we see again and again... Kapil Dev when somebody looks back at the 10 most historic moments in a century for India... they are going to take the moment of June 25th your holing of Prudential Cup. You are the person in the frame... you are the personality in the frame for one of the 10 most historic moments for India.

God was kind... God was kind

God was kind... I just want to know... want to know what went through your moment when you held the Cup... what went through your heart?

I was too immature... I don't think so its easy to say now but I think a boy of... a man of 23 years old can't really with this cricket ability can you talk... but I don't think so if I put it correctly I was mature enough no.

Such a big day...

It was a fantastic of the best...we were a one-year old whom you have given a ball and a bat and he's playing

What did you tell your mates? Before you were going to go and take the Prudential Cup in your hands and after that...

I always believe it was team work and when they gave me the Cup I handed it to everybody. And I think those types of feeling is very difficult to describe in words... you can't describe. Every cricketer plays for that... every cricketer... and I felt something like we have got a toy which has given us new life. Even though we were trying to be very arrogant and very smart... no this is what we did... but heart and heart everybody was like a small kid.

The best thing happened... everybody carried the champagne and I carry the champagne in my hand bag despite of we win or loose doesn't matter. I said I am going to open the bottle. Because coming in the final; but when we won and when we went to... you know those days you go to the opponent's team dressing room and shake hand and try to cheer them. Rather than these days what we see both the teams coming out on the ground shaking hands... This is what such a lovely thing... we went to their dressing room and we were trying to see and they were totally down... they couldn't imagine ever this could happen, they couldn't imagine ever in there life this could have hit them. And they had a bottle of champagne in unbelievable numbers and I think we got lot of them from there dressing room. And that's how it happened that we were smiling and we were saying and everybody picked up and they said boys don't worry it happens.

I remember I went to Clive and Marshall -- two people -- and I said... Viv, I always treated as � is like my hero, and that's the time I said doesn't matter it happens to best of best people and players also. I went to Clive and Clive got up and start shaking hands with every people and that picture remain in my head so clear.

Well, Kapil Dev I am going to wrap this up by saying on behalf of everybody watching the show today thank you for giving us that moment and I hope you had a great time reliving the 83 World Cup.

I would only say that it was the greatest team effort and nobody can win a team game individually. It's a group of people who believe in themselves

You have given India its greatest Cricketing moment, absolutely delighted that you shared the moment with us. Greatest sporting hero. Thank you so much for talking to me.

Thank you.

Catch the interview on Times Now, at 1830 IST on June 21, and 1430 IST and 2030 IST June 22.


West Indies beat Australia in only T20 match

Xavier Marshall hit a sparkling 36 in 15 balls as West Indies beat Australia in a reduced Twenty20 International on Friday.
Rain delayed the start and resulted in the game being reduced to 11 overs per side and Australia, put into bat by West Indies skipper Dwayne Bravo , hit 97 for three in their allotted time.

Debutant openers Shaun Marsh (29) and Luke Ronchi (36) gave the tourists a great start -- putting on 57 for the first wicket inside six overs.
Barbadian pace bowler Kemar Roach made an impressive debut himself getting rid of both openers in a spell of 2 for 29 in three overs.
Bravo dismissed David Hussey for a duck in his vital spell of 1-12 in two overs which helped slow Australia near the close of their innings.
A large crowd, bigger than appeared at any stage during the recent Test match, lapped up the home side's reply with Marshall setting the tone by pulling the first ball from Brett for a big six.
In the second over Mitchell Johnson went for 24 including for two sixes and a four from Marshall before William Perkins produced an extraordinary shot, going down on one knee to clip Lee to fine leg for four.
After both openers were run out, Bravo came in and made 28 in 15 balls including a six to win the match with 11 balls remaining.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

'Umpiring errors won't cost us a match now'

A single umpiring blunder has changed the outcome of many a match and hence seeking a review of the match official's decision is not altogether a bad idea, believes star Team India batsman Gautam Gambhir.
Talking about the proposed umpire's decision review system, which would be put on trial during India's three-match Test series against Sri Lanka, Gambhir reckons it would probably reduce human element to some extent but at the same time, he argues, it would cut down on human errors as well.
"It's a new concept introduced in the game and I think it will be interesting. Let's see how it shapes up in the Sri Lanka series," Gambhir said.
"It will be nice to seek a review. Earlier, one bad decision used to take the game away from you but with this system in place, matches will be lot more interesting and close," Gambhir told reporters after he and Ishant Sharma inaugurated a sports equipment store here on Tuesday.
As per the system, players will be allowed three unsuccessful appeals for a review of any decision taken by the on-field umpires concerning every dismissal with the exception of 'Timed Out' and will be tested during the three-Test series between India and Sri Lanka starting July 23.
The 26-year-old opener, however, conceded that the review system would take away the aspect of human element from the game.
"Every new thing has drawbacks but the rule would make the game more challenging as one would have the right to challenge the umpires," said Gambhir.
Gambhir has been in good nick of late and the left-hander, playing for Delhi Daredevils, emerged as one of the leading run-getters in the IPL with 534 runs at an average of 41.07 from 14 games. He carried the form to the tri-series in Bangladesh and finished as the top scorer there with 209 runs from three matches.
By virtue of his recent good showing, the left-hander broke into the top 20 of the ICC ODI rankings for the first time in his career and the Delhi opener is also fancying his chances of getting into the Test squad.
"When you are in good form it is important to carry on. My aim right now is to perform whether it is Twenty20 or Test cricket. If I get selected in Test team it will be a nice reward for the hard work," he said.
"What is important for me is to win as many matches for India and right now there is only Asia Cup on my mind. I would like to continue my form in the tournament," he added.
"The team is in good form and confident of winning the Asia Cup."
Asked about India's defeat at the hands of arch-rivals Pakistan in the tri-series final after a dominant performance in the league stages, Gambhir said, "Instead of analysing our defeat, we should concentrate on the fact that we fought well in the final."

Mahela hopes Sachin beats Lara in Lanka

Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene is hoping that batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar will surpass former West Indies skipper Brian Lara’s Test record of 11,953 runs (aggregate) during India’s tour of Sri Lanka later this year.
"Sachin is a great batsman and a fine human being and I would be happy if he gets those 171 runs required to surpass Lara’s record," Jayawardene told on Monday.
"I think 170 runs from six innings and three Tests is not much for a champion batsman like Sachin Tendulkar. We have to admire what Sachin has achieved in the last 17-18 years and it has been a privilege playing against him," he added.
"We know that the Indian team is a tough team to beat and we respect their batting line-up. But we will have a plan in place for every batsmen before the tour starts. Personally, I would be happy if Sachin can get to his record in front of the Sri Lankan crowd," he said.
Predicting the Asia Cup to be a very close affair, Jayawardene said India and Pakistan were the main threats to Sri Lanka’s bid to win the tournament in Pakistan next month.
"India and Pakistan are the two main threats during our campaign in the Asia Cup but we are confident of thwarting them. India have been performing quite consistently in the recent past while the Pakistanis have been very unpredictable as they perform below par in one game and then lift their game to a very high standard in the next, like they did in the tri-series in Bangladesh," said the Sri Lanka skipper.
The other four Sri Lankan cricketers, who were present during the press conference were his former captains Arjuna Ranatunga and Aarvinda De Silva, and his current teammates Kumara Sangakkara and the highest Test wicket taker in the world - Muttiah Muralitharan.
Speaking about the switchover from Twenty20 (Indian Premier League) to One-Day cricket (Asia Cup) and then to Test cricket later this year, Jayawardene said, it should not be difficult as they were true professionals.
"We are just coming out of a very good Twenty20 tournament in India but I don’t think it will be difficult to adjust to the needs of different versions as the basics remain the same. I am sure my team will adjust," Jayawardene said.
Speaking about the proposed Champions Trophy Twenty20 tournament, where two top teams from India, Australia, South Africa, England, Pakistan and Sri Lanka would fight it out for the top spot, Jayawardene said it was a very good concept to promote the shortest version.
"There is room for all three versions to survive and I don’t think any one format is threatening the other even though Test cricket is the real thing to prove players worth. At least for the next five years, I don’t see ODI or the Tests being threatened by the advent of Twenty20," Jayawardene said.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Pakistan beat India in tri-series final

Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his teammates failed to climb the run-mountain, as Pakistan shoved a 25-run defeat down India's throat to win the tri-series in Dhaka on Saturday night.
Despite dominating the tournament with characteristic ruthlessness, the Indians failed when it mattered most and choked in the final, allowing an under-pressure Pakistan to avenge their league match defeat and run away with the silverware.
After twin tons by Salman Butt (129 retired hurt) and Younis Khan (108) propelled Pakistan to 315 for three, India faltered early in their chase and eventually folded for 290 in 48.2 overs.
Dhoni (64 off 59 balls) and Yuvraj Singh (59 off 56 balls) tried their best but their batting colleagues failed to convert the starts into useful innings.
A strong start was pre-requisite for such a mammoth chase and with Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir (40 off 33 balls) in red hot form, India expected another solid foundation from the openers.
But the law of averages finally caught up with Sehwag, who scratched around for his two runs before giving Shoaib Malik a simple catch off Sohail Tanvir at mid-off in the second over.
Rohit Sharma (24) joined Gambhir in the middle and kept India in the hunt with some fluent stroke-play. The duo seemed to have steadied the ship till Umar Gul came up with a two-wicket burst, dismissing both in successive overs.
Rohit's fluffed pull found Nasir Jamshed at deep backward square leg, while Gambhir cut it to backward point to the same substitute fielder to leave India reeling at 79 for three inside 13 overs.
Yusuf Pathan too could not deliver and threw away his wicket after a run-a-ball 25, as did Suresh Raina (24) after the left-hander had put on 73 runs with Yuvraj.
As long as Yuvraj was in the middle, India seemed right on course but Shahid Afridi had other ideas and he snared the left-hander in the 32nd over to jolt India. Yuvraj's 59-ball 56 included five boundaries, besides a six.
Dhoni and Irfan Pathan (28) kept India afloat for some more time but, at the end of the day, it was simply not enough.
Earlier, Pakistan rode on a 205-run second wicket stand between Butt and Younis Khan to amass 315 for three.
With Pakistan Cricket Board chief Nasim Ashraf in attendance, Malik and his under-pressure teammates had extra reason to put up a better show and they decided to take a slow but steady approach which clearly paid off.
The sedate start proved the lull before the storm and after Butt and Younis laid the perfect foundation for a big score, Misbah-ul Haq threw his bat to good effect and chipped in with a 33-run cameo off just 21 balls as the side went past the 300-mark.
Dhoni used as many as eight bowlers, including Suresh Raina, but with little success.
After Shoaib Malik won the toss and decided to take first strike of the Sher-e-Bangla track, Pakistan decided to shun extravagance and keep enough wickets in hand to provide that late burst.
Butt curbed his natural aggression while Kamran Akmal (15) was straitjacketed. But with the first nine overs yielding just 29 runs, Akmal decided to break free and hit Irfan Pathan for a four but the pacer had his revenge in the next delivery as he sucked the batsman into tickling one behind the stumps where Mahendra Singh Dhoni took the catch.
Butt had that fortune of the brave too as Rohit Sharma grassed one after the Pakistani had cut hard at a Praveen Kumar delivery while batting on 19.
Having found his feet, Younis stepped out to hit Virender Sehwag out of the park and he then slog-swept Piyush Chawla for similar treatment to bring up the team's 150.
Though subdued compared to his elder partner, Butt helped himself to occasional boundaries as he cantered to his seventh ODI century, celebrating the feat by hitting Chawla over the ropes.
Younis too soon notched up his fourth ODI century, which came off 92 balls, but could add only eight more runs before offering a skier to Sehwag off Ishant Sharma to fall after a 99-ball knock which was studded with eight hits to the fence, besides three sixes.
Butt and Misbah then threw caution to the winds and went after the Indian bowlers, who, for the first time in the series, looked clueless. Butt eventually retired hurt in the 46th over but that was hardly a consolation for Dhoni's team as runs came thick and fast.
Source: rediff

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

India register their biggest win over Pakistan

India stopped Pakistan to win 12th match in a row by crushing 140-run defeat in the second match of the One-Day International tri-series, at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium, in Dhaka on Tuesday.
An all-round performance by the Indians checked Pakistan's march towards a 13th consecutive victory. The Indians, having elected to bat, piled up a massive 330 for 8, thanks to some stupendous batting by the top-order. Openers Virender Sehwag (89) and Gautam Gambhir (62) hit sparkling half-centuries and shared an amazing 155-run partnership to lay a strong foundation for the big total.
Pakistan, in reply, were bundled out for 190 in just 35.4 overs, giving India its biggest win against them.
Skipper Shoaib Malik waged a lone battle with a 53-run knock, unable to find an able ally at the other end.
Praveen Kumar (4 for 53) spoiled Pakistan's run-chase, claiming three quick wickets, including two off consecutive deliveries.
Young spinner Piyush Chawla also returned brilliant figures of 4-40.
Pakistan were tottering at 26 for 3 inside the first five overs after Kumar scalped Salman Butt (9), Younis Khan (0) and Mohammed Yousuf (11).
However, Kumar was creamed for 17 runs in the ninth over of the innings when Kamran Akmal, who looked in sublime touch, and Misbah-ul Haq reeled off four boundaries to take Pakistan's score to 58 for 3.
Akmal (38) then hoicked Kumar for a big six but the Uttar Pradesh bowler had the last laugh when he sent back the Pakistani wicketkeeper-batsman to the hut.
Akmal, who was on the offensive, mistimed a low full toss and ended up caught at mid-on by Yousuf Pathan.
Misbah (24) too joined Akmal in the dressing room when teen sensation Ishant Sharma beat him with a pacy, rising delivery and induced an edge, which was taken comfortably by M S Dhoni.
The big burden of climbing the run-mountain then fell on the shoulders of skipper Shoaib Malik and out-of-form Shahid Afridi , as the asking rate soared to seven runs an over.
A much-needed partnership once again eluded the Pakistanis as Afridi (23) succumbed to over-aggression, failing to build on a good start.
He walked out of his crease to hit young spinner Piyush Chawla but missed the line completely and Dhoni had no trouble with the stumping.
Earlier, Sehwag (89), Gambhir (62) and Yuvraj (55) tore apart the Pakistan attack as the top order fired in unison.
After Sehwag and Gambhir put on a 155-run opening stand in just over 21 overs, India seemed set for a 350-plus score but subsequently lost the momentum and settled for a little less.
Umar Gul was the pick of the Pakistan attack, which had a highly forgettable day. The seamer claimed three wickets for 61 runs in his 10 overs.
Wahab Riaz, who was not allowed to complete his quota of 10 overs because he fired two beamers at the Indian batsmen, and Shahid Afridi claimed two wickets each.
Pakistan cut a sorry figure as a fielding unit, with Younis Khan twice dropping Gambhir, when the batsman was on four and 29.
Younis first grassed one in second slip off Gul in the very first over and fumbled again at wide slip when Gambhir's hard slash went through his fingers, Wahab being the bowler this time.
Stumper Kamran Akmal should also take a share of the blame as he dropped Sehwag off Rao Iftikhar when the batsman was on 43.
Sehwag had started walking back to the pavilion before he was stopped and eventually called back after replays showed that Akmal had grounded the ball before pouching it.
The lapse proved costly, as Sehwag replied with a 76-ball 89, which was studded with 13 boundaries and a huge six off Wahab.
Akmal eventually redeemed himself when he caught Sehwag off the pacer but the damage had already been done by then.
Gambhir's run-a-ball 62 included six hits to the fence, and both he and Sehwag looked still in Twenty20 mode as they treated the Pakistani bowlers with characteristic disdain.
Yuvraj took time to get into the groove but once he got going there was no looking back for the dashing left-hander, whose 54-ball 55 included three fours and as many sixes.
In the middle order, Yusuf Pathan (4) and Rohit Sharma (9) failed to impress, while Mahendra Singh Dhoni (24) and Suresh Raina (26) could not convert their cameo knocks.

Monday, June 9, 2008

England moves up to third in ICC Test Rankings

The 2-0 series triumph over New Zealand has propelled England to the third spot in the ICC Test Rankings, just one point behind second-placed India.

Sunday's win in Nottingham, coupled with the victory at Old Trafford and the draw at Lord's means England rises above South Africa in the Test Championship table into third position.

Michael Vaughan's men were on 108 ratings points prior to the start of the series, one behind the Proteas, but now they have moved up to 110, just one point behind India in second position.

With Australia currently 30 points clear at the top of the table, there is no danger of it being caught any time soon.

However, the ladder is a lot more congested further down with just five points separating India in second position and Sri Lanka [Images] in fifth.

England could have ended this series in second position had it won all three Tests but it can still wind up its summer ahead of India if it outperforms South Africa and India does not win its Test series in Sri Lanka.

However, if South Africa edges the four-match series it could be the one to go into second depending on how the Sri Lanka-India series pans out.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Anderson all-round play keep England on Top

It was James Anderson day today as He scored his best score in batting 28 and also got the best figure in bowling 42-6 to help England to take control in the 3rd and final test match at Trent Bridge on friday.

Anderson claimed all the 6 newzeland wickets fell in their first innings score of 96 for 6 when bad light stopped play 18 over short of the scheduled close of the play.

At the end of the day Debutant wicketkeeper Gareth Hopkins was not out on 11 and skipper Daniel Vettori was on 3.

New Zealand trail by 268 runs and need another 69 to avoid the follow-on. England need only a draw to get the series victory after drawing at Lord's and winning the second Test at Old Trafford by six wickets and they are looking well till now.

Earlier in the day Broad and Anderson irritated the visitors staying around, but the tourists did have their chances but they failed and droped some catches and allow the english tail to score some valuable runs .

Broad was dropped off Chris Martin on 21 at second slip by McCullu. He was also reprieved at 46 by a diving Redmond at gully off Oram.

Broad, after being stranded on 49 for 25 balls, reached his maiden test half-century. His 132-ball innings, with ten boundaries, ended when Martin bowled him.
England were boosted on day one by 115 by Kevin Pietersen after they were struggling at 86 for five.

Score Card:
England ( K Pietersen-115, T Ambrose-67, S Broad-64 , O Brien-4/74, K Mills- 3/76)
New Zealand(J How-40, RLTaylor-21, G Hopkins*-11,D Vettori*-3, J Anderson- 6/42)

Bangladesh Tri Series Schedule!!!!

Tri Series 1st Match
Live MirpurJune,
Sun 08 2008
1st Match - Bangladesh v Pakistan
Mirpur (D/N)15:00 local, 09:00 GMT

Tri Series 2nd Match Live
MirpurJune, Tue 10 2008
2nd Match - India v Pakistan
Mirpur (D/N)15:00 local, 09:00 GMT

Tri Series 3rd Match Live
MirpurJune, Thu 12 2008
3rd Match - Bangladesh v India
Mirpur (D/N)15:00 local, 09:00 GMT

Tri Series Final Match Live
MirpurJune, Sat 14 2008
Final Match - Top two teams of league matches
Mirpur (D/N)15:00 local, 09:00 GMT

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Pietersen century saves England !!!!

Kevin Pietersen's century helped his team to get the total to 273 for seven after a slump on the first day of the third and final Test against New Zealand on Thursday.
Pietersen scored 115 for his 12th Test century. He added 161 with wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose, who made 67, for the sixth wicket . England need only a draw here to get a series victory after drawing at Lord's and winning the second Test at Old Trafford.
Pietersen, in his 39th Test, reached his century after tea with a cover drive for 4 off Chris Martin. He celebrated animatedly by jumping in the air and pumping his fist and was warmly applauded by home crowd.
England's slump began when Strauss fell just after lunch when he try to chase a wide Kyle Mills ball to give Ross Taylor a head high catch at first slip for 37.
Ian Bell got out lbw for dead duck to Iain O'Brien after facing just three balls. Paul Collingwood , also lasted four balls for no runs and also got out for a duck , edging Mills to Taylor at slip.
Tim Ambrose, who scored a hundred against New Zealand in his second Test in March, supported well Pieteresen, though the Black Caps may have fed his favoured square cut too often with short and wide deliveries.
O'Brien, returned Test best figures of four for 61 from 20 overs at stumps.
Alastair Cook , bowled off his inside edge by Mills for six, and Michael Vaughan , who was bowled for 16 after missing a straight O'Brien delivery, fell before lunch.
At the end of the day Stuart Broad was 15 not out

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Sarwan take West Indies to a draw

West Indies captain Ramnaresh Sarwan scored a patient and determined 128 on Tuesday to take his team to a draw on the final day of the second Test against Australia.
Australia, now 1-0 up in the three-match series, retained the Frank Worrell Trophy.
After Ricky Ponting declared his secong inning before the start of play on the overnight score , setting West Indies an unlikely victory target of 372 on the last day, the hosts were struggling at 95 for three at lunch but recovered soon thanks to a very good partnership in the pressure from Sarwan and fellow Guyanese batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
The pair added 143 for the fourth wicket before Sarwan was caught off Mitchell Johnson with the first delivery of the new ball.
When Dwayne Bravo (1) quickly followed, Australia felt they had a chance of victory but Denesh Ramdin joined Chanderpaul to see the innings through until five overs from the scheduled close.
Chanderpaul, who scored 107 not out in the first innings, was unbeaten on 77.
Australia had been on top throughout all five days of the Test and will now look back with disappointment on the four hours lost after rain on the third day. West Indies will get boost for the final Test in Barbados on June 12.
Brett Lee, who took five wickets for only five runs in a superb spell of swing bowling on Monday, also got the early breakthrough with just four runs on the board as Devon Smith (0) chopped a rising delivery to Mike Hussey at gulley.
Then the other West Indies opener, Xavier Marshall, also depart soon to leave the team tumbled to 19 for two.
Sarwan and Runako Morton try to steady the innings but it was Lee again in his second spell who trapped Morton lbw for 14.
Then Chanderpaul joined Sarwan before lunch and the pair batted with few scares until tea although Sarwan survived an appeal to the third umpire for a stumping off MacGill.
The new ball was Australia's last weapon and it brought an instant result also when Sarwan edged to Mike Hussey at gulley on Jonson and Hussey makes no mistake to take the catch.
Bravo was then caught by substitute Brad Hodge at point, as he got a leading edge trying to turn Lee to the onside, and suddenly there were nerves among another paltry home crowd.
But wicketkeeper Ramdin (21 not out), who has looked shaky in this series, kept his nerve and West Indies held out for the draw.