Posts Tagged ‘Dhoni’

Dhoni is ODI Player of Year

September 10, 2008

Mahendra Singh Dhoni: ODI Player of Year

India’s one-day captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, has won the ODI Player of the Year award at the ICC Awards ceremony in Dubai.

Dhoni beat off tough competition from his India team-mate, Sachin Tendulkar, Australia’s fast bowler Nathan Bracken and Pakistan stalwart, Mohammad Yousuf, to take the award.

During the voting period, Dhoni played 39 ODIs and scored 1,298 runs at an average of 49.92 and at a rate of 82.46 runs per 100 balls faced. In that time he hit a century and nine fifties, making sure he led his team from the front.

Also in that time, in his capacity as a wicketkeeper, Dhoni claimed 62 dismissals (46 catches and 16 stumpings), which is almost twice as many as the next best, albeit having played more matches than any other keeper.

He is currently ranked No. 1 in the ICC Player Rankings for ODI batsmen.

The ODI Player of the Year Award was one of eight individual prizes given at this year’s ICC Awards. Dhoni also featured on the ICC ODI Team of the Year as picked by the ICC selection panel. The award was announced by Australia captain and two-time ICC Cricketer of the Year, Ricky Ponting.

The panel was chaired by the former West Indies captain, Clive Lloyd, and included the former Australia captain, Greg Chappell, the recently retired South Africa allrounder Shaun Pollock, the former Sri Lanka opener Sidath Wettimuny and the former Bangladesh batsman, Athar Ali Khan.

– About Cricket –

Sandesh Kumar

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India: Batting under test

August 19, 2008

Match facts

Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Start time 10am (local time) 0430 (GMT)

The responsibility will fall on Gautam Gambhir to revive a struggling Indian top order

Big Picture

Since the Asia Cup final, India’s acclaimed batsmen have had to endure a dreadful ego hammering. There seems no quick solution in sight and time is certainly not at India’s disposal with just a day’s gap between the first two games. Traditionally sound players of spin, the Test and ODI specialists are still groping for answers when Ajantha Mendis comes on to bowl, and an eight-wicket drubbing at the same venue on Monday only reinforced his threat after the two defeats in the Tests.

The woeful situation is compounded by Virender Sehwag’s departure after twisting his ankle at practice. His double-century was the key to India’s victory in Galle and the two captains were only stating the obvious yesterday by stating his absence would be a big blow. That puts additional pressure on Gautam Gambhir as the man in form at the top, and it’s anybody’s guess as to who his opening partner will be. No replacement has been sought for Sehwag and questions will be raised over the omission of Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid.

Sri Lanka, on the other hand, have no such issues and will go in as firm favourites. The decision to play five specialist bowlers worked for them and not one bowler looked like a weak link.

Form guide (last 5 ODIs)

Sri Lanka WWLWW
India LLWLW

Watch out for:

Gautam Gambhir: His second-ball duck notwithstanding, Gambhir is India’s form batsman after Sehwag – his 310 runs was the second-highest aggregate in the Tests among batsmen of both teams. His ploy of walking down the pitch before a delivery may have an element of risk, but it only speaks of his confidence and intention of putting the bowler off his rhythm. Dhoni spoke about the importance of getting good starts, so it would fall upon Gambhir to bat responsibly without getting bogged down. With the limited resources available, Gambhir is probably India’s best bet at the moment.

Munaf Patel v Sri Lanka’s top order: The only saving grace for India on Monday was Munaf’s ability to keep Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara in check. He repeatedly got the ball to either cut back in or shape away from the off stump. In a match dominated by spinners, Munaf did the best he could in the conditions on offer, picking up the only wickets to fall in the chase.

Team news

India would be forced to re-assess their combination after the drubbing on Monday, especially at the top of the order with Sehwag’s departure. Experimenting with Virat Kohli as an opener didn’t work so it’s likely he will swap places with Irfan Pathan who has been successful in the past as a pinch-hitter. With Rohit Sharma struggling for runs, Mahendra Singh Dhoni might promote himself to No. 5.

India (likely) 1 Gautam Gambhir, 2 Irfan Pathan, 3 Suresh Raina, 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt & wk), 6 Rohit Sharma, 7 Virat Kohli, 8 Pragyan Ojha, 9 Harbhajan Singh, 10 Zaheer Khan, 11 Munaf Patel.

After the first ODI Mahela Jayawardene said Sri Lanka would retain the winning combination.

Sri Lanka (from) 1 Sanath Jayasuriya, 2 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 3 Mahela Jayawardene (capt), 4 Chamara Kapugedera, 5 Chamara Silva, 6 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 7 Chaminda Vaas, 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Thilan Thushara, 10 Ajantha Mendis, 11 Muttiah Muralitharan.

Pitch & conditions

The conditions are expected to be similar to the first one-dayer, so batting could get difficult once the spinners operate.

Stats & Trivia

  • Chaminda Vaas is only one wicket away from the 400-wicket club in ODIs. He will be the fourth after Wasim Akram, Muralitharan and Waqar Younis.

  • Mahela Jayawardene has been dismissed only once by India at this ground in four matches and his average stands at an astronomical 228.

  • Dambulla is India’s least favourite venue in Sri Lanka against the hosts, having lost all four matches to them.

  • Since January 2007, India have tried out 11 opening combinations in 57 innings. Only two of those pairs have batted together more than six times.
  • – About Cricket –

    Sandesh Kumar

    Sehwag out for rest of ODI’s

    August 18, 2008

    Virender Sehwag has been ruled out of the remaining four one-day internationals against Sri Lanka due to an ankle injury. He had twisted his left ankle during practice on Sunday and played no part in the first ODI at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium on Monday which India lost by eight wickets.

    One of India’s in-form batsmen, he scored 344 runs in the Test series earlier, the highest by any batsman on either side. Along with Gautam Gambhir, he was one of the few Indian batsmen who looked assured against Sri Lanka’s spin duo of Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis.

    Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Indian captain, said the team would miss Sehwag. “He was a batsman in top form. But that’s the way it goes in cricket. You can’t really stop and think about the guys you will be missing in the series. Rather than that you will have to fill in that space. Because that is the only way your team can win.

    “We may look at a different combination of openers for the next game but it’s at a very initial stage. We have just gone through the first game so whatever fits the team best we’ll decide on that,” he said.

    Team manager Sanjay Desai, however, did not confirm whether a replacement would be flown to Sri Lanka.

    India are already without Sachin Tendulkar, who withdrew from the ODI series after sustaining an elbow injury during the final Test in Colombo.

    – About Cricket –

    Sandesh Kumar Jaggi

    Indians unable to tackle Mendis

    August 18, 2008

    Mahendra Singh Dhoni said after the Asia Cup that Ajantha Mendis couldn’t be read. Nothing’s changed since then

    The crisp, cream clothing made way for dazzling blue, but the script read much the same. Watching India clearly weighed down by the finger freak waiting in the wings, unsure about how to tackle tidy medium-pace, anxious about what could be unleashed at any moment, it was hard not to get a sense of déjà vu. The Test specialists were gone, but the one-day recruits suffered a similar fate.

    India’s latest defeat against Sri Lanka wasn’t all about Ajantha Mendis, though at the rate he is picking up awards and cheques, he’s certain to be a richer man and teach Arun Lal, the post-match emcee all tour, a fair amount of Sinhalese. Mendis played a key role, but India were severely dented after Sri Lanka’s new-ball duo nipped out three early wickets.

    That pair took much of the pressure off Mendis and Muttiah Muralitharan. Chaminda Vaas breached Gautam Gambhir’s defence with the second ball of the match and Nuwan Kulasekera bowled very well, complementing his partner, to take two wickets. After five overs India were 9 for 1; after ten 29 for 2; after 15, 42 for 3; after the Powerplays they were reeling at 73 for 4. Therein lies the command that Sri Lanka took over the opposition. Vaas and Kulasekera choked the top order and Thilan Thushara, bowling tidy left-arm seam, maintained the pressure. It was a clinical example of attacking through partnerships.

    More importantly, it was the perfect setting for Mendis to come in for the last over of the Powerplays. India were unsettled by their early losses and apprehensive about Mendis’ arrival. They were unsure about how to handle the situation, and it proved detrimental.

    When Mendis did arrive, India’s batsmen looked no closer to deciphering him. His first strike hurt so deep that India failed to recover. Yuvraj Singh was beaten first ball by a slider, survived an extremely tight lbw shout, tried to dictate terms with a six over long-on, and was then utterly befuddled by a quicker one that skidded on. Too far forward, Yuvraj was left looking silly. India’s most experienced player had fallen for the dangling carrot, and the reverberations were loud.

    Thereon it was much the same as in the Tests. Mendis left the rest to fumble about in the dark. Mahendra Singh Dhoni fidgeted and fussed about his crease, playing and missing until he was put out of his misery by an outside-edge that flew to slip. Runs dried up. The heat turned up. After the Asia Cup, Dhoni said Mendis just couldn’t be read at all; nothing has changed.

    India’s players have bounced between analysing footage, hoping that his aura may wear off and stressing on reading him off the pitch. What they need to understand is that for the time being Mendis is beyond understanding. Hard as it may sound, they need to take him out of the equation, stop worrying about him

    Again bowling accurately and lethally, Mendis finished with 3 for 21 off nine overs, helping reduce India to 87 for 7 after which he was taken out of the attack. All Murali had to do was twirl his wrist and gobble up the lower order, even if his last over went for 14. The problem with India’s approach against Mendis was that everyone wanted to build, nobody wanted to do maintenance.

    “Creativity is not like a freight train going down the tracks,” wrote Bob Dylan in his autobiography, Chronicles. “It’s something that has to be caressed and treated with a great deal of respect. If your mind is intellectually in the way, it will stop you. You’ve got to programme your brain not to think too much.”

    Flip that around and you understand India’s predicament against Mendis. They’ve been bamboozled, nay awed, by Mendis’ bag of tricks since he destroyed them in Karachi. Mendis is special, no doubt about it. India’s players have bounced between analysing footage, hoping that his aura may wear off and stressing on reading him off the pitch. What they need to understand is that for the time being Mendis is beyond understanding. Hard as it may sound, they need to take him out of the equation, stop worrying about him.

    Virender Sehwag didn’t think too much about Mendis in Galle and finished the match with 251 runs. There’s a possibility he may be out of the whole series, and that’s a massive worry, for in a sense India lost this match before Dhoni went out for the toss. They lost this match some time during training yesterday when Sehwag injured himself. Sehwag was India’s highest scorer in the Test series, handling Mendis with aplomb during his double hundred in Galle, and their best bet at providing a solid start.

    Dhoni spoke of the added responsibility on Sehwag to pass on advice to India’s one-day recruits. In terms of his experience against Sri Lanka’s spinners and his ability to provide starts, an integral asset in cricket, Sehwag’s loss was brutal. In his last ODI he hammered an exhilarating 60 from just 35 balls, helping India storm to 76 from just nine overs.

    Without their best player, India’s indecision crept in from the onset. The openers may have thought attacking Sri Lanka’s medium-pacers was the best option given their inefficiency in the Tests. That didn’t work, and they had no answer to Mendis.

    Even if they do a half-baked job of something, India’s batsmen will find themselves one-eyed men in the kingdom of the blind. But at the moment they remain indecisive about picking one approach; it’s a toss-up between throwing in the towel or trying to force the pace against spin. India need to find a way to rotate singles, as well as score runs.

    “Its important to learn,” said Dhoni, “because everyone makes mistakes. Unless you learn from those your own, your team’s graph won’t go up.”

    There’s only a day’s gap for the second match. India’s time starts now.

    – About Cricket –

    Sandesh Kumar Jaggi

    Yuvraj ton steers Indians to big win

    August 16, 2008

    Scorecard

    Powered by Yuvraj Singh’s brutal century, the Indians cruised to a pre-ODI series 92-run win against a Sri Lankan XI at the P Saravanamuttu Stadium in Colombo. Yuvraj hit 13 sixes in a 121-ball 172, taking the Indians to 342 for 5, and in reply the opposition – comprising ten internationals – produced a sloppy chase, managing 250 in their 50 overs. It was a good way for the Indians to celebrate the 61st anniversary of their country’s independence.

    The last time Yuvraj had scored a hundred in a limited-overs game had been on October 5 2007, against Australia. He dismissed that drought, albeit against a weaker attack, with a two-paced innings that lifted the Indians to a massive total. Yuvraj came in at No. 4 in the 13th over and struggled initially, often going hard at the ball, which resulted in mistimed drives and dragged cuts. An otherwise erratic Dilhara Fernando – his no-ball problem continued and he bowled too short – beat Yuvraj repeatedly off the upright seam, forcing him to hold back on his expansive strokeplay for a while.

    But with Suresh Raina in good nick, the singles came easily. Raina broke free from a tense start by backing away and slamming Fernando over cover for four. He also had his share of mistimed shots, but came back well to blast a big six over midwicket off Jehan Mubarak. Like Gautam Gambhir, he too fell while trying an aggressive shot too many, giving Malinga Bandara his first wicket.

    In the mean time, Yuvraj had settled in. Crucially, he was confident against spin – he hit Malinda Warnapura for a six in his solitary over – and his flicks across the line were all power and precision. He stood tall to punch the shorter deliveries through the in-field and his bent-knee while driving down the ground was pleasing.

    Yuvraj blasted sixes off the first two balls of Thilan Thushara’s comeback over, the 36th, moving past fifty with the first. A whip over mid-on followed, and Yuvraj then trained his ire towards Bandara, striking his fourth six. His century came off 95 balls, after which he decided to have some fun. In 16 balls, he raced past 150, pasting Mubarak for three more sixes and a four in his final over and hitting his ninth and tenth sixes, both effortless swings over long-on, off a beleaguered Chanaka Welegedara.

    Yuvraj’s final six was the pick of the lot, a stunning shot over long-off which nearly took out the press cordon. His 13 sixes were the second-most for a 50-overs innings in this decade, after Namibia’s Gary Snyman, who hit 17 during his 196 against UAE last November.

    Yuvraj’s partners went unnoticed during his blitz, but they played their part in India putting up a mammoth total. Rohit Sharma scored a 42-ball 24 in an 85-run fourth-wicket stand, while Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s contribution to a 99-run stand, which came in just 6.4 overs, was a mere 16.

    In reply, Upul Tharanga gave his team as robust a start as the Indians had got. He threw the bat at anything marginally over-pitched and wide, tucking into some indifferent new-ball bowling from Munaf Patel and RP Singh. While the two bowlers produced three good lbw shouts in consecutive overs they also gave too much width; Tharanga cashed in with an upper cut over third man and into the ivy-covered scorecard.

    But the aggression was short-lived. Through a mixture of edges, top-edges and poor footwork it all started to go downhill. Mahela Udawatte had a fortuitous top-edge over point, followed it up with a perfectly-placed cut for four, only to then spoon a catch to mid-off. Warnapura fell to a very good catch from Gambhir at first slip, taken diving to his left. In the next over, after going past an electrifying half-century, Tharanga tried to pull RP but top-edged to the wicketkeeper, leaving the required rate at just under eight. In fewer than five overs the Sri Lankan XI had combusted.

    Harbhajan Singh’s introduction tightened the Indians’ grip. His accurate offspin, backed by balanced and energetic field placing, kept runs at a minimum. A trigger-happy Chamara Kapugedera tried to sweep him out of the park but found deep midwicket instead. With the asking rate burgeoning to nearly ten an over, the sprightly Chamara Silva cut and swept Pragyan Ojha’s left-arm spin for boundaries. After 32 overs the Sri Lankan XI needed 191, and Ojha came back well to force a faint nick from Silva to Dhoni for 38. Mubarak remained in the hunt for a place in the national team with 60 from 74 balls but when he departed the side needed 118 from 15 balls, and the result was never in doubt.

    India and Sri Lanka meet in Dambulla for the first ODI on August 18.

    About Cricket

    Sandesh Kumar Jaggi