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Posts Tagged ‘Champions Trophy’

Aussies Regained their Dominance, But Has ODI Cricket?

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

There had been lot of talks about the existence of ODI Cricket before the start if the Champions Trophy 2009 and many opined that the Success of Champions Trophy would keep the ODI cricket afloat amid the euphoria of T20 carnivals like IPL, Champions league, ICC world T20 etc.  If we have to take those skeptics in to account then the life of ODI cricket is at stake.

The ICC has refashioned the Champions Trophy by trimming the no of teams to 8 and just 15 games to make it more attractive. But that has been an utter failure as just 1 match was decided in the final over and all the other games, including the Semi- Finals and Final were one-sided.

England and New Zealand did really well to knock out South Africa and Sri Lanka in the preliminary stages of the competition but couldn’t replicate that in the later stages when it mattered. South Africa continued their woeful outing in the ICC events and re-affirmed the ‘Chokers’ tag, which they were desperate to throw away. India was also no exception. They couldn’t justify the rankings and were crashed out in the first round. The absence of the pace spearhead Zaheer Khan, Explosive opener Virender Sehwag were added to India’s defeat but the retreat of Yuvraj Singh ,just before the start of the tournament had put India’s preparation in complete disarray. Sri Lanka looked mediocre in the absence of a fully-fit Muralitharan and an out-of-form Jayasuriya.

Australia peaked at the right time and that was perhaps the biggest difference of the tournament. They struggled early for the rhythm, however as the tournament reached the summit clash, they started to fire on all cylinders. New Zealand did well to reach the finals but held back in the crunch match. Australia are back at the helm, however it won’t be easy for them to sustain that.  They will face-off against India in 3 weeks time, which would be a hard-test for their rookies, who failed terribly in the last Indian tour.

The next 12 months will be a real test for ODI Cricket as during this period, as the world will witness the prime T20 tournaments like the Champions League T20, IPL 2010 and the World T20. The competition has been really stiff in the bi-lateral series but lacked that vigor in the multi-team tournaments and that has been the reason of plunge in the excitement as far as the ODI cricket is concerned. If things get worse, then we wouldn’t even see the 2011 World Cup and instead a T20 World Cup. It’s better to keep the fingers crossed until the 2011 World Cup.

Battle Resumes for the Arch-Rivals

Friday, September 25th, 2009
Hard to choose the winner....

Hard to choose the winner....

Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan captain has started the verbal-battle by saying that Sachin Tendulkar is not as threatening as he was in 2003. In that match, Sachin single-handedly demolished the Pakistan attack that included Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akthar.

India- Pak matches has always been real feasts for the spectators due to the hype it creates and the quality of players in both teams.  Pakistan had the edge in ODI’s in the 70’s, 80’s and till the mid 90’s, before the arrival of the Little Master (perhaps, the little demolisher) Sachin Tendulkar. The primary reason behind the success was their quality pool of fast bowlers, which India had lacked greatly.

Post 2000 saw the dominance of India as they evolved drastically under the helm of Sourav Ganguly.  They outplayed Pakistan in majority of the matches including India’s undefeatable run in the World Cups against Pakistan. India became much stronger after 2005 and they managed to win the majority of the matches against Pakistan. The Epic win at the inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup reaffirmed India’s dominance against Pakistan.

It’s after 14 months that the arch rivals are locking their horns again and we can’t ask for a better place than the Super Sports Park at Centurion. The memories of the 2003 match will be big confidence booster for India, while Pakistan would be looking for turning things this time around. A win will not only change their fate against India at the big-stages but also seal a place in the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy.

Extra-time or Sudden-death?

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

ODI cricket has reached a critical juncture now and the success or failure of Champions Trophy 2009 will determine its future. The cricketing world is abuzz about ‘Saving ODI’ Cricket or scrapping it off. Plenty of attractive ideas have been invoked by several former and current players including the likes of Sachin Tendulkar.

This edition of Champions Trophy is perhaps the best edition according to format. It is short, sweet and would provide plenty of high-voltage contests due to the participation of all the strong teams. A mediocre West Indies would remain as an aberration, however most of the matches promise high-octane contests.

This is the first ICC tournament after a draggy World Cup at the Caribbean in 2007. The criticisms raised from that tournament could be decisive in the growth of ODI’s.

If the Champions Trophy turns out as a failure, then ICC would be pondering on different ideas to improve ODI Cricket. And, if it turns out as a success, then also ICC would have to take some measures to make this attractive, as at present, several bi-lateral series are being played in front of fewer crowds. So this Champion’s Trophy would be either give some extra-time for the ODI’s or it will mark its demise.

Back to the ODI carnival

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

After some heart-stopping T20 matches and quality test matches, cricket is back to its foremost shorter-version to take the spectators by storm- The Champions Trophy 2009.Following the draggy World Cup at the Caribbean, the cricketing world would be keen to see how this event performs, as there are lot of expert opinion to cut back the no of ODI’s and retain test cricket.

Australia, the reigning winners will be keen to resurgent in the world of cricket after some abashing defeats in the form of World T20 and at the Ashes. They have lost the dominance since the retirement of their great players and the infusion of new blood hasn’t proved effective yet. Australia is pondering different options like splitting the captaincy to reduce the pressure on Ponting, who is the backbone of the Australian batting order. Brett Lee has missed the bulk of the season due to injury and would be keen to make an impact as the Aussie bowling struggled in his absence in the Ashes.

South Africa and India are the strong contenders who’d be bidding for the title. South Africa’s dismal performance in the crunch matches has been a conundrum that they would like to crack this time around. India on the other hand, is more confident and would like to keep aside the grim at the World T20 as an aberration. They have performed consistently since 2008 and would like to get the silverware that slipped from their hands several times.

Pakistan, Sri Lanka and England are also unavoidable due to their volatile nature and the unpredictable nature of cricket itself.  The tournament promises to be a belter, if it lives up to the hype.

The Halt Looks Apparent For The ‘Rawalpindi Express’

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

It was one of the finest pieces of fast bowling, when Shoaib Akthar ran through several batting line-ups in the 1999 World Cup. His extensive run-up and stiff action were not the attributes of a generic fast bowler. Right from the start, he has topped the headlines of several newspapers in Pakistan, either for his on-field performances or off-field controversies.

His blistering speed has been his main weapon against his opponents. He has used it effectively against several batsmen. However, his pursuit for breaking the 100-miles speed barrier ruined his chances of cementing his place and lead to several injuries. He was banned for two years after testing positive for using Nandralone, however, was reprieved upon his appeal. After the doping saga, he couldn’t be a part of the national squad on a permanent basis, due to various reasons.

Shoaib Akthar’s exclusion from the probable list for the Champions Trophy is a clear indication that the selectors are looking forward to a group of youngsters, who would form the core of the Pakistan team in the 2011 World Cup. Though his career is virtually over, there is a remote chance of a recall, if he improves his fitness and performs at his best in the county matches.

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