India v Sri Lanka: Players pay the price for Delhi pollution

Even for those of us who have been complaining about the BCCI scheduling cricket matches with no context, the third India v Sri Lanka test match in Delhi will stick in the memory. Originally we thought it would be for Virat Kohl’s first triple century. But we were wrong. This test match will be remembered for #DelhiPollution and #PollutionStopsPlay (hashtags in their own right).

It will be remembered for the Sri Lankan players throwing up on the outfield.

Sri Lanka’s Suranga Lakmal, centre, vomits as his teammates stand next to him during the fourth day of their third test cricket match against India in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadr)

For Sri Lankan players wearing surgical masks.

For Kohli’s angry declaration. (He pointed at his chest and said we will bowl, the implication being we will show you how to do it, you cry babies). Can you blame him? He is a proud Delhi boy and the masked Lankans had made his city look bad. Read More …

India v Sri Lanka: The Kohli-coaster rolls on

At the end of the first day’s play in Delhi, Kohli remained undefeated on 146. Three test matches against Sri Lanka have seen three contrasting tons from the Indian captain.

The first test at Eden Gardens saw Kohli get a ten-ball duck in the first innings. Walking in with Sri Lanka in the hunt for the win, Kohli’s second innings hundred on a spicy pitch swung the match decisively in India’s favour. One of his best efforts, one which nearly saw India pull off a famous come-from-behind win at the spiritual home of Indian cricket.

Kohli’s double hundred in Nagpur was pure efficiency after the Murali-Pujara show. He cut out risk and ground the Lankans into the dust without mercy. Read More …

Are you still watching India play cricket?

After the Latham-Taylor show in Mumbai, India have drawn level in the ODI cricket series against New Zealand with a clinical performance in Pune. Bhuvaneshwar and Bumrah set the tone up front and batsman knocked off the runs with ease. 1-1 with one to play. Our prediction at the start of the series seems to be coming good at this point.

We, however, have an another (larger) question – do these matches have any context at all? With series flying thick and fast, hardly a weekend goes by without India featuring in a cricket match. Since the Champions Trophy 2017 in June, India have played almost non-stop.

  • Five days after defeat in the Champions Trophy final the Indian team was in the West Indies for five ODIs and a T20I.
  • Two weeks after returning from the Caribbean, they were in Sri Lanka for three tests, five ODIs and a T20I.
  • Ten days after returning triumphant from Sri Lanka, India were playing their old nemesis Australia in five ODIs and three T20Is.
  • A week after Australia, the New Zealand series started.
  • Ten days after the end of the New Zealand series, India plays Sri Lanka again in three tests, three ODIs and one more T20. You might ask why we are playing Sri Lanka again, since we played them earlier in the year? Maybe it has something to with Sri Lanka being the only ones voting with the BCCI in the big ICC revenue re-shuffle?
  • Ten days after the end of the Sri Lanka series, India will be in South Africa for three tests, six ODIs and three T2OIs.

Did you feel tired reading that? Does the world really need more India-Sri Lanka matches? Who is watching these matches? Read More …

India vs New Zealand, 1st ODI (Mumbai, 2017)

Since falling agonisingly short of the Champions Trophy, Kohli and his band of merry men have had a busy summer. India may have lost Anil Kumble as a coach but they have continued their stellar form to conquer Sri Lanka (3-0 in tests, 5-0 in ODIs), West Indies (3-1, ODIs) and Australia (4-1, ODIs). With the weather cooling down and Diwali celebrations nearly complete, the Indian team gets down to the serious business of hosting New Zealand for 3 ODI and 3 T20s.

The ICC Rankings tell us that India should win the ODI series while NZ should walk away with the T20 honours; India is the #2 ODI Team, up against the #5 ranked NZ side. Conversely NZ has top T20 billing against India’s fifth place.

Cricket, however, would be deathly boring if everything went to plan.

The ODI series kicks off Sunday, October 22nd, at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai (1.30pm IST). Read More …

Second Innings: The Refugee Cricket Project

A few months ago, while the Indian Premier League was on someone on our fantasy cricket Whatsapp group asked the others to make a guess at Rashid Khan’s age. Estimates varied between 30 and 600. Some Shahid Afridi jokes were thrown in for good measure.

The answer – 20 September 1998, making Rashid Khan 18. The wise one on our Whatsapp Group said – “When you have the Taliban in your backyard, you age faster“.

True that. Read More …