India v Australia, 2nd test, Bengaluru: India stay alive (and kicking!)

It was tea on the third day of the second test match of the Border Gavaskar Trophy 2017. One nil down in the series and having conceded a lead of 87 in the first innings, India was ahead by just 33 runs with six wickets in hand. India’s experiment with Jadeja had failed in the last over before the break and Ajinkya Rahane would join the dogged Cheteshwara Pujara for the final session of day three. India were alive in the series, but only just.

That’s when we decided to send out a tweet asking the world at large whether Pujara and Rahane could channel their inner Dravid and Laxman. You see, when it’s India and Australia, with the series one wicket away from escaping India’s grasp, Eden Gardens in 2001 becomes the benchmark for a certain generation of Indian cricket fans.

Almost exactly 16 years later, a similar stage was set. Four wickets had fallen in the second innings of the Eden test when Dravid came in to join Laxman. In 2001, Tendulkar had gone for 10. Here, Virat Kohli fell (a slightly dubious decision, in our opinion) for just 15. Dravid was struggling to lay bat on ball before Eden. Before Bengaluru, so was Rahane. Pujara is a batsman in Dravid’s mould. Rahane is more stylish, VVS like.

Unlike Eden, however, the Bengaluru pitch was not going to hold up for five days. The bounce was unpredictable and the turn was quick and sharp. Lyon had taken eight wickets in the first innings to bundle India out for 189. Jadeja had taken six for India. Surely Australia retaining the Border Gavaskar trophy was a just matter of time.

The first ball after tea kept low and went through Matthew Wade and went for four byes. A sign of things to come? Another third day finish looked on the cards. If there was ever a time to stand up and be counted, this was it.

Like 2001, two unfancied guys took up the challenge. Bit by bit, with their backs firmly up against the wall, first Pujara and then Rahane dragged India back into the match with supple wrists, soft hands and some good luck. The Australians, who had the game (and the series) by the scruff of the neck until then, began to flag. By the end of the third days’ play, Indian fans were believing again. 126 priceless runs ahead with 6 wickets still standing – the 93 run partnership between Pujara and Rahane had changed the complexion of the match. Unbelievably, the momentum had shifted towards India.

The fourth morning brought with it another twist in the tale. Pujara fell in the 90s for the first time in his test career and India’s remaining wickets tumbled to Hazelwood quickly, leaving Australia 187 to chase to retain the Border Gavaskar trophy. It was a tough ask, but not impossible. One good session from Warner could get Australia within sniffing distance.

Renshaw went first to a snorter from Ishant. The dangerous Warner followed soon after lbw post DRS to Ashwin. Marsh was given out lbw and chose not to review after a mix-up with Smith. Steve Smith then decided to look towards the dressing when given out lbw to a “worm burner” from Umesh.

Who knows whether it was deliberate or not. The one thing that #DressingRoomGate surely exemplified the confusion that reigned in Aussie minds at the time. Teams visiting India need a bit of luck, good technique and, perhaps most importantly, clear minds. Smith had cracked under the pressure of the moment. In that moment of panic, Kohli knew that the series had turned decisively in India’s favour.

India proceeded to wrap up the test with Ashwin picking up six to become the fourth bowler in the test to take six wickets or more (after Lyon, Jadeja and Hazlewood). The series was tied 1-1. Bangalore was the site of yet another mini-miracle. 

DressingRoomGate, unfortunately, probably got a bit blown out of proportion thereafter. Smith called it a brain-fade, Kohli made some comments in the post match conference and the boards of both nations got involved. Finally, better sense has prevailed and the BCCI has withdrawn its complaint against Steve Smith and Hanscombe.

As an aside, we rather enjoyed Kohli telling Healy that the pot shouldn’t call the kettle black. In our opinion, Heals should stick to what he is good at (which is NOT being a commentator, for the record). We have offered our services to Mr. Kohli to research his critics further. At the date of writing, we have not heard back.

Where does that leave us for the third test in Ranchi starting on Thursday? Well, for one, Mitch Starc will be out with injury and so will Mitch Marsh. Kohli’s India will be fired up and raring to go. It won’t be an easy ride but we are predicting a 3-1 win to India to win back the Border Gavaskar Trophy and round off this grand season of Indian test cricket. What to you guys think?

The third test match starts at Ranchi on Thursday, 16 March 2017. Remember to subscribe to all our blog updates by clicking here.

 

 

 

India v Australia, 1st test, Pune: India finally come undone

We didn’t preview this India v Australia test series thinking there would be nothing new to say. On the one hand you had Steve Smith’s unfancied Australia, which had lost 0-3 in Sri Lanka six months ago and had been dubbed by Bhajji as the “weakest Australian team to ever visit India” and by Dada as most likely to go down 0-4. On the other side stood Kohli’s mighty Indian test outfit – a captain who had never lost a game in India and a team which was unbeaten in 19 test matches (home and away). The test teams of Sri Lanka, South Africa, West Indies, New Zealand, England and Bangladesh had all been swept aside at various points in the last two and a half years. Before going into the Pune test against Australia, India hadn’t lost a test match at home since December 2012 – a 20 match unbeaten streak at home.

But these two mighty cricketing nations have a special relationship, based primarily on spoiling each others’ parties. In the greatest moment in Indian test history, the Laxman/Dravid/Bhajji miracle ended Australia’s 16 match winning streak at Kolkata in 2001. Australia then conquered the “Final Frontier” in 2004, bringing India’s unbeaten run at home to end. Again, in 2008, India famously brought another Aussie 16 match winning streak to an end by winning at the WACA in Perth when no one gave them a chance.

So, in case you’ve been working for a living or living under a rock, Australia has won the first test match at Pune by 333 runs within three days, bringing Kohli and India’s streaks to an end. India have been paid back in their own coin. Read More …

IPL 2017 Auction Wrap Up: The Best, the Worst and the Shocking

Lasting a total of six hours, this was still the shortest IPL auction to date. Despite that, there was some interesting action including the most expensive overseas player and the World #1 T20 bowler not getting picked up.

There was also plenty of interest in all-rounders but let’s make it clear first up that recent history doesn’t agree with the value teams put on all-rounders.

In 2016, Sunrisers Hyderabad won the IPL on the back of Warner & Dhawan with the bat and Bhuvneshwar & Musafizur with the ball – all specialists. In 2015, Mumbai Indians relied on Simmons & Rohit with the bat, Malinga, McClenaghan & Bhajji with the ball – all specialists. In 2014, Kolkata Knight Riders relied on Uthappa with the bat and Narine with the ball – both specialists, not all-rounders.

With this in mind, here are some of the highlights of yesterday’s IPL 2017 auction.

Best 3 Buys (in terms of Value for Money)

  1. Jason Roy: After going unsold in the first round, Jason Roy was snapped up by Gujarat Lions for his base price of just Rs. 1 Crore. His Career T20 average is nearly 30 and strike rate over 144. Oh, and he’s currently in fine form in the PSL, with 173 runs from 5 innings including 2 half-centuries at the time of writing this article.
  1. Mitchell Johnson: Johnson knows a thing or two about the IPL and Mumbai picked him up for his base price of just Rs. 2 Crore. He was valued at 6.5 Crore by KXIP in 2014, so this is a steal. He knows Mumbai well; he was key to their 2013 title campaign with 24 wickets at an economy rate just over 7 runs/over. Mumbai now have Johnson, Malinga and McClenaghan, a more than handy pace trio.
  1. Ankit Bawne: If you’re wondering “who?” – you’re not alone. This 24-year old is not a marquee pick, but he was perfect for the Delhi Daredevils. DD needed a domestic batting boost, and to get a batsman with a T20 average of 33.15 at a strike rate of nearly 130 for just 10 Lakhs is a steal.

Worst 3 Buys (in terms of  Value for Money)

  1. Ben Stokes: Maybe a controversial pick, but 14.5 crore for Stokes was just pure hype and adrenaline, he is nowhere near worth that. No IPL Experience, not available for the entire season (due to international duty). In his most recent T20 series vs. India, he hit only 46 runs and picked up 2 wickets in 3 matches. Also, Pune will have a selection struggle; with Smith, Faf and Zampa almost guaranteed to play, Stokes will steal a spot from Mitchell Marsh. Not worth 14.5Cr.
  1. Trent Boult: Kolkata Knight Riders snapped up Boult in a bidding war that set his value at 5Crore. While KKR had plenty of room for overseas players, and are looking for someone to fill Andre Russell’s shoes, Boult was an odd pick. He has only played 8 IPL matches in 2 seasons, 1 in 2016, and had an average past 12 months for NZ. A steal at 1 Crore, a bad pick at 5 Crore.
  1. Karn Sharma: 5 years ago, Karn was touted as a potential all-rounder for Team India, handy with both bat and ball. Sadly, in 2016, he picked up 0 wickets in 5 matches and scored only 36 runs with the bat, leading him to be let go by the Sunrisers Hyderabad. Mumbai grabbed him for Rs. 3.2 Crore in a bidding war, far higher than his worth.

Most Shocking Unsold Players

  1. Imran Tahir: Not much to say here; it made sense for Delhi Daredevils to let go of him after his weak 2016 IPL, and given Delhi has Mishra as a leggie, but Tahir has a stellar record in limited overs cricket that would have made him an asset to any side. Oh, and he’s the #1 ranked T20 bowler in the world right now.
  1. David Wiese: This South African all-rounder bats at a strike rate greater than 150 and has nearly 120 T20 wickets. In 2015, for RCB he had a couple of good knocks and snagged 16 wickets; for a 30 Lakh starting price we expected him to get picked up.
  1. Parvez Rasool: He has a limited IPL record, with only 2-4 games in each of the past 4 years, but Rasool has a handy T20 bowling economy rate and can bat a bit too. As a domestic spinner, he would have been an asset to squads who focused disproportionately on their overseas buys.

So that’s it! Stay tuned to 1Tip1Hand for lots more about the IPL between now and the first game, which kicks off at 8pm IST on Wednesday, April 5th, 2017.

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A Beginner’s Guide to the IPL Auction Process

We’re still 9 weeks away from the start of IPL 2017, but in three days the IPL teams (with their coaches and thinktanks) will get together in a giant meeting room to bid for players to add to their squads. That’s right, IPL auction season is upon us!

For the uninitiated, here’s a quick beginner’s guide to the IPL Auction Process.

What is it, exactly?

Each year in February the IPL hosts an auction process where teams get to boost their squads. They bid for players not currently attached to a team, and the highest bidding team gets the player.

Why do they need more players?

Every squad must have between 16 and 27 players, with a maximum of 9 overseas players. During the off-season, teams can release players (usually due to underperformance, injury or unavailability), and they’ll use the auction to fill up these slots.

 How much are they allowed to spend?

Each team can spend a maximum of of 66 Crore Rupees on their squad, including current players. This means the amount in their wallet for the Feb 20th auction will vary – for example, Kings XI Punjab have 8 open spots for players but a purse of Rs. 23.35 Crore, while Mumbai Indians have 7 open spots, but a purse of only Rs. 11.55 Crore remaining.

Who needs the least and most players?

KKR finished 4th last season and unloaded a mammoth 6 overseas players, and are now short Andre Russell too. They will buy up to 14 players including 6 overseas.

RCB and Mumbai will only have room to buy up to 7 players in this year’s auction.

What’s the deal with international conflicts?

Each national board has full discretion over players’ schedules; this means for example, England and South Africa are both calling back players in early-mid May to get an ODI series in as prep for the Champions Trophy.

This means even the marquee players might be in lower demand, as international conflicts mean they aren’t available for the entire IPL but would still occupy a spot in the squad.

How many players are up for grabs?

Believe it or not, the list started at 799 players.

Teams submitted wish lists and it dropped to 351 players, including 122 capped internationals.

Remember, combined the teams can only buy a maximum total of 77 players, making the odds of getting bid on just greater than 1 in 5 – yup, nearly 4 of every 5 players in the pool will go unsold in the painfully boring process of having their name announced and no bids. 

Ok, but really, there are obviously some exciting players?

Here’s the fun part. 1Tip1Hand is most excited about a few key players.

3 Most Exciting Marquee Players

·         Ben Stokes (base price 2cr): An asset with bat and ball, Stokes will no doubt stoke (haha!) a bidding war

·         Angelo Mathews (base price 2cr): Although recent form has been average at best, an all-rounder who has leadership experience make Angelo an exciting pick. Sadly, we expect he might not get picked up this year given his reputation as a slow batsman; a T20 strike rate of 120 just isn’t enough

·         Jason Roy (base price 1cr): His tenacity with the bat and recent limited overs experience against India will make him a key pick for any of the 8 IPL sides this year

3 Most Exciting Lesser Known Players

·         Colin de Grandhomme (base price 30lakh): At 30 lakhs, de Grandhomme is a steal with a whopping 170.54 career strike rate. His handy medium pace is a steal for 1-2 overs per game too.

·         Evin Lewis (base price 50lakh): This lesser known West Indian is often in the shadows of stars like Gayle and Russell, but he scored 72% of his runs in boundaries this past year. A strong, cheap opening batsman option.

·         Tymal Mills (50lakh): Mills bowls quick, in the early overs and in the death overs too. His brisk pace and tight economy asset make him a sure shot pick – and bonus over the others English players, he’s not in the England ODI team, so will be around for the entire season.

So there you have it! A beginner’s guide to the 2017 IPL Auction. If you have questions, leave us a comment and we will come back to you.

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India v Bangladesh Test: Preview

In the past seven weeks, India has played against England in all 3 formats . Just over 2 weeks from now, India kicks off a 4-Test series with Australia too. Almost exactly 10 weeks from now, the IPL will kick off with an opening ceremony that is no doubt newsworthy, for better or for worse. That will be followed almost immediately by the Champions Trophy in England. PHEW!

Yet here we are, in the middle of a packed season previewing a standalone test between India and Bangladesh to be played in Hyderabad, from Feb 9-13, 2017.

So how did this Test match find a way into the already crazy calendar? Maybe the BCCI realized that India, despite sharing a border with them, remains the only Test playing nation to have not yet hosted Bangladesh in a Test match. All that is set to change on 9 February 2017.

The last time Hyderabad hosted a test in 2013, Pujara scored a double, Vijay scored a century, Ashwin took a 5-for and Jadeja took 3 wickets in each innings. Kohli will back his top XI and will be looking to warm-up for the upcoming  four test series against Steve Smith’s men with a win here.

Ahead of this (historic?) standalone test, here are a few things we at 1 Tip 1 Hand are watching closely: Read More …