Welcome Back, Gauti. You were missed.

“I’m disappointed but not defeated; I’m cornered but not a coward. Grit my partner, courage my pride…for, I must fight, I must fight” – Tweet by Gautam Gambhir on September 12, 2016 (the day the test squad for the New Zealand tour of India is announced).

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“Nothing is over until you stop trying and I’m not done yet!” – Tweet by Gautam Gambhir on September 21, 2016 (on the eve of India’s 500th test match).

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“Excitement of a debutant, certainty of experienced, nervousness of a novice…am feeling it all. Eden here I come loaded with ambitions” – Tweet by Gautam Gambhir on September 27, 2016 (on the day Gautam Gambhir is named as K.L. Rahul’s replacement in the test squad for New Zealand’s tour of India).

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You have over 4,000 Test runs at an average of nearly 43.

You have over 5,200 ODI runs at an average of nearly 40.

You have nearly 14,000 First Class runs at an average of nearly 50.

You have partnered Virender Sehwag as one half of India’s most successful opening combination.

You have top scored in the WT20 final in 2007.

You have top scored in the 2011 World Cup final.

You were dropped in 2014 after a string of low scores on India’s tour of England, after aggregating only 25 runs on that tour.

You have swallowed your pride and gone back to domestic cricket.

You have scored loads of runs in the IPL.

You have led Kolkata Knightriders to two IPL titles.

Your old pal Sehwag has retired but you have stuck around. Read More …

Favourite ODI Innings (Part 2 of 3) – Virat Kohli’s 133* v Sri Lanka

This is the second part of our feature and Ashwin has picked his favourite ODI innings– Virat Kohli’s 133* v Sri Lanka at Hobart. You can read the first part here.

The birth of a superstar

Game 11 of a trination series in Australia is being played at Hobart. India’s past four games read tie, loss, loss, loss, loss. Coming into this match against Sri Lanka, India needed the bonus point to just stay alive in the series.

India win the toss and chose to field, meaning that they will know the bonus point equation when they come out to bat. The bowlers fail to deliver. Dilshan gets to 160*, Sangakkara smashes a century off just 84 balls and Sri Lanka walk off the field smiling with 320 on the board. India need to chase the total within 40 overs to secure a bonus point. To put things in context, India has just suffered 3 back-to-back losses while chasing, all of which were sub-300 targets and their last outing saw them being bowled out for 165. 321 in 40 overs is perhaps a bit more than daunting.

None of this seems to matter to Kohli as he walks out to bat. At that stage, India need 8 runs an over. Sachin and Sehwag are back in the hut. He proceeds to make a mockery of the chase. 16 Fours, 2 Sixes take him to 133* off just 86 balls. One sequence against Malinga, considered the world’s best bowler at the time, reads 2-6-4-4-4-4-1-4-4. That’s 33 runs in 9 balls.  Read More …

Favourite ODI innings (Part 1 of 3) – M.S. Dhoni’s 91* v Sri Lanka

While the last decade has seen the ODI battling with its younger, (arguably) more attractive cousin for relevance, the nineties and the noughties were undeniably the golden age of ODIs. Having started watching cricket in the 90s, we thought it would be nice to do a series where each of our bloggers picks his favourite ODI innings. This is the first part of the feature and DJ has picked his favourite ODI innings – M.S. Dhoni’s 91* v Sri Lanka

Cometh the hour, cometh the man

World Cup finals can reduce the best captains to rubble – just ask Brendon McCullum. Heartbreak seems around the corner with India floundering after being set the highest ever chase in a World Cup final. The destructive Sehwag and demi-God Sachin are already back in the pavilion. Indian fans are starting to brace themselves for a repeat of 2003. I have flown into Mumbai from London hours earlier just to watch this game and am beginning to wonder whether the decision was too hasty. The third wicket falls after a bit of a partnership – Kohli lobs a catch back to the bowler. Unbelievably, the Indian captain promotes himself above Yuvraj, India’s in-form player, and walks out to join Gambhir. A billion people watch every move.  Read More …

Sachin (a billion dreams): Official teaser for the film

If you grew up in the 90s like I did, the game of cricket was synonymous with one name – Sachin Tendulkar. He stood for all that was good with the world. Failed your exams? Never mind, Sachin scored a hundred! Girlfriend dumped you? Koi  nahin, Sachin maar raha hai yaar! Lost your job? Look at Sachin’s straight drive man! I read his autobiography “Playing it my way” which came out in 2014 and was a little bit disappointed. The book was too safe – it didn’t really give us an insight into the man behind the cricketer. But now the teaser for Sachin, the film, is out and I am hoping it will reveal more. I watched the official teaser  and the ‘Sachin, Sachin’ chant in the background gave me goosebumps!

With his retirement in November 2013 from all cricket, a little part of us retired with him. The part that represented our childhood, growing up in middle class India watching Doordarshan. The part that had to drink Boost, which was the secret of his energy. The part that wanted a Visa card, because he told us to go get it. The part that told us that we were good enough to take on the rest of the world and win.  Read More …

World T20 Favourite Moments: Six sixes in one over

#2: Six sixes in an over (Kingsmead, Durban, England v India, 19 September 2007)

Although India qualified for the super-eights after Favourite Moment #1, our campaign was thrown into disarray after a loss in the first super eight game against New Zealand. India had to win this game to have any hope of qualifying for the semi-finals. Again, this was a crunch situation.

India got off to a great start with quickfire fifties from both Gambhir and Sehwag. Out-of-form Yuvraj Singh was slated to come in at number 4, but instead skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni walked in to bat at the fall of the second wicket.

Yuvraj would have to wait to bat and he was not happy about it. Visibly agitated, he paced up and down in the dug-out. When the third wicket fell with the score at 155 in 16.4 overs, Yuvraj sprinted out to the middle. Read More …