Freedom Series, Mohali test : In defence of spinners’ wickets

“An army may be likened to water, for just as flowing water avoids the heights and hastens to the lowlands, so an army avoids strength and strikes weakness.” – Sun Tzu

One does not have to have read the ‘Art of War’ to know that historically South Africans haven’t been the best players of spin. So, before the start of the test series, the Indian team made no bones about asking test match curators for pitches that turn.

Mohali was a wicket designed to strike at a weakness against spin.

There’s been a lot of chat on social media about this pitch not being “test match quality”. I simply cannot understand this. Not one ball spat at the batsman or really disturbed the surface of the wicket. The ball didn’t bounce alarmingly high or low. The turn was slow. The pitch was not turning square. The batsmen who applied themselves scored runs.  Read More …

South Africa’s tour of India: Fifth ODI, Mumbai (Politics, Sport and Batting first)

An MSD special at Indore. A Kohli masterclass in Chennai. Raina striking form. AB de Villiers cracking hundreds at will. Ashwin, Duminy and Morkel out with injury. Shikhar and Miller continuing to struggle.

With the scoreline at 2-2, two evenly matched teams have all to play for in Mumbai.

Speaking of Mumbai, Pakistan-born umpire Aleem Dar was forced to withdraw from officiating the final game of the series hosted by India’s most “cosmopolitan” city.  Read More …

South Africa’s Tour of India: Third ODI, Rajkot

The SA tour so far has had it all.

Rohit Sharma tons. Check.

[Click to watch H/Ls of 106 (66) and 150 (134)]

India’s Rohit Sharma celebrates after completing his century during their first Twenty-20 cricket match against South Africa in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamsala, India, October 2, 2015. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Last over loss. Check.

[1st T20, 1st ODI]

ms-dhoni-kagiso-rabada

Virat Kohli being an angry young man after being run out. Check (twice).

Pathetic behaviour by an Indian crowd. Check. Read More …

South Africa’s tour of India, 1st T20, Dharamsala : Let the party begin!

One day to go for the Indian cricket season to get going!

To be honest, we can’t remember the last time India had such a long break – its been almost a month since India finished their tour of Sri Lanka!

Three questions present themselves before the first game of this 72 day tour.

Where does Rahane bat?

As always, India are tigers at home and all the talk is about the strong Indian batting line-up.  Within the current crop, there is no dearth of players who could bat in the top 3 in T20s – in fact Dhawan, Rohit, Kohli, Raina, Rahane all bat within the top 3 for their respective IPL teams.

The last time India played South Africa in the World Cup, Rahane batted at number 4 and hit a superb 79 off 60 balls only to be overshadowed by Dhawan’s century. Since then, Rahane has opened for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, opened the innings in the ODIs and batted at numbers 3 and 5 in tests. Musical chairs seem to be the order of the day.

(Does this sound familiar? Is Rahane’s career following the same script as his mentor’s? Will he be asked to keep wicket next?) Read More …