Can Ravichandran Ashwin be really called an all-rounder ??

Ravichandran Ashwin has been in thick of the things since his arrival in Team India in 2010. Since then he has become the leader of the Indian bowling pack and is expected to win matches for India, especially in test cricket, with the ball in his hand but his batting skills have always been less talked about. He has never been expected to do magic with the bat but slowly and gradually, he is proving his mettle in the batting department.

Why is he not just another tailender who can bat a bit? 

While batting, Ashwin doesn’t look like a tailender. He has many elegant shots in his repertoire that only proper batsmen possess. He hits beautiful cover drives, straight drives, leg glances, and cuts. He is more like the old-fashioned batsmen who relies more on textbook shots than on unorthodox shots of the new age batsmen. No wonder that he is successful with the bat in Test cricket and not in the shorter formats of the game. He has, till now, played 33 Test and batted in 49 innings, scoring 1317 runs with 3 centuries and 6 half-centuries at an average of 33.76. These stats are not bad for a batsman who has batted at no 8 or no 9 most of his life and these stats can’t be of any tailender who can just bat a bit.

Most of the times when tailenders score 50 or above in Test cricket, two things are always common in their innings. One, they have much higher strike rate than rest of the batsmen and two, they go for the high-risk shots. They do not try to negotiate bowlers with textbook shots but they try to out-muscle them with the shot making. Therefore, reliability is not the term, which can be associated with the tailenders whereas Ashwin can be termed as reliable to some extent. He is known to grind on the field. He takes his time and is not pestered by the flurry of bouncers. He negotiates bowlers by playing risk-free traditional shots and has a better defensive technique than tailenders. Hence, Ravichandran Ashwin generates much more confidence in his batsmanship than any tailender. He has done it on swinging tracks of England, fast tracks of Australia and on spinning tracks of Sri Lanka. Out of his 9 above 50 innings, 4 have been scored outside India and not to forget his gritty and important 40s and 30s at Manchester, Melbourne, and Brisbane which is by no mean a feat that can be achieved by a tailender. Therefore, Ravichandran Ashwin certainly is more of a batsman than a tailender who can bat a bit.

Ashwin is as good as any bowler in the world so let us compare his batting skills to know where he stands in the group of all-rounders.

Comparison with Indian all-rounders

Let us compare Ravichandran Ashwin with Kapil Dev to look where is he heading ? Interestingly in first 33 Test, Kapil Dev had also batted for the same number of innings as Ashwin i.e 49. In those 49 innings, Kapil Dev made 1234 runs with 1 century and 6 half century at an average of 27.42. Kapil Dev went on to play 131 test and scored 5248 runs with 8 century and 27 half century at an average of 31.05 for India. Ashwin is in fact ahead of Kapil Dev at this point of time. He has scored more runs, more centuries and averages better than what Kapil Dev had in his first 33 Test.

Another Indian player who has made the name for himself as an all-rounder was Manoj Prabhakar. He played 39 Test matches and made 1600 runs with 1 century and 9 half century at an average of 32.65. Ravichandran Ashwin is no less than Manoj Prabhakar in batting stats. He averages better and has more centuries to his credit than Manoj Prabhakar.

Comparison with all time greats 

Name Test  Run Century Half Century Average
R Ashwin 33 1317 3 6 33.76
Ian Botham 102 5200 14 22 33.54
Imran Khan 88 3807 6 18 37.69
Richard Hadlee 86 3124 2 15 27.16
Jacques Kallis 166 13289 45 58 55.37

Comparison with contemporaries 

Name Test Run Century Half Century Average
Shakib Al Hasan 42 2823 3 19 39.76
Stuart Broad  95 2606 1 10 22.27
Moeen Ali 28 1165 2 5 29.87

Comparing Jacques Kallis and Ravichandran Ashwin would be stupidity as a player like Jacques Kallis comes not once in a decade or a generation but once in a century. He has been a phenomenon and beyond any comparison. Barring Jacques Kallis, Ravichandran Ashwin stands tall when compared to any other all-rounder, be it contemporary or all-time greats. Success of Ravichandran Ashwin as a batsman will not only depend on his capability with the bat but also on how much trust Captain and Coach has in him as a batsmen. By opting for 5 bowlers and putting Ravichandran Ashwin at number 6 in batting, Virat Kohli has shown ample faith in Ashwin’s batting.

Ashwin, on his part, has not disappointed Kohli in his first innings at number 6 batsman and has shown glimpses of how good an all-rounder he can become but he has to go a long way to be called as one of the best all-rounders that India produced. He certainly enjoys his batting and puts a price on his wicket. After the 1st test at Antigua, India is set to play 16 more Tests in this season and if Ashwin can notch up 700-800 runs in these 16 Tests to follow, Ashwin will be certainly called as one of the better all-rounders that India produced and all the indicators and comparisons scream that he would definitely do it.

 

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Nike’s Da Da Ding ad : Unnecessary Controversy

Nike’s Da Da Ding  ad featuring Indian sportswomen and Deepika Padukone is creating a lot of buzz on social media and international media alike.

 

BBC has done a story on the Da Da Ding” ad with the headline ‘India ad sparks debate on recognizing sportswomen’. BBC is not alone in raising this question, most of the social media users are asking same question. Social Media  users are slamming Indian people for recognizing only Bollywood star Deepika Padukone and not the female athletes who represent India. Even avid sports watchers could not go beyond recognizing 2 or 3 sportswomen who represent India. Some even blamed Indians patriarchal mindset for not recognizing female athletes.

 

These allegations are right up to some extent but are wrong for more than one reason. If Nike’s Da Da Ding ad would have put male athletes from different sports other than cricket, Indians would have  hardly recognized them too. May be, they will recognize a Sardar Singh or a PR Sreejesh from hockey, a Sunil Chhetri from football, but beyond that they will only recognize achievers like Vijendra Singh, Sushil Kumar, Leander Paes etc.

 

Same is the case with Nike ad, if Nike ad would have featured Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal, or Mary Kom people would have certainly recognized them. Indians do have patriarchal mindset, Indian girl do face discrimination but giving these as reasons for not recognizing Indian female athlete in Nike’s Da Da Ding is just exaggeration.It’s not the gender that is facing discrimination but sports that faces discrimination in India and it’s gender neutral. India is still not a sporting country and to expect them to recognize every player who represent India would be idiotic. Let the BBC ask who is SV Sunil and Indians would not recognize him without asking google. We have to go long way before Indians start recognizing people who represent India in sports. It’s better to enjoy this ad and appreciate Nike for putting Indian sportswomen on front than wasting energy on unnecessary controversy. 

Check the Nike’s Da Da Ding video

Time to give Cristiano Ronaldo his due 

Ronaldo is often not given his due by football lovers and experts. He is looked down by many experts when they compare him to Messi. His perceived arrogance and so-called narcissism are given as reasons for not giving Ronaldo his due.
On the other hand , Barcelona have recently started a campaign on Twitter with hashtag #WeAreAllLeoMessi in support of Messi after his conviction for tax evasion in Spanish court. A man convicted of tax evasion is still loved by experts but Ronaldo, who does charity and had shown many a time his helping side, is hated on a flimsy ground of alleged arrogance and narcissism.
Of course, Tax division doesn’t make Messi a lesser footballer but certainly makes him a lesser man. Similarly perceived arrogance and narcissism do not make Ronaldo a lesser footballer. So if people are hell bent to compare these two then it should be done on footballing skills and not on personalities.
Ronaldo, year after year, has shown to the world that what a player he is. He has proved himself in two different leagues by winning trophies and scoring the highest number of goals in both leagues that he played in while Messi is still stuck in one league. Will Messi be as successful in other leagues, in the company of lesser players than what Barcelona used to have or is having, is a matter of fierce debate. Ronaldo has been successful under different coaches and under different kind of playing styles of coaches which shows his adaptability.
For last three years, Ronaldo is scoring more goals than Messi and it is shocking that the world still questions Ronaldo’s credentials. Ronaldo has achieved as much as Messi, if not more, by playing with less talented teams than Messi had/is playing. Barcelona comprising of Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol etc were considered one of the best club teams of all time while Ronaldo played along-side talented but less revered players than Barcelona had . Ronaldo’s international team certainly has lesser international star than Messi’s Argentina and yet time and again Ronaldo takes his country to quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals of major tournaments.
Carrying the burden of hope of one’s country is not an easy task and certainly not easy when you are doing it alone, Ronaldo is doing it with ease since he was 19 years of age. He has yet again shown it at Euro Cup. He has bailed out Portugal when they were on the verge of getting knocked out by Hungry, he again shown his brilliance against Wales in semifinals of Euro Cup. In between, Portugal played a match against Poland and match went to penalties and how he inspired Mountinho is a story to be remembered.
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In finals when he was out in the first half due to injury and all seem to be doomed for Portugal, he didn’t lose his heart and came out to cheer for his teammates. His motivational skill was also on display in extra time when he was seen animated and giving instruction to his team-mates from the sidelines which were more than what Louis van Gaal did in whole season for Manchester United.
Regarding his aggression and ‘I am the best attitude’ , anyone who has faced tough situation in his growing years is susceptible to such attitude. Hardship in childhood makes anyone feel that the world is out there to deprive them of their rights. They have to constantly remind themselves that they are the best and they can beat the world who is out there to deprive them. Ask Zlatan Ibrahimovic if you don’t believe me. So anyone, who is evaluating Ronaldo, has to keep these facts in mind along with his off-field charities which show his good side too. And judging a person, who is scoring 50 goals per season, on his body language is idiotic.
This article is by no mean an attempt to put Messi down. Without a doubt, Messi is one of the best of all time and Ronaldo’s successful Euro Cup 2016 campaign shows that he is no less. Winning International Trophy may have taken his reputation above Messi and at par with past greats of the game. It’s high time that critics of Ronaldo and the world, in general, gives him due respect and we must feel fortunate to be watching two greats of the games Messi and Ronaldo trying to outclass each other.
the article was published on Sportskeeda first

Sourav Ganguly : Man who changed Indian Cricket

 

No Indian Cricket player has been ever subjected to kind of varied reactions/emotions that Sourav Ganguly faced. He was hated one moment and loved the very next. People and experts loved to hate him. His arrogance, his sense of entitlement of being King of Indian Cricket, his clumsy fielding and running, all of it made people to hate him but all his flaws were forgotten when he played his exquisite shots through the off-side, his captaincy, his never say die attitude while captaining India was loved by every cricket lover in India.

His biggest contribution was that he made Indian Team “bunch of fighters”. They started to see opponent in the eyes and started to play fearless cricket. He backed players who he thought would turn into match winners and brought in players like Yuvraj, Harbhajan, Sehwag, Zaheer Khan in team India and they turned out to be match winners in coming years. Under his captaincy a road-map was created to make India winners at overseas tests which resulted in India being No. 1 test team under Dhoni. He created the solid foundation which was responsible for India’s success in first decade of new millennium.

Cheers to Dada and cheers to all the success that we saw under Sourav Ganguly Official

And remember, of all the characters of World Cricket, only Ganguly could have done, what he did at Lords Balcony. have a look