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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.



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


Evolution of Virat Kohli in T20 Cricket

Virat Kohli is in majestic touch, it doesn’t matter in which format he plays, he stamps his authority over bowlers but his authority and stupendous success in T20 cricket is to some extent surprising. He is neither a six hitter like Dhoni or Gayle nor he relies on unconventional shots like dilscoop, helicopter shot, reverse sweep, switch hit or the unimaginable shots that AB de Villiers plays in T20/ODI cricket. These unconventional shots and six hitting ability is considered as necessary ammunition to succeed in T20 cricket but Virat plays conventional shots in all three format of the game. He has managed to establish himself as most successful T20 player without taking risk and going for glory shots that others’ do.

What is most impressive about Virat Kohli is that he didn’t ditch his textbook shots to succeed in T20 cricket instead he learnt more textbook shots which made him a player who can hit all around the park and has option of playing two or three different kind of shots at every kind of ball thrown at him.

When he started to play for team India, he was more of a leg side player and was having problems facing deliveries aimed at 4th and 5th stump line. He not only recognised his shortcomings but also removed them successfully. Now, if someone watches Kohl playing those exquisite and breath-taking cover drives, they will never realise that once Kohli was predominantly onside player. Another aspect that he improved is, reducing percentage of dot balls in his innings, he has become a player who, in middle overs, scores most of the runs by running hard between the wicket rather than taking unnecessary risks and throwing away his wickets. This alone makes him a great threat for opponents because most of them wait for batsmen to take unnecessary risk to get their wicket. Evolving oneself by removing shortcomings is sign of a player who is destined for greatness and Kohli seems to be in cusp of greatness.

At start of his career, he used to bat lower down the order and was not able to contribute much for team’s cause. In 5 innings, that he played lower down the order in T20Is, he just managed to score 59 runs at an average of mere 29.50. Few years later, good sense prevailed, Dhoni and others in Indian team think tank realised that Kohli relies more on timing than on power so he is better suited to anchor the inning and set the tempo for the team rather than forcing him to bat lower down the order and burden him with power hitting to finish the inning. Considering this, Kohli was promoted to number three and as they say, rest is history.

At number 3 in T20 cricket, in 34 inning, he scored 1395 runs at a staggering average of 58.12. He has been a revelation at number 3 not just for Indian cricket but for the world. His year on year stats reveals how he is scaling new heights and improving as a cricketer.

Duration Innings Run  Average Strke Rate 50s
Jan 2010 to Dec  2011 5 87 21.75 119.17 0
Jan 2012 to Dec 2013 14 500 38.46 132.62 4
Jan  2014 to Dec 2015 9 429 71.50 135.75 5
Jan 2016 to 27 Mar 2016 11 536 107.20 133.66 6

Another criteria, which can make any player great is his away matches performance and in this regard Virat Kohli is far ahead from his contemporaries

Innings Runs Average 50s
Home Matches 13 437 39.72 3
Away Matches 26 1115 65.58 12

Since his arrival, India has won 29 matches, in which he scored 1169 runs at an average of 73.06. His match winning capability can be seen from the fact that in the 17 match that India won while chasing Virat Kohli has scored 737 run at a staggering average of 122.83, yes you have read it right that’s the batting average not the strike rate. Another fact that reflects his match winning capability is that out of his 15 T20 international 50s, 12 led to victory of team India. He relishes big moment and thrives under pressure. His love for big stages can be seen from the fact that in World Cup T20 since 2012, he has played 15 matches and scored 688 runs at an average of 76.44 with 8 fifties. He not only contribute big in India’s win but also remains till last to see India across the line. He has hit 8 match winning 50s while chasing and he remained not out in 6 of them proves that.

T20 career of Virat Kohli has just started, he had played just 42 T20Is but he has shown to the world what capabilities he possess to destroy the opponents with proper cricketing shots. In the era, where purist are hating T20 cricket because it is destroying the beauty of the game (as perceived by them). Virat Kohli has come as fresh air and once again restored the faith of purist that technique and conventional cricket matters the most to be successful at highest level and that’s true even in T20Is.

This article has been published here at sportskeeda.


Why can’t India win overseas Test Matches

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Whenever someone is quizzed about dismal performance of India in overseas test matches, obvious reply would be “ IPL is killing Test Matches “. IPL is blamed for all ills, technical flaws of Batsmen, Hard hands, stroke making blah blah.. If IPL was killing Indian cricket, why didn’t it kill South African & Australian Test cricket whose players are important part of IPL. De Villers, Faf, Warner, Steve Smith, Johnson, Morkel, and Steyn are star performers at IPL but they are Test match winners for their national team too. There has to be something wrong more than IPL, which is killing our Test Cricket.

India plays ODIs round the year and mostly on flat tracks. If opposition scores 350 they would score 351, if opposition scores 400, they would score 401. They are King of flat tracks. But when balls starts to Swing then even Double Hundred makers of Indian team find it hard to even open their score. So it was not surprising that our team packed its bag in two, two and a half days in England in test matches. In era of Fav 5- Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Ganguly and Sehwag, Indian batting was invincible in swinging, seaming, spinning, fast, slow every kind of pitch. Indian batting superiority faded away with fading away of these Giants of Indian cricket. What’s appalling is Indian Batsmen now a days doesn’t even know how to negotiate spinners. Spinners like Moeen Ali, Lyon whom Siddhu can go out in his wedding suit and still hit them for six sixes have become tormentors for present generation of Indian batsmen. We now don’t see a dancing down Ganguly or paddling Sachin nor we see wristy flicks of Laxman or classic leaning cover drive of Dravid. Now we only see apprehensive shuffle across the crease by Indian batsmen against spinners. There is definitely something wrong with mindset of these batsmen as ability of Indian players to hit spinners out of the park at will cant go away in a jiffy.

But a question may arise that Sachin started playing in 1989, Dravid, Ganguly & Laxman in 1996 still India didn’t win overseas matches at that time. So what was it that made India win overseas Test matches? Fav Five taught India how to draw a test match. It was belief in the team & bowlers who could take 20 wickets that made India win overseas Test Matches. If you listen to any interview of Ganguly, he would tell you in each of his interview that team put winning overseas test as their number one priority. They made plan and worked accordingly. They took pride in every overseas win. So how come such a successful captain like Dhoni doesn’t have same plan or same intensity? In my opinion no captain plays to lose and definitely not when he goes by name Dhoni, one of the most successful captain of India. What Dhoni doesn’t have is pack of bowlers who can take 20 wickets. Look at the bowling line up of Team India; you would know there is a big problem when a Karn Sharma or a Jadeja is your lead spinner in Test Matches. They are not even a pale shadow of Kumble or Harbhajan. A high-class spinner in India is many times more endangered than Indian Lions are. Ishant Sharma, who wakes up once in blue moon and performs for India, leads Indian bowling attack; he averages 37 and has a strike rate of over 65. This is nowhere near to record of any lead bowler of any other team. Our bowlers are seldom in wicket taking rhythm. They are always in run giving mode, most often at rate of four and above. No team in world could win test matches with such bowling attack. Whenever India took 20 wickets, it either won test match or came close to winning it. Our Batsmen can step up their game and make India draw test matches but to win we need Steyns and Johnsons of world or another kumble or Harbhajan. Till that time we have to be content with flukes like Lords Test or may be this Boxing Day would be different as it was in 2010 when Zaheer, Sreesanth, Harbhajan stepped up their game and won Test Match for India against South Africa. This boxing day I, with millions of other Indians, would wake up again in early morning with hope that Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Ashwin would step up their game and win this boxing round for India. But again if it happens it would be a fluke.



When Shakespeare said, “What’s in a name?” he certainly didn’t have any idea that someone with the name ‘Sachin Tendulkar’ would arrive on the scene someday and change his age old adage.

Sachin Tendulkar is the name that every Indian parent want their sons to be, Sachin Tendulkar is the name that every sportsperson in this country wants to be, Sachin Tendulkar is the name every Indian loves to love, Sachin Tendulkar is the name that is respected by sportsperson all over the world. Sachin Tendulkar is synonymous with talent, hard work, determination, success, humility, dignity, and greatness.

What were we doing at the age of 16? Busy with some math’s problem that seemed will bring the end of our world or chasing a girl whose smile made our day. This man, at the age of 16 years 233 days, was facing the dangerous trio of Imran khan, Wasim Akram, and Waqar Younis. He was special could be seen in his debut series but nobody could have imagined that a billion people’s hope and the dream will be carried by this boy named Sachin Tendulkar.

What is one thing that separates greats from mere mortals: talent? determination? These are technical terms that have been repeated oft times. What separates great from mortals is that the greats drive people crazy. They have an instant connect with masses and people live their dream through lives of great people. They don’t have fans or followers, they have devotees. Sachin Tendulkar has a billion plus devotees that many religions in the world cannot boast of.

In early 90’s, India was struggling in every aspect. Indian economy was at its lowest ebb; Society was divided after Babri Masjid demolition and Bombay bomb blast. India needed a ray of hope that can once again make Indians believe in themselves and coincidently Sachin Tendulkar came to foray at the same point in time.

Sachin is one of few threads that binds multicultural India. Every Indian cherishes his every run scored. A century by him rejuvenates every Indian and, as many statisticians say, it also rejuvenates Indian economy. India stands still when Sachin bats, his failure is seen as a personal failure and his success as a personal success.

During the struggling 90’s, Indian middle class was rising with rising Sachin Tendulkar. Indian started to dream big as was the dream of Sachin “To win World Cup for India”. India started to dream of becoming the super power of the world.

In the history of cricket, there was Bradman, there was Sobers, there was Lara, and there was Ponting, there was Kallis but none had to bear the burden of expectations of one billion people, this alone makes Sachin’s feat inhuman and, just for stats, look at his records: 463 ODIs, scored 18,426 runs and made 49 centuries with 62 MOM, none comes close to him in ODIs, from 1 to 10 it’s only Sachin Tendulkar in ODIs. In Test, he had competition from contemporaries like Dravid, Ponting etc and past greats like Gavaskar, Bradman etc but he surpassed all and scored at every corner of the world. There is very little left to doubt about his numero uno position.

Sachin inspired millions to take sports as a career in India from Saina to Sania from Dhoni to Yuvraj to Kohli to Bhuvneshwar Kumar, all came in sports inspired from one man called Sachin Tendulkar. No one, in any sport, has had this kind of impact in any part of the world. He inspired generations to follow their dream. He made cricket a religion and himself, undoubtedly, the God. Above all, his achievements inspire a billion people to dream big and work for excellence.

Happy Birthday GOD

From a Devotee

Chandan Kumar 

This article has also been published here at sachinist.com

IPL6 : Journey Continues


Cricket is played all around the world but it’s heart resides in India. Passion for cricket in India is unmatched. Inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007 was won by India, so it was inevitable: Rise and Rise of T20 cricket. IPL satiated all it’s demand and was perfect recipe for Indian mass who were high on T20 success of India. IPL was perfect mixture of excitement, entertainment and money. IPL made cricket alive and kicking.
In it’s journey of 5 years, IPL left cricket behind. Cricket was lost somewhere. Controversies , Night parties , allegation of match fixing and money laundering took centre stage. Its popularity took a nose dive and post 2011 ODI world cup win it further went down with poor performance of Team India on international Arena. There was no fun watching Rohit Sharma hitting sixes in IPL when he can’t perform in Indian Colours. People wanted cricket back. IPL6 seem to start afresh with new vigour, leaving all the controversies behind. People are thrilled with Team India’s recent performance and are looking forward to find another Ashwin from IPL6 for Team India. They are excited to know that Ishant Sharma will have inputs from great Waqar himself. Indian players have to learn from these greats. Ask any South African domestic player they will die to have an input from Great Kallis on batting or bowling. Experience of Kallis, Sangakara, Kevin Peterson, Dale Styne is up for grabs in IPL. It’s now time for Indian domestic player to make most of it.They should realise money in pocket does no harm but money in head does it a lot. And at the end of the day money is end result of performance.IPL is meant to benefit Indian Cricket and its shouting “utilise me”.
India is looking forward to IPL6 to get another Ashwin, Kohli or Raina, to see whether Sehwag has some fire left in him, to see if Rohit Sharma can make it to another level, to see Sachin-Styne tussle, to see Gayle-Storm, to have some excitement and to have much of cricket. Come Home IPL6, India is waiting