Thursday, February 5, 2015

Bowling of Ajmal and Hafeez would be missed in World Cup

If any team has suffered the most by ICC’s recent crackdown on the bowlers having suspect actions, its Pakistan. First Saeed Ajmal was banned and then, it was Mohammad Hafeez and neither of these two bowlers got their action cleared ahead of the World Cup. Ajmal was not even named in the final squad of Pakistan for the tournament. Hafeez got in, but, as a batsman only. The bowling of these two gentlemen would have made Pakistan a serious threat in the World Cup. They are still a good team, Pakistan, but, they do not look to have as dangerous an attack as they used to have in most of the past World Cups.

One would say that the ball does not spin in Australia and New Zealand and thus, Ajmal-Hafeez would not have been as effective as they are in subcontinent. That’s not true at all. These are the two bowlers who never depended on turn that much to beat the batsman or get him dismissed. Their bowling was more about their speed variations, the use of the crease and of course the presence of mind. Somebody like Hafeez would never let you come down the pitch easily to him and play the lofted shot. He was such an expert at shortening the length of the ball at the last second and getting the batsman to play a false shot.

Ajmal was a master at using the crease. He would change the angle, would go over the wicket, around the wicket citing the strengths and weaknesses of the batsman and he would also bowl from the corner of the crease at times. Of course, he had that gift of ability to turn the ball both ways, but, even in non turning conditions, he would fetch wickets for his captain.

Had Ajmal and Hafeez been there, people would have seen some class off spin bowling in the World Cup 2015.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Sanjay Patel, Rajeev Shukla in frame for BCCI presidency

The Srinivasan group in the BCCI seems to have started to come to terms that their main man would not be able to grab the prestigious post of the president for the second successive time. They are mulling over the name of other people who can be suitable candidates from their side for the elections. Sanjay Patel’s name is being talked about. He is the current secretary of the board and has been overseeing everything for the past one year since that spot fixing matter popped up and he has run the affairs pretty well.

The other candidate that might be there for the consideration is Jagmohan Dalmiya. He is an ex president. But, he is too old now. BCCI presidency is not easy to handle. You have got to travel to different places to attend meetings. So, it’s quite difficult for a person who is over 70 already. Experience is a good thing, but, still, you have to be active enough to run such a big board. So, Dalmiya might not get too much of support.

Rajeev Shukla also has healthy relationships within the board especially within the ruling faction. But, he is from congress which is an opposition party in the central government and most of the people ruling the state boards at the moment are from BJP. But, Shukla is a very powerful political personality and his rapport with Arun Jaitley, the man whose words carry a lot of weight in the board, is good.

This time the presidential candidate has to be nominated by the East Zone. At least, two East Zone state boards must be in favour for a person to stand for the elections. Otherwise, the candidature can’t be valid. Patel and Shukla would easily get the support of two boards from the East Zone.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Indian players enjoying the short break before the World Cup

The Indian Cricketers, who are there in Australia, have been given a short break by the board. They have been freed to explore Down Under for a few days before they get all their attention back to Cricket again and try and win the biggest prize in the game i.e. the World Cup.

The Indians have been in Australia for about 10 weeks. They had landed there back in November. Since then, they have played a couple of warm up first class matches, a full test series of 4 games and then, almost the same team played the Carlton Mid Triangular ODI series as well. So, they must be mentally drained and you don’t want to be playing a World Cup in a drained mental condition.

This break period has been nicely timed by the BCCI. There are seven days to go for India’s first practice game against Australia. A couple of training sessions before that would be fine. So, if the players get back to the team camp on Friday i.e. 6th February, they would be ready for that game. The sources say some of the Indian players actually wanted to meet their families and they had even requested the board to give them the permission to take the flight back home. But, Australia is not a nearby country. Returning from there and then going again within 3-4 days, it would take its toll. So, the board did not allow anyone to return, but, is planning to arrange for the families of some players to travel to Australia to meet them.

India’s second practice game before the World Cup is against the Associate team Afghanistan on 10th. And, then, the big game, the much awaited India Vs Pakistan fixture, would come along on 15th.