Mahendra Singh Dhoni

India Get Their World Cup Off To A Flyer After Defeating Pakistan

Virat Kohli scored a brilliant hundred which helped India crush Pakistan by 76 runs.

Virat Kohli scored a brilliant hundred which helped India crush Pakistan by 76 runs.


India and Pakistan renewed their intense rival as they started their World Cup campaign on Sunday with a win against arch rivals Pakistan . In a match that was reportedly watched by 1 million it’s India who dominated this one, the defeat for Pakistan meant that they still haven’t beat their arch rivals in World Cup cricket.

After winning the toss defending world champions India decided to bat first. When the normally explosive Rohit Sharma fell for just 15, one might have been forgiven for asking if batting first was the right choice. Sharma’s dismissal meant that Virat Kohli was next into bat which is always a very ominous sign for the opposition . The vice captain Kohli who does have a good record against the arch enemy, improved his record here with a brilliant and well composed hundred.

Kohli and Shikar Dawan enabled a India recovery as the second wicket pair out on a stand of 129 which enabled India to rebuild. Shikar Dawan who reigned his attacking instincts for the team was the next wicket to fall via a Misbah Ul Haq run out.

Such is the strength of India’s top order that when a team gets rid one quality a player another quality player follows. The next man in was Suresh Raina, Raina a 28 year old batsmen who is very destructive at his best, was in destructive form here.

As he is known for over the years the Chennai Super Kings player likes to settle into the crease and play his way in, and Raina didn’t change his method here. Pakistan who were using spinners at this stage got that tactic wrong as Suresh Raina is some one who is well known to have a weakness of the short ball.

The unusual tactic by Pakistan captain Misbah- Ul Haq, allowed Suresh Raina to get settled and that lead a typical Suresh Raina like innings. Raina and India’s vice captain put on 110 for the third wicket. The third wicket partnership was broken when Virat Kohli was caught behind from a wide ball which he shouldn’t have hit – but the 25 year old Kohli must have been understandably tired after hitting another century, this latest century was the 22nd in a career which the Delhi man keeps breaking records.

This century which as we know was Kohli’s 22nd, meant that the RCB captain has got 22 centuries quicker than anyone else in the history of the game. When Kohli was out from the bowling of Sohail Khan that’s where India seemed to lose their way in this one.

A middle order collapse ensued their after. Suresh Raina who played beautifully for his 74 of 56 balls was the next man to go, closely followed by Ravi Jadeja, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ajinkya Rahane. In fact three Indian wickets fell with out a run being scored as Pakistan got a team hat trick if you will.

At one stage India were probably thinking 300-325 is a score they would want to set, in the end the two time world champions had to settle for a scorecard which read 300-7. The main reason for that score was due to the brilliant death bowling of Wahab Riaz and Sohail Khan who with his variations of pace took five wickets for 55 runs.

Ideally India would have wanted more – but 300 was still a good score to defend never the less.

Pakistan went out to bat knowing that despite conceding a high total, it was crucial that they didn’t be to aggressive from the start. The 1992 world champions opted for a different opening partnership by promoting Younus Khan to be Ahmed Shazhad’s opening partner.

That move backfired however as Pakistan got off to the start they were dreading. Khan a World T20 winning captain got a unwanted glove on a very well directed bouncer by Mohammed Shami to depart for just six. With that early set back, Pakistan opted to promote all-rounder Harris Sohail up the order. The 26 year old player from Sialkot didn’t disappoint either as he and Ahmed Shehzhad went about rebuilding the run chase.

To their credit both players went about their task well and for the opening overs of Pakistan’s chase they were actually near enough equal to India’s score at the same stage of their innings. Patient and intelligent cricket by Sohail and Shehzhad kept Pakistan in the hunt – but when Sohail fell to the spin of Ashwin, Pakistan’s chase spiralled out of control.

After being 100-2 at one stage, Pakistan lost three wickets and were soon wobbling at 103-5. Maqsood, Sehzhad and Umar Akmal in controversial circumstances all departed cheaply. The Pakistani’s would have felt aggrieved to see Akmal given out and for their referral to be ignored, even when TV replays didn’t conclusively show contact.

To cling on to that moment as turning point though -to be fair would be a bit desperate as Pakistan collapsed quite spectacularly. Not even a cameo from Shahid Afridi could help Pakistan. The Pakistani’s despite a battling 76 from skipper Misbah Ul-Haq feel well short in this run chase and crumbled to 224 all out in 47 overs.

Although this defeat will be a bitter pill to swallow against their arch rivals, Pakistan shouldn’t actually feel to disheartened. The 1992 champions can take some positives out of this game such as their death bowling – and the performances of Ahmed Shehzhad, Harris Sohail and of course the captain Misbah Ul-Haq.

Pakistan face West Indies next which won’t be easy – but is most definitely winnable. As for the winners of this match India, they can take some positives – but they will be hoping their captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni can find some form with the bat. The defending champions next face South Africa so it’s crucial that India’s star players maintain their good form.

India Cricket World Cup Squad Announced

India one day captain will be hoping to lead India to a succesfull defence of their World cup trophy.

India one day captain will be hoping to lead India to a succesfull defence of their World cup trophy.

Defending World cup champions India announced their 15 man squad on Tuesday 5th January with the Asian side look to bounce back from a difficult test series with Australia by successfully defending their world cup crown in February. Ravindra Jadeja who is carrying a knock and Ishant Sharma who also have a niggle, are both included – but Yuvraj Singh who was the star of the last World Cup and been in good form this year domestically, is overlooked. Record breaker Rohit Sharma who scored a superb 264 last month against Sri Lanka is included in the squad which doesn’t include many surprises.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni who retired from test matches last month captains the side with Virat Kohli his deputy.

India World cup squad:
MS Dhoni (capt & wk)Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin, Stuart Binny, Shikhar Dhawan,, Ravindra Jadeja,, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Akshar Patel, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni Retires From Tests

Virat Kohli will lead India in the fourth test as Mahendra Singh Dhoni has decided to step down as test match captain.

Virat Kohli will lead India in the fourth test as Mahendra Singh Dhoni has decided to step down as test match captain.

Parts of the cricketing world woke up to the news that Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is to retire from tests. The 33 year old Dhoni has enjoyed an unprecedented amount of success over all formats of cricket with a T20,50 over world cup and ICC champions trophies – but the series loss to Australia where there is still one game to play seems to have helped make up the now ex test skippers mind.

Despite the success of India in the limited overs format of the game, in the test arena sadly they have struggled. There was a brief period where the Asian side did enjoy the dizzy heights of being world number one – but heavy defeats to England and now defeat to Australia has lead Mahendra Singh Dhoni to step down. Dhoni will however be available for one day internationals and T20 matches, what can’t be taken away from Mahendra Singh Dhoni is that he has been a brilliant leader, his record speaks for itself.

Vice Captain Virat Kohli will take charge of the Indian side for the fourth test. The 25 year old Kohli has been talked about as a future leader of India, now is his chance to shine – but my God does he have big boots to fill.

As for who will be Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s wicket keeping replacement there are a few players in the frame such as Wriddhiman Saha who deputised in the whitewash of Sri Lanka in the one day series, Sanju Samson who has starred for Rajasthan Royals and of course Parthiv Patel of Royal Challengers Bangalore. Patel once upon a time did keep wicket for India – but then came Dhoni and Parthiv Patel has never really had a look in since.

The void left by Dhoni as a captain is huge – and maybe the void left by Dhoni in regards to his skills as a wicketkeeper could be greater. There are a few good candidates there and all of them can bat which is always a bonus – but because Saha is the man ‘in custody’ of the shirt I think the selectors will favour the 30 year old for the foreseeable future at least.

Sanju Samson is not fully mature and is prone to throw his wicket away – but at 20 is definitely an Indian wicketkeeper of the future. Unfortunately for Parthiv Patel I don’t think he has done a lot wrong in recent years, the 29 year old has scored well in the IPL – but some one has to miss out and sadly I feel it’s Patel.

Very few when Mahendra Sigh Dhoni took over the captaincy from Rahul Dravid in 2007 though that he would be India’s most successful one day captain – but the 33 year old did just that.The absence of Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the test arena will no doubt be missed.

Life After Mahendra Singh Dhoni?

Virat Kohli I feel is a captain for thr future

Virat Kohli I feel is a captain for the future

If you were to look back in time and in history time and again you will see the ‘toppling’ of great leaders whether it be Julius Cesar or Napoleon for example. Even in todays day and age leaders are getting ‘toppled’ Saddam Hussain and being an example of that.

The sporting world is know different and in particular the cricketing world has seen some ‘great captains/leaders’ come and go. Cricketing greats such as Imran Khan, Kapil Dev and most recently Younus Khan have all been great leaders in their time and respective eras – but with everything in life everything must come to an end.

With the examples of Khan and Dev, here you have two world cup winning captains in 1992 and 1987 respectively. As is the way in life, everything comes to an end. India since 1987 have had some great captains in that era such as Mohammed Azharuddin, Sachin Tendaulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and most recently Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Dhoni has been one of the most successful Indian captains in the modern era. The 32 year old has overseen title wins in the Champions trophy, T20 world cup and the 50 over world cup. Not to forget to mention the fact that India became the number one test side in test cricket.

A demoralising test series defeat to England in England, lead to speculation that MSD could be quitting his role as captain. What fuelled the speculation was that the 32 year old wicket-keeper batsmen appeared to suggest that he could leave his role as captain.

India though despite that initial speculation are still captained by Dhoni- but the current one day series against Sri Lanka India are captained by ‘star player’ Virat Kohli. India are playing this series to try and recuperate income from the abandoned series against West Indies due to a pay dispute between the West Indian players and their board.

Is this series a sign of things to come as far as the captaincy of the Indian national cricket team is concerned, will Kohli be the long term captain of India. The 26 year old Kohli ever since he entered the International scene was always talked about as a future captain.

The Royal Challengers Bangalore player has been captain of his franchise for the last two seasons. With in those two seasons it’s clear to see that the Delhi born batsmen does have the skills for the job. The four match series with Sri Lanka is currently going on at the moment – and in Kohli’s first game as captain in this series, India emphatically beat Sri Lanka.

The T20 winners were well beaten, chasing India’s mammoth 363-5 Ajikja Rahane and Shikar Dawan both hitting hundreds. Sri Lanka on the other hand were skittled out for just 194. In the Sri Lankan run chase only Mahela Jayawerdena made any sort of contribution, the former captain making an impressive 43 – before carelessly losing his wicket.

Although it was only one game Kohli’s captaincy was brilliant, the RCB skipper really used his bowlers well. Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav were really impressive. Sharma and Yadav took four and 2 wickets respectively, India will be hoping for of the same in the next match which starts tomorrow.