Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Best ODI Bowlers of 2014

We saw who were the Best Batsmen of 2014 in the last post, let us now look at the Top 5 Bowlers from 2014.

1. Ajantha Mendis/ Mohammed Shami - I was very surprised, as must be most of you reading this, to find that these 2 bowlers took the joint highest number of wickets in 2014. Both scalped 38 wickets but both proved extremely expensive, Mendis going at  5.76 runs per over while Shami faring worse at 6.16.

3. Lasith Malinga/ Chris Jordan - Slinga takes the 3rd spot with 29 wickets to his name along with Englishman Jordan. Malinga was also expensive going at almost 6 to the over. He missed the later part of the year due to injuries but hopefully he will be fully fit for the World Cup 2015. Jordan was a rising star for England and he will be eagerly vying for a spot in the playing 11 come the World Cup.

5. Sachithra Senanayake - Senanayake played a major role in Sri Lankan victories in the Asia Cup as well as their win over England in England, a series at the end of which he was called for chucking. He returned at the fag end of the year with a clean action and still tormented the English batsmen, this time in Sri Lanka. He claimed 27 wickets while giving only 4.3 runs per over which is astonishing given the fact that he bowled in the powerplays.




Wickets
Runs per over
Ajantha Mendis
38
5.76
Mohammed Shami
38
6.16
Lasith Malinga
29
6.00
Chris Jordan
29
5.00
Sachithra Senanayake
27
4.3

Who were your favorite bowlers from the year 2014?


This completes a wrap up of the year 2014 from CricketWise.

I wish everyone a very Happy New Year 2015, see you all next year!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Best ODI Batsmen of 2014

With the ICC Cricket World Cup scheduled for 2015, all the teams were focussed on ODI cricket in 2014 so as to get their permutations and combinations sorted out for the mega event.

Below are the Top 5 Batsmen of 2014 who were at their very best all through the year.

1. Kumar Sangakkara - The Lankan run machine made telling contributions right through the year and was super consistent. Getting him out was nigh on impossible and he plundered 1256 runs in just 28 matches at an average of over 46 and a strike rate of nearly 90 runs per 100 balls! He capped off his stellar year with a ton at his home ground in Palekelle against England in what was his second last ODI match in Sri Lanka.

2. Angelo Mathews - The Sri Lankan captain led from the front all of 2014, he was the architect in chief of Sri Lanka's ODI success along with Sanga. Angelo was the Sri Lankan version of Superman as he scored runs, took wickets, captained his side to Asia Cup win, blanked England both home and away, beat Pakistan and Bangladesh in bilateral series! He scored 1244 runs in 32 matches at a strike rate of around 90 and an average of almost 63!

3. Virat Kohli - Virat had another superb year and he was one of the only the 3 batsmen who scored 1000 in the calender year. He scored 1054 runs in 21 matches at an average of 59 striking at nearly 100.

4. Tillakaratne Dilshan - Dilshan often appeared rusty but never seemed to be away from the runs. He always found a way to score and battled his way through most of the year. He also fielded like a 16 year old and was as alert as a panther in the point region. He fell just short of 1000 run milestone raking up 990 runs in 25 appearances at an impressive average of over 40 and a strike rate of over 85.


5. Hashim Amla - Amla had a solid 2014 and he continued to pile up the runs in the format that many said he would struggle in. He ended the year scoring 892 runs in mere 18 matches with an average of over 50 and a strike rate of over 80!

Special Mention

6. AB De Villiers - AB has to be one of the most complete cricket player in recent history and he continues to amaze spectators with his dazzling strokeplay all around the wicket. He plundered 879 runs in 2014 in just 16 matches at a staggering average of almost 75 while still maintaining a monstrous strike rate of almost 115 runs per 100 balls!

Name
Country
Matches
Runs
Average
Strike Rate
Kumar Sangakkara
Sri Lanka
28
1256
46
90
Angelo Mathews
Sri Lanka
32
1244
63
90
Virat Kohli
India
21
1054
59
100
Tillakratne Dilshan
Sri Lanka
25
990
40
85
Hashim Amla
South Africa
18
892
50
80
AB De Villiers
South Africa
16
879
75
115




Who was your favorite batsmen from 2014?

PS: We will look at the Top 5 Bowlers of 2014 in the next post!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Man with the License to Thrill: BOOM BOOM!

I remember a skinny lad coming out with a swagger and bash the hell out of the cricket ball from the very first delivery that he faced. Getting his eye in was not what he ever required, ball one would be swung at, as hard as the young man could. No second invitation was ever required if a spinner was in operation to him, he would skip down the pitch and murder the innocent cricket ball with devilish force.

But with great risks come frequent failures, the young man could change the course of a match single handedly in a small matter of a few balls but he could also leave fans seething in anger at his sometimes seemingly mindless approach. He thrilled cricket lovers, united people from his tumultus country, people flocked to see him bat, they would chant his name even as he prepared to walk to the middle at the fall of a wicket. I am sure you all must have guessed who I am talking about! The man whom I am talking about is none other than Shahid Afridi, better known as Boom Boom or Lala!!

The ICC World Cup 2015 will be the last time that we will see Shahid Afridi play for Pakistan in ODI cricket. Right from his first innings in ODI cricket when he hit the fastest ever century in just 37 balls (the record stood for 17 years and was broken recently by New Zealands Corey Anderson who achieved it in 36 balls) there has never been a dull moment whenever he has stepped onto the cricket field.

(Image source: abc.net.au)

He was a thorough showman - remember him holding his arms out, calling out his team-mates to engulf him in his moment of triumph (I am sure we will see a lot of it in the upcoming World Cup) whenever he outfoxed a batsman with his googly!  He has hit more sixes then anybody else in ODI cricket, he boasts of a staggering strike rate of around 115 even after playing for around 18 years and has taken almost 400 ODI wickets. He still plays like that skinny lad used to play all those years ago, he still thrills us with all his big hitting, he still baffles us with his stupid choice of shots when all that was required to win the match was a calm head, he still charms us with his charismatic smile. Here is hoping that he can sign off in his signature style!!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Biggest Fear of an Engineering Student and Rising above it!!

Engineering Exams. The mere mention strikes fear in the hearts of students. Actually fear is a small word, the correct word for engineering exams are monsters, striking terror and horror in the students. I completed my engineering from a college which was affiliated to the Mumbai University but was situated 400 kms from the mega city itself. I had never lived away from my parents, I had no clue what hostel life is all about. Then there was the small case of dealing with living in the constant fear of the upcoming semester exams. In the previous batch only 1, yes ONLY 1 student had managed to clear all exams in the first attempt. Fear was a constant as the exam dates were announced and those fat reference books were still gathering dust on our study tables.

With just a month remaining for the first semester exams to begin, most of the students were already burning the mid-night oil. I knew I had to do something as I was completely blank and had not started my preparations yet. My room mates were in the same situation. I was beginning to wonder if I had made the right decision by selecting engineering as my career option. I had never failed in my life, ever. But engineering exams were scaring me, mocking me as day after day passed without me making any significant breakthrough through my course.

With 20 odd days remaining, I made a call. I made a timetable - a to do list for myself. This was the thing I had done for all my 12 years in school. There were 5 subjects in total and I gave each subject 4 days, it looked impossible to cram so much in so few a days but a start had to be made.

With steely determination and a bit of apprehension I was ready to go. The first few days were difficult as I hardly took my eyes off my books. I managed to take an evening walk daily after my dinner to get some fresh air even with my break-my-back schedule. Nights were hell as it was cold but I did not want to fail, how would I say to my parents that the son in whom they had trusted so much had failed. I slept for only a couple of hours for each of those 20 odd days. I was beginning to feel a bit confident by the time the exams started but I knew that it would be touch and go.

I still remember when I sat down for the first engineering exam, the moment I saw that question paper, a chill ran down my spine, I could feel a bead of sweat form on the back of my neck. The paper was tough beyond my wildest imaginations. But I could not give up at so late a moment. I started writing down whatever I knew, I wrote half answers, drew diagrams as much as I knew. The rest of the exams were no different, I realized by the end of my exams that no one can say with confidence that he or she is fully prepared for these monstrous engineering exams.

The results would be declared after about a month and now there was nothing I could do but wait for those results to be announced on the college notice board. The day finally arrived, the news of the results being displayed spread like wild fire in our hostel. While I made my way towards the college slowly dragging my feet with a silent prayer on my lips, I saw some students returning with a frown on their faces. No words were exchanged as the results were writ large on their faces.

I reached there and glanced through the results, I witnessed a miracle. I had passed all the 5 subjects. Yes, I had not topped any of them but I had not failed. There was a time when I would be disappointed after scoring a 90 during my school days, on that day I had scored 42 and had a big smile on my face. I lingered around the notice board for a long time, most of the students had returned to their rooms long back. Only a few students remained, they had all passed all the subjects in the first attempt like me. We were only 9 who had done that, I remember us all hugging each other like we had scaled the Mt. Everest - actually we had if the circumstances were taken into the account.

The engineering exams always struck fear through the remaining 4 years, but I was more confident about taking them head on, I had pledged to be better prepared from the next time and the moment of triumph came when I scored a distinction in my final year, the joy on my face was priceless.

This post is written as part of the Happy Hours Campaign on Indiblogger. This one is sponsored by Mountain Dew, Rise Above Fear.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Jesse Ryder not picked in New Zealand preliminary WC 30 squad

The joint hosts New Zealand are the latest team to announce their 30 men squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup. There are no major surprises in their team except that the hugely talented but perennialy troubled kid Jesse Ryder was left out.

The 30 man Kiwi squad is given as under:

Batsmen

Martin Guptill, Anton Devcich, Tom Latham, Hamish Rutherford, Rob Nicol, Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson Neil Broom, Dean Brownlie, Colin Munro

Allrounders

Corey Anderson, James Neesham, Daniel Vettori, Colin de Grandhomme, Andrew Ellis, James Franklin, Grant Elliot

Spinners

Roneel Hira, Nathan McCullum

Fast Bowlers

Hamish Bennett, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Matt Henry, Mitchell McClenaghan, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne, Tim Southee

Wicketkeepers

Luke Ronchi, BJ Watling

This is a pretty settled New Zealand side and they look set to make it deep into the World Cup yet again. They seem a little light in the spin bowling department (the old war horse Daniel Vettori is there but he has not played too much in the recent past) but the sheer variety and fire power in their fast bowling cannot be ignored. Not too many sides will fancy their sides against that quality of fast bowling. The batting also seems in safe hands with Brendon Mc Cullum, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson and Corey Anderson there to blast the opposition.

Here is my predicted New Zealand 15 that may make the cut:

Batsmen

Martin Guptill, Anton Devcich, Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson

Allrounders

Corey Anderson, James Neesham, Daniel Vettori

Spinners

Nathan McCullum

Fast Bowlers

Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Mitchell McClenaghan/ Adam Milne, Tim Southee

Wicketkeepers

Luke Ronchi, BJ Watling

Who do you think should make the final 15 of the New Zealand side?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Sri Lanka include uncapped Tharindu Kaushal and Lakshan Sandakan in WC 2015 Probables

The 30 men squads for the World Cup 2015 to be played in Australia and New Zealand are now being announced thick and fast and after India and Pakistan, Sri Lanka are the latest team to do so! The Sri Lankans always do well in the World Cups and this time too their team is formidable in all departments. The stalwarts Mahela and Sangakkara who will be playing their last ODI tournament will be also looking to go out on a high as they did recently while winning the WT20 in Bangladesh.

The 30 man Indian squad is given as under:

Batsmen

Angelo Mathews, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Lahiru Thirimanne, Mahela Jayawardene, Upul Tharanga, Dimuth Karunaratne, Ashan Priyanjan, Kithuruwan Vithanage

Spinners

Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Seekkuge Prasanna, Ajantha Mendis, Sachithra Senanayake, Jeevan Mendis, Ramith Rambukwella, Tharindu Kaushal, Lakshan Sandakan

Fast Bowlers


Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Dhammika Prasad, Shaminda Eranga, Thisara Perera, Farveez Maharoof, Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Gamage

Wicketkeepers

Kumar Sangakkara, Dinesh Chandimal, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera

The return of Malinga and Lakmal will certainly bolster their fast bowling while if Senanayake (who was banned for suspect bowling action) is not cleared then they have exciting young prospects in Tharindu Kaushal and Lakshan Sandakan who can fill his shoes. I certainly do not think that Mendis should be included in the final 15 as his mystery seems to have been decoded by most teams. The only point of contention for the Lankans while selecting their final 15 will probably be the selection of Dinesh Chandimal and I think that he should be included as he is highly talented and has done very well in Australia in the past!

My final 15 Sri Lanka squad would be something like this:

Batsmen

Angelo Mathews, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Lahiru Thirimanne, Mahela Jayawardene, Dinesh Chandimal

Spinners

Rangana Herath, Sachithra Senanayake/ Tharindu Kaushal/ Lakshan Sandakan, Jeevan Mendis

Fast Bowlers

Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Dhammika Prasad, Thisara Perera

Wicketkeepers

Kumar Sangakkara, Kusal Perera

Who will make your team for the final 15? Do share your views with me!!

Ajmal included in Pakistan's 30 man preliminary squad for the Cricket World Cup

After India, Pakistan have announced their 30 man preliminary squad that will soon be trimmed to the final 15. The talismanic off spinner Saeed Ajmal was included in the list but he will be included in the final 15 only if can clear his bowling action, the date for which has yet been given by the PCB.

The 30 man preliminary Pakistan Squad is as under:

Batsmen

Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Nasir Jamshed, Sharjeel Khan, Sami Aslam, Misbah-ul-Haq, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Sohaib Maqsood, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Umar Akmal

Fast Bowlers

Mohammad Irfan, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Umar Gul, Ehsan Adil, Mohammad Talha, Anwar Ali, Sohail Tanvir, Bilawal Bhatti

Spinners

Saeed Ajmal, Zulfiqar Babar, Raza Hasan, Yasir Shah, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi

Wicketkeepers

Sarfraz Ahmed, Kamran Akmal

This is a pretty strong squad provided that all their fast bowlers are fit as Junaid, Irfan and Gul have been suffering from injuries lately. Also if Ajmal is cleared then Pakistan will be ready to mount a serious challenge in Australia-New Zealand on the other teams. With Sarfaraz in fine form this year the wicketkeeping woes that plagued the team for so many years will also be looked into. In any case Umer Akmal can be a stand by for Sarfaraz in case of any injury so there seems to be no real need to pick up Kamran!! The spinner Yasir Shah impressed me during the recent test series against New Zealand and Shahid Afridi is always there as a spinner.

Let us see what the final 15 will look like, mine would be something like this:

Batsmen

Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Nasir Jamshed, Umar Akmal, Misbah-ul-Haq, Younis Khan

Fast Bowlers

Mohammad Irfan, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Umar Gul, Bilawal Bhatti

Spinners

Saeed Ajmal/ Yasir Shah, Raza Hasan, Shahid Afridi

Wicketkeepers

Sarfraz Ahmed

What do you think of the selections? Who would make the final 15 in your opinion? Have your say!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Stalwarts Omitted from the preliminary Indian Squad for the World Cup 2015

The Indian selectors announced the preliminary squad of 30 members for the ICC Cricket World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand from February 2015. Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan were all omitted. Obviously those from outside the 30 can still find a place in the final 15 that will be announced soon but I guess the fact that these players were omitted in the first place leaves that window of opportunity pretty much closed.

The 30 man Indian squad is given as under:

Batsmen

Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, Manoj Tiwary, Manish Pandey, M Vijay

Fast Bowlers

Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, Dhawal Kulkarni, Stuart Binny, Mohit Sharma, Ashok Dinda

Spinners

R Ashwin, Parvez Rasool, Karn Sharma, Amit Mishra, Ravindra Jadeja, Akshar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav

Wicketkeepers

MS Dhoni, Robin Uthappa, Sanju Samson, Wriddhiman Saha

I would say that this is a pretty good squad and that the best players have been chosen based on recent performances. It is not everyday that I praise the Indian selectors but a pat on the back is required for a job well done, they must have been under some pressure to include the stalwarts which were a part of previous World Cup success but they did not give in.

Let us see what the final 15 will look like, mine would be something like this:

Batsmen

Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu

Fast Bowlers

Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron

Spinners

R Ashwin, Akshar Patel

Wicketkeepers

MS Dhoni, Robin Uthappa

What do you think of the selections? Who would make the final 15 in your opinion? Have your say!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

My Dream Vacation Homes with Airbnb!!

I read so much about Airbnb over the last one year while casually surfing the web but never really thought that I would be writing about it one day myself, until I came across a Happy Hour Contest being hosted on Indiblogger when I decided to give this a shot.

Well, let me tell you a little bit about Airbnb first. Founded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco it is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book distinctive accommodations around the world, in more than 34,000 cities and 190+ countries.

Browsing the Airbnb website is a feast for any travel lover, the range of accommodation they provide is unique and really some of them, like staying in a watchtower or a yurt or a castle while vacationing is a dream that many of us have dream't of!!

Without taking any of your further time let me show you my 5 dream vacation homes that I think would make you book them immediately (use my referral link so that you get Rs 1545 off on your booking!!)

My 5 Dream Properties on Airbnb


Staying in a windmill, I mean really this must be so much fun!! Located on the 4th floor of the Windmill, an exclusive building, with superb views over the fields to far-away hills.


How about having a private island all for yourself for a couple of days? If tranquility and serenity is what your heart’s desire, consider staying on Eagle Island. This is a spot that will fill your spirit, soothe your soul, clear your mind, allow your body to let go!


Jack Sparrow House, the name is enough to rouse interest, the design of the house does the rest!! Relax and Unwind on a cabin holiday with all-encompassing sea and countryside views, the cabin lodging offers a snug and unique holiday adventure.


Arabian Nights fan anyone? Then try the original Afghani yurt. It is for for those who want to spend a night differently.
All the photos used in the post have been taken from the Airbnb webiste.

Who has not dream't of living in a castle one day like a king? If you have then this castle is just for you. Built in 1841 as a Victorian gentlemen's folly, this castle is now a real family home with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Set in 15 acres of grounds in a rural setting the castle is best visited with a car. On the edge of the Yorkshire Dales and less than an hour from the center of the Lake District. This is a great place to explore Northern England.

Well all the above Vacation Homes are in my Airbnb Wish List for the most interesting accommodations, though I am sure that there are so many more that are worth a mention!! Do go through the Airbnb website and tell me your dream vacation homes!! And if you book, then do not forget to use my referral link after you sign up and save yourself some cash! - https://www.airbnb.co.in/c/dshah61?s=8

Friday, November 28, 2014

Phil Hughes - Forever 63*

I am not in the right frame of mind to write a long post but the death of Phil Hughes, aged only 25, after being hit by a cricket ball makes me contemplate this whole business called life. How fickle the human life is, how unsure we are of what might happen to us the very next moment, how very vulnerable we all actually are in the face of the ultimate truth staring at all of us, always lurking behind the shadows - death.

Phil was an exceptionally talented batsman, one whose technique was unique to him and I always considered him to be one of the brightest stars that shone on the Australian horizon right now.


picture credit - stuff.co.nz

You will be loved by all regardless of nationality, color or caste,
that smile will be etched in our hearts forever, 
the unfulfilled aspirations in your eyes will always give fuel to our sagging energies!!

RIP Phil Hughes - Forever 63*

Sunday, October 19, 2014

My Diwali Memories

As we all know that Diwali is one of the biggest festivals of India along with Holi. And it is no secret that these festivals are best celebrated with one’s near and dear one’s – with your family, in your own house – the #GharWaliDiwali.

I fondly remember that as a kid in the 1990’s Diwali meant so much to us. The wait for the festival would start as soon as new calendars were brought in the house (December end) – we would quickly turn the leaflets to search for Diwali dates. It was not too difficult to find them either as a whole chunk of dates would be colored in ‘Red’ sometime in October or November. The planning would start right then (yes, 8-9 months in advance!!) – what would we buy, of all the chocolates that we could get our hands on, what gift would our parents give us, where would we travel during the 25 day long school vacations, etc.

With a few weeks left for the festival, my parents would take me out to do some shopping – 2-3 t-shirts and a solitary jeans – which would have to last at least until next Diwali!! The markets would be brimming with people, all happy, smiling faces – most of them buying probably for the first time in months!! My parents would also buy me a large box of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk if I refrained from buying crackers (bribing starts early in India you see!!).

We would then start waiting for the school to shut as the real fun and non-stop games could then begin in earnest! On the last day of school, before it closed for vacations, we would all sing in our school bus until our voices became hoarse and the grin on our faces could tell a story unto themselves!

Morning to evening cricket sessions followed with small breaks for only lunch and some tv in the afternoon. Soon the cousin’s arrived and the fun factor multiplied with us running all around the house enjoying ourselves to the fullest.

On the day of Diwali, we would get up early and wear our new dresses and then visit the temple in the morning. The home would be a concoction of scent’s with the aromatic fragrance of the flowers used to decorate the house to the earthy smell of those earthen diya’s to the sickly sugary aroma of the kheer being prepared by my Grandma in the kitchen! We kid’s would then make a round of the homes in the locality – each one would welcome us with a huge smile accompanied with some sweets and occasionally chocolates!!

The Diwali puja would be held in the evening at our Grandfather’s house where the whole family would gather. Grandfather always insisted that the kid’s should eat first and so we all sat in a neat straight line and would gorge on what was probably the best and most luxurious meal we would have in the whole year!!

The day after Diwali would probably see travelling somewhere for a few days or I would get to visit my maternal Grandmother for a few days where I caught up with my cousins from that side of the family!

All these memories came flooding back as I read the topic on Indiblogger, ‘Diwali – A time for family’! How times changed as I, along with two of my friends attempted a risky maneuver to escape from the hostel campus some 10 years ago so that we could celebrate Diwali at home – Read about that daredevilry here, or how I will come home for a few days next week to celebrate Diwali at my house. The festival of Diwali brings those childhood memories to the fore and it is great to be able to celebrate it at your own house where my mother still pampers me like a kid. Diwali was and will always remain special for the joy it gives, for the smiles it spreads and for the gourmet delights that one can binge on without feeling guilty!!

Always remember that the best Diwali is the Diwali celebrated with your family or #GharWaliDiwali!!
Happy Diwali

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Nostalgia - India Vs Australia, Adelaide 2003

My mind often rewinds back to that day about 11 years back. The year is 2003, month December. It is bitterly cold and I am having a slug-fight as my 1st semester engineering exams are going on. At the very same time, the Indian Cricket team is also undergoing a severe examination of endurance, concentration, physical stamina and mental strength in the middle of a glorious Australian summer Down Under.

I followed the series by waking up at about 4.30 am (talk about cricket fans happily sacrificing sleep) and running to the terrace of my hostel (read walking like zombie's at unearthly hours!!) to listen to the commentary on All India Radio (AIR). My friend Amit would always be by my side as he too was a crazy cricket fan, just like me. Wrapped in jackets and fighting cold winds we would perch ourselves on the hostel parapet and carefully hoist the transistor up at one side near the water pipeline (we had a theory that keeping it near metal bars would result in better reception). We would have a feeling of being in paradise for we would experience heavy fog during the early morning and coupled with the commentary from an Australian tour would only make things better for us. It may sound incredible but in those days our hostel campus did not have a single TV set where we could watch live cricket action. During the college hours my friend would always activate the GPRS on his mobile phone and we would happily follow cricket, on the move and would follow the match by checking the scores on StarSports (I think it was called espnstar.com at that time) by continuously and maniacally refreshing the 'live-commentary' page. If we were lucky enough to get the signal we would catch some commentary by sharing the ear-phone, one each. As we were perennial back-benchers we were never caught.

After India had drawn the first test (which in itself was a rarity and felt almost like a win to us win-depraved-average-die-hard Indian Cricket Fan), we were eagerly looking forward to the battle of the second test. Australia batted first and with Ricky Ponting in imperious form, made an imposing 556. Punter contributed 242 of those. With India at 85/4, a large defeat loomed on the horizon. But we still had hope as the Kolkata-Miracle pair of Dravid and Laxman joined hands. When Laxman finally departed, about 300 runs later, they had performed the miracle once again - this time in Adelaide!!! India had replied with 523.

Australia were bundled out for a meager 196 in the second innings, the highlight being Sachin's twin strikes as Dravid held two marvelous reflex catches at slip to send back Damien Martyn and Aussie captain Steve Waugh. India required 230 to win with about 200 required on the final day, certainly not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination.

That day, with India poised for a famous win against Australia, we had our Applied Science Exam. The fifth morning of the tantalizingly poised match, we were up earlier than usual and quickly settled on the terrace of our hostel as was our routine during match days. We used to have 4-5 days break in between exams and we would slog after match hours to put in about 10 hours of studies and we believed that we had prepared well enough to at least scrape the exam!! Dravid held fort as wickets fell at regular intervals. Amit and I were lamenting the fact that we would not be able to witness what should be a dream-come-true-moment for every Indian cricket fan. We checked the scores until the final bell rang before the exam when we were required to switch off and submit the mobile phone to the invigilator and occupy our allotted seats. India still needed about 50 runs with 6 wickets standing, more importantly, with Dravid and Laxman at the crease!!!

With heavy hearts, we parted with our cell phone and took our respective exam seats. Generally during exam days, I have always perceived the clock as a villain with its hands zooming ahead but that day even they seemed to move rather slowly almost defying the laws of physics. My attention was divided and every passing minute seemed like hours. Finally, about 130 minutes passed by and we had already scribbled quite a bit. I and Amit exchanged a few quick glances and decided that we can wait no longer. Another 5-10 minutes were spent going through the examination paper and checking our scribbled answers. I gazed around me. Most of the students were busy writing, some were lost in their own world as they had nothing to contribute while some tried to sneak passing looks at the paper of the student seated ahead!!! But we had made up our mind. We got up from our seats and handed over the examination paper to the invigilator. Many students shot curious glances in our direction. Its tough enough to complete an engineering paper in the stipulated 180 minutes and we were submitting our papers well before time (And since it was our 1st year, it was a real struggle to come to terms with engineering papers. It is quite a leap when compared to the 12th or the 10th standard board examinations. Hence the surprise and shock of fellow classmates.)!!

Next thing we knew, we were out of the classroom and excitedly fiddling with Amit's mobile phone! Amit switched on the mobile and it slowly flickered to life almost teasing us. Starsports was then duly opened and with a gleam and a hint of a tear in his eyes, Amit let out a loud scream – We Won!! Yes, Mate.. We Won Down Under! The entire hallway resonated with his voice and a few teachers came running out. Returning back to our senses at what he had just done, we ran for our lives and hi-fied each other while jumping in the air! That incident was real fun!! Engineering hostel life, all of 4 years were filled with many incidents which are deeply ingrained in my mind.

I was reminded of this story as BlogAdda, in collaboration with starsports.com has come up with a dream contest for all cricket crazy fans like me where we are required to Share the things that we have done to make sure that we don't miss a shot!

This incident often brings me up to date with the frailties and the single minded dedication of an average Indian Cricket Fan - the lengths that he can traverse to support his team. With meager resources he is willing to put at stake his health, his career and almost everything that he possesses just so that he can derive that joy of watching his team play which may seem insignificant to the world but means the world to him.

Ten years ago we did not have a TV set at our college campus and starsports came to our rescue. Today, the flat that I live in, in my work city does not have a TV set either. But starsports still continues to be my life-saver, after all those years, still providing me with everything that I need this IPL season. The new sleek look of the website provides a soothing experience surfing the various features which include Fastest Scorecard - A scoreboard that delivers faster than anyone else, Zip Clips - Quick videos that capture key match points in real time, Action Recap - Catch up with the match quickly and completely, no matter when you come in, Infographix - Informative snippets with a visual twist, for your entertainment and Deferred Live - FREE video stream of the match with 5 minutes delay.

Though all the features come in handy at various times but the one feature that I am in love with is the Fastest Scorecard! I mean what does a cricket fan need the most when a match is on? The obvious answer is the live score! Like water relieves a person when he is extremely thirsty, the thirst of a cricket fan is satiated only by the live scores!! And the Fastest Scorecard Feature does exactly that plus it's super quick, it's reliable and it's easy to access! Thank you Starsports for making life a little easy for us cricket crazy fans and thanks blogadda for hosting this fabulous contest giving me a chance to reminisce an incident which is close to my heart!!

This post is a part of Cricket just got better! Activity by starsports.com in association with BlogAdda.com.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Top 5 Bowlers to watch out for in the World T20 2014, Bangladesh

My list for top 5 Bowlers to watch out for in the World T20 2014, Bangladesh

Saeed Ajmal

He is the master of the doosra and uses it sparingly. He makes the batsmen dance to his tunes and entangles them in his web. Using the crease well and the angles coupled with his subtle variations make him a deadly bowler. In conditions which aid him slightly, which I guess will be the case, he will be nigh unplayable!

Ajantha Mendis

The mystery spinner; his mystery was supposed to have been cracked a few years ago but continuous to prove a handy bowler. With the number of variations that he possesses I guess the batsmen will never be able to play him comfortably unless he bowls badly himself. Sri Lanka is pitted against England, New Zealand and South Africa in the group stage; all relatively weak players of spin and Mendis will be licking his fingers to bowl at those clueless batsmen!

Sunil Narine

Another mystery spinner, this time from the West Indies!! Quite similar to Mendis in many ways but also quite different, he probably bowls at a much quicker pace than the former. Befuddling and confounding the batsmen with his bag of tricks, he has been a success story in the shorter format.

Dale Steyn

For quite some time he did not do well in the shorter formats of the game as well as he did in the test match arena but recently all that has changed. His pace and disconcerting bounce make him a difficult proposition for the opposing batsmen and the fact that he is used in short one/two over spells means that he gives it his all in those overs.

Lasith Malinga

His awkward action and the low slinging action make it a challenge for any batsman facing him for the first time. But even when you get used to his unusual action his deadly accurate yorker’s make life difficult; it only gets worse when he starts getting the ball to curl in and then swing away from the right handed batsmen and then if you get past all that then a small matter of a barrage of fast and slow bouncers remains to be negotiated!!

Which bowlers will have the most impact in this WT20 according to you and why do you think so? Voice your opinions in the comments section below!!


Read My List of the top 5 Batsmen to Watch Out for in the World T20 2014, Bangladesh

Read the Review of the England and New Zealand Cricket Team for the WT20 2014

Read the Review of the South Africa and Sri Lanka Cricket Team for the WT20 2014

Read the Review of the Australia and India Cricket Team for the WT20 2014

Read the Review of the West Indies and Pakistan Cricket Team for the WT20 2014

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