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

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