Saturday, January 31, 2015

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, Team Review - New Zealand

New Zealand Squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Brendon McCullum (capt), Trent Boult, Grant Elliott, Tom Latham, Martin Guptill, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne, Daniel Vettori, Kane Williamson, Corey Anderson, Tim Southee, Luke Ronchi (wk), Ross Taylor

Batting -

Strengths

The New Zealand batting line up is one of the most balanced heading into the World Cup of 2015. They have the swashbuckling Brendon McCullum at the top while also having lower order arsenal in Ross Taylor, Corey Anderson and Luke Ronchi. Kane Williamson is there to provide solidity and he is presently in the form of his life. Martin Guptill and Tom Latham can do significant damage as well if they manage to get in.

Weakness

Collapses are always around the corner when we are talking about Kiwi batting. McCullum, his 2014 achievements notwithstanding, generally struggles for consistency. Ross Taylor, their middle order lynch pin is going through a terrible rut as well. Grant Elliot, selected ahead of an inform Neesham, may prove detrimental to their chances as well.

Rating - 7.5/10

Bowling - 

Strengths

The fast bowling attack of the New Zealanders is second to none. They have Southee and Boult with the new ball and the extreme pace of Milne and McClenaghan to back up. The wily old Daniel Vettori is also back for the black caps to round up spin bowling. The fact that Matt Henry is not in this squad tells us a thing or two about the fast bowling riches that New Zealand possess right now.

Weakness

Trent Boult has done extremely well in Test Matches but is relatively inexperienced in ODI cricket. Milne and McClenaghan are susceptible to frequent injuries and might also leak runs if they are not accurate.

Rating - 8/10

Fielding - 

Strengths

New Zealand are, without an iota of a doubt, the best fielding side in this ICC World Cup 2015. They are like panthers on the prowl, in the 30 yard circle or in the outfield. Guptill, McCullum brothers, Kane Willianson and Anderson will surely save 30-40 runs collectively for their bowlers in every single match.

Weakness

This is a group that becomes better with pressure, so I cannot point any fingers and point out any weakness.

Rating - 9/10

Overall Summary

I believe that this may be the best for the Black Caps to finally win a World Cup. They will play all their matches at home (bar the final) and will be backed by their passionate home crowd. They also have a very well rounded squad which is more then capable of levelling shoulders with any other team taking part!

Rating - 8/10

Given Below are the other Team Reviews that I have done

Australia
Bangladesh
England
India
Pakistan
South Africa
Sri Lanka
West Indies

Thursday, January 29, 2015

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, Team Review - India

India Squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: MS Dhoni (capt & wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Akshar Patel, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Stuart Binny

Batting -

Strengths

India are persisting with Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma as their opening pair in ODI cricket but I feel that Rahane should open with Rohit as Dhawan is out of form. Kohli should return to his strong point, that is number 3 so that he can get maximum number of deliveries to face. Rayudu, Raina and Dhoni can follow Kohli, the trio all good finishers. Two out of Axar Patel/ Ravindra Jadeja/ R Ashwin can occupy slot 7 and 8. The openers must make sure that they do not loose early wickets and lay a strong platform for the likes of Kohli, Raina and Dhoni. Kohli must back his natural instincts and come in at number 3.

Weakness

Rohit is known to start very slowly and if he gets out early then India are often in trouble as he wastes many balls with low score. Kohli and Raina are not in very promising form in the ODI Tri Series in Australia which does not augur well for India. The lower order must also buckle down and try to score as much as possible to give the bowlers a challenging total to defend.

Rating - 7.5/10

Bowling - 

Strengths

Bhuvneshwar Kumar is known to get good swing with the new ball and he must make early inroads. Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav must bowl with pace but they must also tighten up their game and not give away too many loose deliveries which takes the pressure off the opposition. The strength of India is spin and they must stick to it. India should play two out of Axar, Ashwin and Jadeja and must not be scared to open with spin just to take the opposition by surprise.

Weakness

The Indian bowling is their weakest suit and it starts with their fast bowlers, they are prone to leak easy runs and rarely pick up early wickets. The spinners are also not consistent and often blow hot and cold. MSD also has to take a fair share of blame as he is adamant in using part timers a lot which takes the pressure completely off the batsmen and gives them breathing space.

Rating - 6/10

Fielding - 

Strengths

Indian fielding has improved by leaps and bounds since the past few years with the influx of young fielders like Rahane, Kohli, Raina, Jadeja and Rohit making the ground fielding top notch.

Weakness

The Indian catching though still leaves a lot to be desired and it is an important aspect of the game that must be worked on so that they do not land themselves in a hole.

Rating - 7.5/10

Overall Summary

I am very skeptical of the chances that India have this time around given their recent history of being abysmally poor in foreign conditions. Though we do have a slight advantage as we play all our matches in Australia and have been down under for a considerable period of time, thus giving the team ample time to get used to the conditions. it will be a huge tick mark for Dhoni if he can lead India to a victory in consecutive World Cup Finals and he will then probably be regarded as one of the all time great captains by even his critics!

Rating - 7/10

Given Below are the other Team Reviews that I have done

Australia
Bangladesh
England
New Zealand
Pakistan
South Africa
Sri Lanka
West Indies

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, Team Review - England

England Squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Eoin Morgan (capt), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Joe Root, James Taylor, James Tredwell, Chris Woakes

Batting -

Strengths

With Cook no longer a part of the England ODI set-up, this English line up looks pretty solid to me. The dynamic Moeen Ali will have the classy Bell or the explosive Alex Hales for company at the top of the order. Morgan, Buttler, Taylor and Bopara provide plenty of fire power lower down the order as well! They have Joe Root as well who can play according to the situation, defend or attack as the need arises.

Weakness

The squad is pretty inexperienced with only Bell and Bopara having played in a World Cup before. Playing in high pressure games back to back can take its toll on young players who are susceptible to crack.

Rating - 7.5/10

Bowling - 

Strengths

The return of Anderson, Broad and Finn adds sting and venom to the English bowling. If the conditions are ripe then these three will probably make run making as difficult as any other bowling attack. James Tredwell is the steady spin operator who generally keeps it tight during the middle overs.

Weakness

All the three bowlers, Anderson, Broad and Finn are just returning from injuries and bad form, so how they go in the World Cup remains to be seen. Also the back up bowlers in Jordan and Woakes can leak a lot of runs.

Rating - 7.5/10

Fielding - 

Strengths

England are generally a very good fielding side. Though they are not exceptional but they do get the job done rather nicely. Root, Taylor, Morgan, Jordan are all supremely fit and very athletic.

Weakness

The Wicket-Keeping of Jos Buttler might prove to be a weak point as I have seen him drop catches or scupper simple stumping chances often.

Rating - 7.5/10

Overall Summary

England will hope that the dropping of Cook will finally bring them some success in the shorter format of the game. They do have a pretty dynamic squad with no major injury concerns at the moment, so they must be hoping to finally win the ODI Cricket World Cup.

Rating - 7.5/10

Given Below are the other Team Reviews that I have done

Australia
Bangladesh
India
New Zealand
Pakistan
South Africa
Sri Lanka
West Indies

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, Team Review - Bangladesh

Bangladesh Squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque, Soumya Sarkar, Mominul Haque, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Nasir Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Taskin Ahmed, Al-Amin Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Arafat Sunny, Taijul Islam

Batting -

Strengths

The Bangladeshi batting will rely heavily on their trio of stalwarts Tamim, Shakib and Mushfiqur. All three will be expected to carry the bulkload of batting by the Bangladeshi fans. Young batsmen like Anamul, Mominul and Nasir are talented and can be quite useful with the bat as well. They will be required to provide support and be consistent in their run making.

Weakness

Tamim has been out of form for quite some time now and Shakib and Mushfiqur can only do so much alone. The fact that they will be playing on bouncier tracks in New Zealand and Australia can prove tricky for their inexperienced batsmen as well.

Rating - 5.5/10

Bowling - 

Strengths

The bowling attack looks quite well rounded for the Bangladeshi boys this time. They have a nice mix of fast bowlers in Al-Amin Hossain, Taskin Ahmed while the old war horse Mashrafe Mortaza will be there as well. Then they have their slew of slow bowlers led by their talismanic all rounder Shakib Al Hasan and supported by Taijul, Nasir, Sabbir.

Weakness

The fast bowlers are all talented but very raw and inexperienced. Mashrafe Mortaza, their captain and leading fast bowler, is quite prone to injuries. Only time will tell whether the Australian pitches support their army of slow bowlers or will they wilt under pressure.

Rating - 6/10

Fielding - 

Strengths

They are quite a good fielding side and have been making rapid strides in this aspect of the game.

Weakness

They are quite prone to making mistakes when under pressure and have a habit of spilling straightforward chances.

Rating - 7/10

Overall Summary

The good thing for them will be that they are not expected to beat a lot of sides this time around. Hence they can play freely and without undue pressure to perform which proved to be their bane in the World T20 last year in their backyard. They will be hoping to cause a few jitters amongst the stronger teams like England and New Zealand!

Rating - 6/10

Given Below are the other Team Reviews that I have done

Australia
England
India
New Zealand
Pakistan
South Africa
Sri Lanka
West Indies

Saturday, January 24, 2015

ASUS EeeBook X205TA vs ASUS All in one PC ET2040

I presently use a bulky laptop which makes it extremely difficult for me to lug it around when I am going on official tours or when I am travelling in general. And the smart phones can only do so much at one time; it can never replace a laptop. The size of gadgets is becoming smaller with each passing day and companies are launching newer products almost every second month. I still remember how my ex-boss used to narrate tales from his time when the CPU was as big as 4 feet and required almost half an hour to just start!!

I was just surfing the internet to find myself a new smaller, sleeker and shinier laptop which would fulfill all my needs as a cricket blogger. I narrowed down on two choices – The Sleek and Powerful ASUS EeeBook X205TA or the Ultra-Portable and Perpetually connected ASUS All In One PC ET2040

Both of them have some eye catching features which influenced me and I will write them down below so as to make up my mind about these products.

ASUS EeeBook X205TA

  • This is extremely light and does not burn a hole in your pockets but is packed with some eye popping features to woo you.

  • The quad-core, 1.33GHz Atom Z3735F processor inside the X205TA is from Intel's new Bay Trail-T range

  • Unbelievably Compact and Lightweight (weighs just around 980 gms!!)

  • A Sleek Design with Smooth Curves and Rounded Curves

  • Fanless Design so that I can work in complete peace

  • 2 cell battery so that I can work for around 12 hours without any interruptions!

  • A large touchpad which is extra sensitive and is integrated with Smart Gesture Technology

  • Chiclet keyboard for easy typing

  • The front facing speakers deliver the finest sound

All these features caught my eye and made me shortlist this mean machine!

ASUS ALL IN ONE PC ET2040

  • This All in One PC is unbelievably slim and stylish (19.5-inch LED-backlit screen)

  • No fear of losing my work in case of electrical failure as this keeps operating for 1 full hour automatically

  • It features a beautifully-crisp 19.5-inch HD widescreen display with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, with an LED backlight (this is perfect for watching movies and playing games)

  • Comes with Advanced Hand-Gesture Recognition Software (HGRS) that uses the built-in camera to accurately interpret movements. Thus it can play songs or videos, adjust player settings, or zoom and rotate photos — all from a distance, without me ever touching a screen, keyboard or mouse

  • Built-in stereo speakers powered by ASUS SonicMaster technology

  • 3 Superspeed USB 3.0 ports it can recharge my smartphone, tablets or other USB devices up to 50% faster than with USB 2.0, and transfer data between devices up to 10 times faster

The above features are proving to be a big headache in me deciding which one I should opt for. I am thinking to opt for the ASUS EeeBook X205TA given my lifestyle but maybe you can help me decide better!!

This post is written for Indiblogger Happy Hours

Friday, January 23, 2015

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, Team Review - Australia

Australia Squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Michael Clarke (capt), George Bailey (vc), David Warner, Aaron Finch, Shane Watson, Steven Smith, Brad Haddin (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Xavier Doherty

Batting -

Strengths

The Australian Batting looks almost invincible on paper, what with the firepower of Finch, Warner and Watson at the top of the order. Steven Smith has blossomed into one of the most consistent players across the globe and with Maxwell, Haddin, Faulkner, Johnson in the lower order the Aussie batting line up can send a shiver down the spine of any bowling attack in this World Cup.

Weakness

While having dashers in your batting can be advantageous but it can also lead to your downfall as they are regularly prone to a collapse. Clarke is currently injured and there are serious question marks if he will be ready in time to lead the Aussies out on the park. His deputy, George Bailey has not been particularly inspiring confidence with his batting displays of late as well. These two players are the only ones who play with a calm head and if the Australians have to win the Cup then they will require Clarke and Bailey to fire.

Rating - 7.5/10

Bowling - 

Strengths

There is pace and there is fire in the Aussie bowling line up. Johnson, Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins can all breathe fire with their pace, bounce and swing. Mitchell Marsh and James Faulkner provide the variations in pace. Xavier Doherty is the lone spinner in the squad and he will have an important role to play for the Australians.

Weakness

And then there is the story of Being Mitch!! While Johnson and Starc can be ruthless on their day they can also spray the ball around on bad days. Cummins and Hazlewood are relatively new at the top level while Doherty as the lone spinner is very surprising considering they had Lyon who has been a revelation of late in 5 day cricket. There is no bowler there in that line up who can be relied to keep a tight line and length when under the pump.

Rating - 7.5/10

Fielding - 

Strengths

I will tell you what, one glance at that squad and the team seems full of live-wires on the field. Warner, Maxwell, Finch, Marsh, Smith are all agile and the fast bowlers all have terrific throwing arms which will be a huge plus on the big playing fields down under.

Weakness

Frankly, I do not spot any weakness in the fielding department in that squad apart from maybe Clarke, if he is not fully fit but is still selected to play. But if he is fully fit then he too is a class act anywhere in the field.

Rating - 9/10

Overall Summary

The Australians will try to regain their supremacy in ODI cricket and they will have the home support behind them right throughout their campaign. The Kangaroos have the required manpower to lift the trophy and they will be thoroughly motivated come February the 14th when they take on arch rivals England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground!!

Rating - 8/10

Given Below are the other Team Reviews that I have done

Bangladesh
England
India
New Zealand
Pakistan
South Africa
Sri Lanka
West Indies

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Healthy Child makes a Happy Home

Recently I moved to a new city and my neighbors were a young couple (Mr and Mrs Sharma) who had a little girl child aged 3 in their house. Her name was Pihu. She was a cherubic and bubbly child, always laughing, playing with her beloved doll, making erratic movements with the hands whenever happy and seeing her would always refresh me after I returned home all tired and drained from my hectic office schedule. Little kids have that magic effect on us adults, as they are not burdened with the pressures of life. Whenever I was invited to their house for dinner or on my visits on Sundays, little Pihu would always be there playing with her toys happily or just crawling away to the nooks and corners of the big house or pulling things off shelves. The atmosphere would always be lively with Pihu around and she made life as easy for her parents as she was not very demanding or fussy about things.

One day, late at night, I heard loud squeals and cries coming from the Sharma household. I was sure that it was Pihu and my fears were confirmed the next morning when Mr Sharma told me that Pihu was suffering from high fever and had not slept the whole night. There was an eerie silence which had engulfed our floor. The moment the child is down with fever, the whole household and even the surrounding environment starts to feel its repercussions. The usual laughing and joy had disappeared overnight. We took her to a doctor and it was confirmed that she had a viral infection which led to fever and anxiety in the child. The doctor gave some medicines and syrups and suggested to the Sharmas that they should give Pihu Dabur Chyawanprash regularly to boost her frail immunity.

Dabur Chyawanprash is completely natural and has many natural herbs like Amla and Giloy which increase immunity in a completely natural way. Dabur Chyawanprash also has anti-oxidant properties and helps to strengthen our body's internal defense mechanism - the immune system - thereby protecting us from day to day infections such as cough, cold etc. A child’s body may not be strong enough to be able to protect themselves of common environmental day to day infections & allergies, so they are at greater risk of getting ill due to these. In today’s fast life, where pollution, stress and deadlines makes our immunity levels go down and saps away our energies, products like Dabur Chyawanprash are a boon even for adults.

The Sharma family heeded the advice of the doctor and not only Pihu but we all started having Dabur Chyawanprash regularly. Soon she was her old self again and once again the whole floor was bubbling with joy and happiness. She was back to what she did best, playing with her toys, snatching away things or in general just spreading happiness all around herself. It was in those times that I learnt that a healthy child truly makes a happy home.

Do read about Dabur Chyawanprash here - https://www.liveveda.com/dabur-chyawanprash/

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