Rahul Dravid: The silent warrior who guarded t…

Dravid was blessed with supreme will power and tenacity that few could match in the sport.

The sweat was dripping from his forehead. His eyes were focused fiercely on the incoming ball. The head was steady, the weight was transferred onto the front foot, and he met the ball right under his eyes. Rahul Dravid was used to doing this for India for a staggering 16 years. He was the silent warrior, who defiantly guarded the fortress of Indian cricket.

He was used to building an edifice, brick by brick with the concentration of a monk. He did not possess the aura of Tendulkar, nor the wizardry of Laxman. But, he was blessed with supreme will power and tenacity that few could match in Sport.

It is indeed a pity that Dravid played out his entire career under the giant shadow cast by Sachin Tendulkar. Dravid scored a magnificent 153 in an ODI against New Zealand in 1999, but it was forgotten in hindsight because of the euphoria that surrounded the 186* that Tendulkar scored in the same game. He scored 461 runs in the 1999 World Cup, but that too was lost in the outpouring of emotion in favour of Tendulkar, as the master scored a scintillating hundred just days after losing his father.

But more than anything else, Dravid was a man who always put the team before himself. An opener is injured? No problem. Dravid would step up. The team needs a batsman who should also double up as a wicket keeper? Again, Dravid would step up. He would be asked to bat at No. 3 in a match, then at No.6 in the next. Still, he obliged patiently, without even a frown. 

During the course of his illustrious career, he scored 13,288 runs from 164 Test matches at an average of 52.31. His overseas average of 53.03 was higher than his average of 51.36 in more familiar conditions at home, which shows that Dravid was a man who would step up when the going got tough.

His magnificent 233 in Adelaide in 2003 helped India to win a Test match in Australia after more than two decades. His 270 in Rawalpindi paved the way for India to register their first Test series win on Pakistan soil.

Dravid retired from the game in 2012, at the age of 39. Dressed impeccably in a suit and a tie, he gave a small press conference, posed for a few obligatory photographs, and he was gone. No farewell Test, no guard of honor, no victory laps around the ground. He was used to being in the background throughout his career, and he left the game without much fanfare.

Even after his retirement, he has been tirelessly training the next generation of Indian cricketers. Prithvi Shaw, Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer are all products of Dravid’s able guidance as a mentor. One can see Dravid toil under the sun, sweating it out with the next gen Indian hopefuls. This is his way of giving back to the game that has given him so much in life.

Dravid’s career is indeed a wonderful testament that hard work and determination can take a person to great heights in life, that nice guys too, can finish at the top. Rahul Dravid is indeed a role model to be treasured and respected. For, men like Dravid can seldom be found in the world of sports.

5 Indian batsmen with most runs in a single ed…

Sachin Tendulkar has scored over 2000 runs in World Cup cricket Sourav Ganguly of India on his way to a century

The World Cup is the biggest stage in the game of cricket. It is the stage where fables are written, legends are born, and history is made. A cricketer can etch his name in the annals of history and be remembered forever by performing at the cricketing extravaganza.

Indian batsmen, over the years, have enthralled and bewitched cricket lovers across the globe with some ethereal performances at ‘The Grandest Stage of Them All’. Kapil Dev’s stunning 175 will forever be etched in the minds of Indian cricket aficionados. His knock rescued India from a precarious 17/5 and enabled them to get past Zimbabwe.

And, amongst the various gems that Sachin Tendulkar conjured in his unprecedented career, the 98 he scored against arch-rivals Pakistan will go down as one of his best, because it came in a knockout game in the 2003 World Cup. And, MS Dhoni’s magnificent 91* in the 2011 World Cup final will be remembered by Indian fans forever, as it helped the country lift their World Cup after 28 years.

In this article, let us look at five Indian batsmen with the most number of runs in a single edition of the World Cup.

#5.Sourav Ganguly – 465 Runs (2003 World Cup)

Sourav Ganguly of India

In the 2003 World cup, Sourav Ganguly was in scintillating form with the bat. The former Indian Captain amassed 465 runs, including 3 hundreds, at an average of 58.12.

The elegant left-hander scored 112* against minnows Namibia, 107* against Kenya in the Group stage, and another 111* against the same opponent in the semi-final. Ganguly played a crucial role, along with the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, in enabling India to reach the final of the event.

Record: Innings:11, Runs:465, Average:58.12, 100’s:3

#4.Sachin Tendulkar – 482 Runs (2011 World Cup)

Sachin Tendulkar was in sublime form in the 2011 World Cup, scoring 482 runs

Sachin Tendulkar deluded all those who watched him into believing that the passage of time was just an illusion during the 2011 World cup. The ‘Little Master’, playing his 6th World Cup, had withstood the tribulations of international sport for more than two decades but was still in sublime form throughout the tournament.

Tendulkar scored 120 runs against England in the second match of the edition and followed it up with another scintillating century against South Africa. The legendary cricketer also scored a half-century against Australia and followed it up with an 85 against arch-rivals Pakistan in the semi-final of the edition.

In all, Tendulkar scored 482 runs in the tournament, including 2 hundreds and 2 fifties, at an incredible average of 53.55.

Record: Innings:9, Runs:482, Average:53.55, 100’s:2, 50’s:2

#3. Sachin Tendulkar – 523 Runs (1996 World Cup)

Sachin averaged a stunning 87.17 in the 1996 World Cup.

The ‘God Of Cricket’ features in the list for the second time. Sachin Tendulkar was the talisman of the Indian batting line up in the 1996 World Cup that was played in the sub-continent. And, the batsman was in surreal form throughout the competition.

Tendulkar played 7 innings during the competition and amassed 523 runs, including 2 hundreds and 3 fifties at a colossal average of 87.17. The stand out performances from Tendulkar came against the formidable Australians and Sri Lanka at the Feroz Shah Kotla, scoring a blistering 90 and a century respectively.

Record: Innings:7, Runs:523, Average:87.17, 100’s:2, 50’s:3

#2. Rohit Sharma – 648 Runs (2019 World Cup)

Rohit Sharma scored a record 5 hundreds in the 2019 World cup.

Watching Rohit Sharma in full flow is a sight to behold. And, in the 2019 World Cup, ‘The Hitman’ took his batting to a whole new level. Rohit became the first batsman in World Cup history to score 5 hundreds in a single World Cup edition and amassed 648 runs in the tournament at an average of 81.00.

Rohit scored hundreds against South Africa, Pakistan, England, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. However, his heroics with the bat were not enough, as India crashed out in the semi-final stage of the tournament.

Record: Innings:9, Runs:648, Average:81.00, 100’s:5, 50’s:1

#1.Sachin Tendulkar – 673 Runs (2003 World Cup)

Sachin Tendulkar of India runs between the wickets

Sachin Tendulkar’s wizardry with the willow captivated the cricketing world during the 2003 World Cup. The diminutive master scored a stunning 673 runs, including a hundred and 6 fifties, at an average of 61.18, and bagged the ‘Man of the Tournament’ award.

Tendulkar scored 152 against minnows Namibia, 81 against Zimbabwe, 97 against Sri Lanka and 83 against Kenya in the semi-final.

But, his stand out performance at the tournament was the 98 he conjured against arch-rivals Pakistan. In a masterclass that combined ruthless aggression and ethereal splendour, Tendulkar tamed the likes of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar, that allowed India to chase down a tricky target of 274 runs.

Record: Innings:11, Runs:673, Average:61.18, 100’s:1, 50’s:6

So, there you have it. These are the five Indian batsmen who have scored the most number of runs in a single World Cup edition.

 

World Cup 2019: Should Dhoni be blamed for Ind…

Dhoni is one of the greatest finishers in limited overs cricket

One of the best finishers in limited overs cricket, MS Dhoni is one player who has taken up the finishing duties on numerous occasions for India. While fans have often bitten away nails in tension, Dhoni has quite often taken India across the like with zen-like calmness.

Without a shadow of a doubt, Mahendra Singh Dhoni will go down as one of the greatest finishers in limited overs cricket. The ex-Indian skipper’s ability to take the match deep and his ability to back his instincts in crunch situations has won him a legion of fans across the world.

But, on the 10th of July 2019, in the semi-final of the 2019 World Cup against New Zealand, Dhoni slipped. At the age of 38, he sprinted up and down the pitch that converted ones into twos and took the match deep, and along with Ravindra Jadeja, stitched an important partnership that kept India afloat in the chase.

However, India fell short by 18 runs and one main question that popped up right at the end of the encounter was – Should Dhoni be blamed for India’s loss?

Additionally, was it fair to single out a man who stitched together a counter attacking partnership of 116 runs for the 7th wicket along with Ravindra Jadeja?

Here, an analysis calls for numbers to come to the fore. Rohit Sharma was in surreal form throughout the tournament, with the opener amassing five hundreds in eight games. However, on the big day, he fell for a solitary run. Then, skipper Kohli too departed, with just one run to his credit. KL Rahul soon followed, and India were reeling at 6/3.

Things became worse at 24/4, after Karthik scratched around and fell for just 6 runs after consuming 25 balls.

Hardik Pandya scored 32 of 62 balls, at a strike rate of 51.61. When Dhoni came to the middle, the equation was 148 runs required off 19.3 overs. While Jadeja going after the bowling, Dhoni gave him excellent support by holding one end up which handed Jadeja the license to go for the kill.

As the association started to build, India slowly started to find their way back in the chase. New Zealand were slowly starting to feel the heat, and Jadeja and Dhoni were steadily getting India closer to the finish line. In fact, even the staunchest Indian cricket fan would not have thought that India would come this close.

However, against the run of play, Jadeja fell. When he departed, the equation needed was 32 runs off the last 13 balls.

Dhoni started the next over in style, with a fierce square cut that sailed over the head of the cover fieldier for a six . Yet, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar at the other end, Dhoni either had to score a boundary, or take two runs and keep the strike.

In the next ball, Dhoni tucked the ball into the leg side and as he charged back to the striker’s end to collect a second run, Martin Guptill’s bullet throw his the sticks directly as the throw caught the veteran just inches short of his crease.

Unfortunately for Dhoni, that was the end of his knock and as he put his head down and walked away to an applause from those in attendance, discussions started on whether he took it too far in the end.

In order to address that issue, Dhoni’s innings needs to be put in some context. Rishabh Pant scored 32 runs off 56 balls at a strike rate of 57.14. Hardik Pandya scored 32 off 62 balls, at a strike rate of 51.61. Dinesh Karthik had a strike rate of just 24.00, and scored just 6 runs.

Dhoni’s strike rate, on the other hand, was 69.44, the second best after Ravindra Jadeja. Hence, certainly, the question re-arises, are we right in blaming Dhoni for the loss?

Probably not. Here is a man who has given his best for Indian cricket for the last 15 years. Here is a man who is one of the most successful Indian captains ever. This was a match in which no one in the top order fired, and it was Dhoni-Jadeja partnership that brought India back in the game.

Certainly, Dhoni had a big hand to play in bringing India close to getting across the line, but unfortunately, he could not apply the final touches.

NOTE: The views of the writer does not necessarily reflect the views of Sportskeeda.

World Cup 2019: How important is Virat Kohli’s…

Kohli’s contributions with the bat have been extremely pivotal in India remaining unbeaten in the tournament.

One of the best batsman going around in the world, it comes as quite a surprise that Virat Kohli does not feature in the top five run-getters list of the ongoing World Cup 2019. In addition to this, Kohli is yet to notch up a hundred in this tournament.

In four matches thus far, Virat Kohli has scored 244 runs from the four innings at an average of 61.00. At the top of the order, Rohit Sharma has already helped himself to two big hundreds, Shikhar Dhawan dazzled and sparkled his way to a 117 against Australia and yet, Kohli has not yet played an inning of his lofty standards.

Yet, amidst all of this, Kohli’s contributions with the bat have been extremely pivotal in India remaining unbeaten in the tournament so far.

In India’s second World Cup match against Australia, Kohli acted as the fulcrum around who the other batsmen batted as the Indian skipper scored 82 off 77 balls. He held one end up and churned the one and twos, while the other batsmen spanked the Australian bowling to all parts, that saw India post a mammoth 352/5.

In the marquee clash against Pakistan, after the openers gave India a rousing start, Kohli again scored a sedate 77 off 65 balls, laying anchor in the middle overs that propelled India to a total of 336. While Rohit Sharma scored a blistering 140, Kohli forged crucial partnerships with Sharma and Hardik Pandya in the middle overs.

Against Afghanistan, on a pitch that was crumbling and posing a lot of questions to the batsmen of both sides, the Indian batsmen looked slightly uncomfortable. Kohli, though, scored a fluent 67 off 63 balls, and his knock proved to be the difference between the two sides in a low scoring affair.

As India look to continue their unbeaten run in this tournament, Virat Kohli’s form will play an imperative role in ensuring that the Indian inning does not fall apart. With some strong bowling attacks in the form of England’s and West Indies’ pacers set to come up against India, Kohli will undoubtedly play a key role in stitching an important knock.

More importantly, Kohli will be keen on leading India to a World Cup triumph and with the Indian skipper in some top form in recent times, his proficiency with the bat in hand could have a major outcome on how India fare in the end.

World Cup 2019: Why Rohit Sharma is extremely …

Rohit Sharma possesses the ability to turn a match on its head.

He just caresses the cricket ball with poise and elegance, and transfers the weight on either foot with ease. Batting seems so fluid and easy when he is at his best.

Rohit Sharma has been bestowed with supreme talent, and he oozes class on the cricket field. In the last five years, Rohit has emerged as one of India’s biggest match winners, along with the legendary Virat Kohli. Since he has been promoted to the opener’s slot, Rohit has shown the world what he is capable of.

In the 121 innings that he has opened for India, ‘The HitMan’, has plundered 6043 runs at an average of 56.48, with an impressive strike rate of 91.51. He has also scored 20 hundreds opening the innings for India, and has provided several flying starts to the team at the top of the order.

Moreover, the Rohit Sharma-Shikhar Dhawan duo has emerged as the second most successful Indian opening pair ever in ODIs, behind only the legendary duo of Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly. In the 101 innings that these two have opened the batting together, they have scored 4541 runs at an average of 45.41, with as many as 15 century partnerships between them.

Dhawan’s audacious stroke play, combined with the class of Rohit, make them the greatest opening pair of the modern era.

Rohit is just 32 years old, and has already scored over 8000 runs in ODIs. He is the only batsman in history to smash three double hundreds in ODI cricket, a feat that may never be replicated. If his fitness holds, Rohit can play for another 5 years. And if he can continue in the same vein, he can smash several records by the time he walks into the sunset.

As India gear up for World Cup 2019, Rohit will be an extremely vital cog of the batting set up. A lot will depend on the starts that he and Dhawan provide at the top of the order. If Rohit can get his eye in, he can turn out to be an absolute nightmare for the bowlers.

India have heavily relied on the contribution of their top 3 in the last couple of years, and this World Cup will be no different. Rohit is as important to the Indian batting lineup as Kohli is. That’s because Rohit has the ability to turn a match on its head, and possesses the rare gift of clearing the ropes with effortless grace.

A lot will depend on Rohit’s form if India are to last the distance and lift the coveted World Cup trophy for the third time. Time will tell whether he delivers.

World Cup 2019: How Dhoni’s century against Ba…

MS Dhoni

The year was 2016. India had just lost the ICC World T20 Semifinal against the West Indies, and an Australian journalist had asked a then 34-year-old Dhoni whether he was done with his limited overs career. Dhoni gave a tongue-in-cheek reply, stating that he was keen to carry on till the World Cup 2019.

It had seemed a very tough ask then. But three years later here we are, with Dhoni, now 37, still fighting it out for his country – and on the cusp of playing his fourth and last World Cup.

In the warm-up game against Bangladesh, the batting legend rolled back the years and bludgeoned 113 runs from just 78 balls, including 7 sixes, sounding a warning bell to all the other teams. It was the Dhoni of old, a Dhoni who was carefree, a Dhoni who was seeking to dominate.

The legendary batsman was in blistering form in the 2019 IPL as well, smashing 416 runs at an ethereal average of 83.20 and a strike rate of 134.62. At the age of 37, he looks hungrier than ever.

So how does Dhoni’s hundred in the warm-up game affect India’s chances in the World Cup?

Indian skipper Virat Kohli has time and again voiced his concern about the team being too heavily reliant on the top three, and the need for the middle order to step up. And that is exactly what happened in the warm up games.

In the first match against New Zealand, India were staring at humiliation before Ravindra Jadeja scored a sedate half century and lent respectability to the total. In the second game too the middle order was exposed early, but KL Rahul and Dhoni rose to the occasion and plundered the Bangladeshi bowling attack to all corners of the ground.

While Rahul has all but sealed the No. 4 slot, Dhoni has shown the world that he is still a game changer, that he still has the firepower to go the distance. And an in-form Dhoni at No. 5 is the best possible thing that India could have asked for.

If wickets fall early, Dhoni can come in and steady the ship, and act as the fulcrum around which the batting can revolve. He can afford to get his eye in, and then unleash a brutal assault on the bowlers in the final 10 overs. Alternatively, if the top order gives the team a flying start, Rahul can take over the quick-scoring responsibility with Dhoni playing a supporting role.

Great players have the tendency of stepping up when the going gets tough and the stage gets bigger. The signs are that Dhoni is set to do the same; India will be hoping that their iconic cricketer can keep showing his form from the warm-up game over the next month and a half.

This hundred against Bangladesh would have given Dhoni the belief that he can continue to weave his magic with the bat, and propel India to their third World Cup title.

Cricket World Cup History: 5 batsmen with the …

Sachin Tendulkar

The ICC Cricket World Cup is the grandest stage of them all as far as the sport is concerned. It is performances at this stage that enhance a cricketer’s legend and add to his aura.

Over the 11 editions of the World Cup, several great cricketers have enshrined their place in the annals of history with their ethereal performances at cricket’s showpiece event.

Indians all over the world will remember Kapil Dev’s 175 more than any other knock of his, because that knock saved India from a precarious 17/5 and helped them register a crucial win in the 1983 World Cup against Zimbabwe.

Among the various gems that Sachin Tendulkar conjured in his glittering career, his 98 against arch rivals Pakistan sits right at the top, because it came at cricket’s marquee event, in the 2003 edition.

Adam Gilchrist’s 149 in the 2007 edition propelled Australia to their third consecutive World Cup trophy. This knock of his will sit as the crown jewel, because it came in the final of the 2007 World Cup.

In this article, let us look at five batsman who have the most 50-plus scores in World Cup history.

Note: Even though Herschelle Gibbs, Ab De Villiers and Jacques Kallis have 10 scores of 50 or more each, only Gibbs and De Villiers make the cut because they achieved the mark in fewer innings.

#5 Herschelle Gibbs: 10 scores Of 50+

Gibbs is the only batsman to smash 6 sixes in an over in World Cup cricket

At 5th place is South African batsman Herschelle Gibbs. Gibbs played 23 innings for South Africa across 3 editions of the World Cup, and scored 1067 runs at an average of 56.15. The dashing right-handed batsman also scored 2 hundreds and 8 fifties, thus taking his tally to 10 scores of 50 or more.

Gibbs will forever be remembered for the 6 sixes he smashed in an over against the Netherlands in the 2007 edition of the World Cup.

RECORD

Innings:23; Runs:1067; Average: 56.15; 100s:2; 50s:8

#4 Ab de Villiers: 10 scores of 50+

De Villiers is one of the greatest batsmen produced by South Africa

Ab de Villiers will go down as the greatest batsman produced by South Africa in limited overs cricket. The legend played 22 innings for South Africa across 3 editions of the World Cup and scored 1207 runs at a terrific average of 63.52.

De Villiers’ ability to read the length in a flash, and to play audacious strokes out of nowhere, made him a true-blue match-winner for South Africa. He scored 4 hundreds and 6 fifties, thus taking his tally to 10 scores of 50 or more in World Cup cricket.

RECORD

Innings: 22; Runs: 1207; Average: 63.52; 100s: 4; 50s: 6

#3 Ricky Ponting: 11 scores of 50+

Ponting is the second highest run scorer in World Cup cricket

Ricky Ponting is widely regarded as the greatest batsman produced by Australia in World Cup cricket. The 3-time World Cup winner played 42 innings for Australia across 5 editions of the World Cup, and scored 1743 runs at an average of 45.86.

He also scored 5 hundreds and 6 fifties, talking his tally 50+ scores in World Cup cricket to 11.

Ponting will forever be remembered for the 140* he plundered against India in the final of the 2003 World Cup. He is also the second highest run scorer in the history of World Cup cricket.

RECORD

Innings: 42; Runs: 1743; Average: 45.86; 100s: 5; 50s:6

#2 Kumar Sangakkara: 12 scores of 50+

Watching Sangakkara bat was like watching a stream in full flow

At the No. 2 spot comes Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara. Watching Sangakkara bat was like watching a stream in full flow; his pristine cover drives through the off side and his delectable flicks past mid-wicket were an absolute treat for the eyes.

Sangakkara played 35 innings for Sri Lanka in World Cup cricket, and scored 1532 runs at an average of 56.74, including 5 hundreds and 7 fifties.

Sangakkara smashed 4 hundreds in the 2015 edition of the World Cup, and is the only batsman till date to score 4 hundreds in a single edition.

RECORD

Innings: 35; Runs: 1532; Average: 56.74; 100s: 5; 50s: 7

#1 Sachin Tendulkar: 21 scores of 50+

Tendulkar is the most complete batsman that the game of cricket has ever seen

Sachin Tendulkar is hailed as the most complete batsman that the game of cricket has ever seen, and no list of batting records can be complete without his name featuring in it.

The master batsman played 44 innings for India across 6 editions of the World Cup, and scored a colossal 2278 runs at an average of 56.95, including 6 hundreds and 15 fifties. That takes his tally of 50 or more in World Cup cricket to 21.

Tendulkar is the only batsman to have scored over 2000 runs in World Cup cricket, and has scored the most fifties as well as the most hundreds at the marquee event.

He also holds the record of scoring the most number of runs in a single World Cup edition, having racked up a whopping 673 runs during the 2003 edition of the World Cup.

RECORD

Innings: 44; Runs: 2278; Average: 56.95; 100s: 6; 50s: 15