Opinion: England and the problem of having sho…

Eoin Morgan is the first player to play 200 ODI’s for England.

(Note: The views are author’s own and do not reflect Sportskeeda’s stand on the same)

Eoin Morgan has become the first player to don 200 ODI caps for England while leading his side in the first match of the 2019 World Cup against South Africa. The three-time finalists have a great chance of going the distance and clinching the coveted trophy looking at their recent form and home advantage.

One pertinent thought that the cricketing fraternity needs to deal with is why do the English cricketers have a short cricketing career?

From the time England played its inaugural test match in 1887 against Australia, only a handful have had an international career spanning more than a decade. Same is the story in ODI’s as well. Out of 254 ODI caps, spanning across 47 years, only one player (Eoin Morgan) has managed to play 200 ODI’s.

Out of its current active cricketers, only James Anderson is having a career of more than 15 years.

There are two main reasons as to why the Englishmen do not pursue long careers.

The first being the selection of players. The predominant culture of Englishmen is ‘make or break’. Once a player dips in form or the selectors do not see any utility in him, they ruthlessly drop the player without any hesitation. They neither have any sympathy nor do they consider a player’s past track record by giving a second chance to him.

Several players who had the potential of having long careers, but ended up being a victim to this are Paul Collingwood, Steven Finn (won the ICC emerging player award), Samit Patel, Tim Bresnan and many more.

Jonathan Trott

The second reason for them to have short careers is because they wish to protect their identity and self-esteem. They do not want to end their careers by being dropped from the team. They always wish to leave on their own terms.

Several English players have admitted going into a state of depression after a string of poor performance. Some of the players who have fallen victim to this include Marcus Trescothick, Micheal Yardy, Andrew Flintoff, Steve Harmison, and Jonathan Trott.

Let us take the case of Jonathan Trott. After having been inducted into the England team in the final Test of the Ashes in 2009, Trott tasted immediate success after a memorable debut century and helping England in regaining the Ashes.

He continued his impeccable form with the bat by scoring over a thousand runs in Tests and ODI’s and averaging over fifty in both of them. Because of this stupendous achievement, he won the ICC cricketer of the year in 2011. He continued his form in the World Cup and was the tournament’s fourth highest run-getter.

But sadly, his joyride with the willow came to an abrupt end in 2013. It was the Ashes Down Under and there were high expectations for him to perform. What transpired in that series was a sorry state of affairs. Trott struggled to score runs. He faced a truckload of bouncers and short balls from Mitchell Johnson which only added to the sorry state of affairs.

At the end after a 5-0 drubbing, the English media criticized the players and their role in the team. Unable to withstand the mounting pressure and expectations, Trott shockingly announced his retirement from all forms of cricket with immediate effect.

Trott was left shattered and could not find anyone for solace. He was left in deep pain and anguish. Truly, his career was cut short due to the pressure from the media. Had the English cricket intervened and spoke to him with clarity, the whole episode could have been handled better.

Graeme Swann and Alastair Cook.

Some more examples would be of Graeme Swann and Alastair Cook. Swann retired mid-way in Ashes after having failed to pick up a wicket in the Sydney test.

While there were talks about as to whether Alaister Cook would break the record of the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, he shocked the cricketing world by retiring after the Test series against India. He was just 33 then. Though he ended his career on a high by scoring a scintillating 147 in his final Test, many believed that there was much more gas left in his tank.

These small errors with respect to the selection have crept up by and large and as a result, England wasn’t able to build a solid core team for the World Cup over the years.

The only positive thing now is the current form England and the welcome return of Joe Denly into the team after a gap close to a decade. Though he may have missed out on a place in the World Cup squad, the selectors have done enough to give him a look in.

England would be hoping to continue playing its aggressive brand of cricket and lift the coveted trophy at their homeland.

Cricket World Cup History: The last time South…

It was celebration time for England as they managed to beat South Africa by just 6 runs

With just a few hours left for the commencement of the ICC World Cup 2019, cricket’s greatest extravaganza, there’s a lot of buzz among fans all around the world. The Proteas would be locking horns against the in-form hosts England at the Kennington Oval, London in the first match of the tournament.

The round-robin format promises to be challenging for the teams as they need to manage their workload and keep up their fitness levels.

Both England and South Africa would be desperate to start their World Cup campaign on a positive note. England have managed to reach the final three times in the past, but failed to cross the final hurdle on all three occasions. The South Africans on the other hand are generally known to wilt under pressure situations, thereby earning the infamous ‘chokers’ tag.

The last time these two teams met in the World Cup was eight years ago, in the 2011 edition. It was a nail-biting contest where England managed to hold their nerve and beat South Africa by a small margin of 6 runs.

England won the toss and elected to bat first in the hot and humid conditions at Chennai. However, the South African spinners Robin Peterson and Imran Tahir rocked the English batsmen and put them in early trouble at 15/3. Captain Andrew Strauss fell for a third-ball duck and the experienced Kevin Pietersen too lasted just three balls.

The revival act came from Jonathan Trott and Ravi Bopara. They both scored patient half centuries and brought the innings back on track. The two added 99 runs for the fourth wicket, but against the run of play, Trott was dismissed by Tahir for a 94-ball 52.

Once Bopara was dismissed for a well made 60, it was only a matter of time before the English tail was cleaned up. Tahir and Peterson accounted for seven wickets between them, and England eventually folded for a below par 171.

In reply, South Africa had a great start from the duo of Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla. The two added 63 for the first wicket before Smith was dismissed for 22.

With just over 100 runs required, nine wickets in hand and plenty of overs left, it was surely South Africa’s game. But that wasn’t to be.

Being introduced as the fifth bowler, Stuart Broad bowled his heart out and tormented the South African batsmen. He took the prized scalps of Amla and Jacques Kallis in quick succession and put tremendous pressure on the middle order. The boundaries dried up and singles were hard to come by.

The pressure created by the English bowlers reaped rich rewards, as three wickets – of AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy – fell at the score of 124. England now sensed an opportunity to cash in, and they did not fail.

Their bowlers polished off the tail and they clinched the match by just six runs. The star of the show was Broad, who picked up 6/15 in 6.4 overs.

South Africa had once again failed to seize an opportunity to close out the game from a winning position.

In the 2019 edition, South Africa are going to play three matches in the space of just seven days. They would be hoping to put their past memories behind and look to make a fresh start.

World Cup History: 3 players who have won the …

Shane Warne was instrumental in Australia’s successful world cup campaign in 1999.

With just a couple of days left for the commencement of the grand cricketing extravaganza, there is certainly a lot of buzz and excitement among fans from all around the world. With the introduction of the round-robin format, there is certainly an equal chance for all the teams to prove its mettle and stake their claim at the coveted trophy.

The players are certainly the epicenter of the World Cup. They need to train hard, get acclimatized to the English conditions, keep up their fitness levels and manage their diet and workload. Once they are out in the middle, they should be able to withstand the mental pressure and get adjusted to the match situation.

After all, if a player is able to churn up remarkable performances in a World Cup, he is definitely creating a legacy to be carried forward by his teammates.

There are certain players who bring out their best when challenges are thrown at them. They have the ability to soak in the pressure and deliver match-winning performances.

This article talks about three such cricketers who withstood the pressure and won the Man of the Match awards in both the semi-finals and final of the same World Cup.

#1 Mohinder Amarnath – India (1983)

Mohinder Amarnath’s all-around brilliance with both bat and ball helped India register its maiden world cup triumph.

Team India punched above its weight and defeated the mighty West Indies in the 1983 World Cup at Lord’s. This victory was certainly a watershed movement in the history of Indian cricket. While all the talks were about Kapil Dev’s epic 175 against Zimbabwe or Kris Srikanth’s highest score in the final, one should not forget the individual brilliance showed by Mohinder Amarnath in two of the most important games.

India took on hosts England in the semi-finals, and many believed that the hosts were certainly the favourites to qualify for the final. But Amarnath’s miserly spell of 2/27 in his 12 overs put the breaks in England’s scoring. Chasing 214 for victory, Amarnath brilliantly anchored the chase, scoring a patient 46. The all-around performance from him deservedly earned him the man-of-the-award.

In the final, India was taking on two-time champions West Indies. Batting first, India lost the wicket of Sunil Gavaskar very early. Soon Amarnath joined hands with Srikanth and started the repair act. Amarnath departed after making a solid 26 and the score was 90. However, the rest of the Indian batsmen couldn’t consolidate, and the Indians folded up for a paltry score of 183.

Once the dangerous Vivian Richards was dismissed, Amarnath picked three crucial wickets including that of the last man Michael Holding and helped India register its maiden World Cup victory.

#2 Aravinda de Silva – Sri Lanka (1996)

Aravinda de Silva has redefined the way ODI cricket is to be played.

The seventh edition in 1996 was jointly hosted by three countries – India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. India was locking horns against Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens, Kolkata. India had all its bases covered and looked a far more superior side on paper. India won the toss and elected to field first.

Their decision was vindicated as Sri Lanka was jolted early and the score read ½. Aravinda de Silva walked in at number four and counter-attacked from the word go. He used his feet brilliantly against the spinners and was very strong on his back foot against pacers. His impeccable 47-ball 66 gave a perfect impetus to the Sri Lankan total.

Chasing 252 for a place in the final, the Indians were in a disastrous position at 120/8. The match had to be called off due to the violent behavior of the crowd and Sri Lanka advanced to its maiden final of the World Cup. Though the match was remembered for all the wrong reasons, one shouldn’t forget de Silva’s heroics with bat.

de Silva with his aggressive and audacious strokeplay had redefined the way ODI cricket was played.

He held his nerve and accounted for three Australian wickets in the final. Chasing 242 for victory against the in-form Aussies, Sri Lanka were again rocked early as both the openers were dismissed cheaply.

De Silva again continued his rich vein of form and staged two brilliant partnerships with Asanka Gurusinge (125) and captain Arjuna Ranatunga (93). He stayed there till the end and scored a scintillating 107*.

De Silva’s brilliant performance with both bat and ball earned him the man-of-the-match-award. That victory had certainly enhanced Sri Lanka’s tryst with ICC competitions.

#3 Shane Warne – Australia (1999)

Shane Warne.

After Aravinda de Silva, the same feat was again repeated in the next edition itself and this time it came from the legendary spinner, Shane Warne. On a cold afternoon at Birmingham, the invincible Australians were taking on the mighty Proteas in the semi-finals. South Africa won the toss and elected to field.

The pace battery of Shaun Pollock, Allan Donald, Jaques Kallis, and Steve Elworthy strangled the Australians and held them to a below-par total of 213. In reply, South Africans were comfortably placed at 48/0 at the end of 12 overs.

But, their downfall began to start with the entry of Shane Warne. Warne ripped through the South African batting line-up and picked up four wickets for just 29 runs. However, Lance Klusner took the attack to the opposition and brought the equation down to nine off the last over.

After striking boundaries off the first two deliveries, Klusner lost his head and engaged in a suicidal run out with last man Alan Donald. The match ended in a dramatic tie and Australia advanced to the final because of its superior net run rate over South Africa in the Super 6 stage of the competition. Warne was adjudged the Man of the Match in this see-saw contest and the South Africans were left for soul-searching.

Warne again crafted his magic with the ball in the finals against dangerous Pakistan. He bowled tightly in the middle overs and once again picked up four wickets. Pakistan folded for meagre 132 and Australians made short work of the chase, finishing in just 20 overs. Warne was once again declared Man of the Match.

3 Players who need to perform in the World Cup…

Dinesh Karthik.

The 12th edition of the World Cup is all set to commence on the 30th of May. The round-robin format where each team gets nine matches to play gives a fair chance to all the sides to have a shot at the coveted trophy. According to experts, the three strong contenders to lift the trophy are hosts England, India and Australia.

South Africa and New Zealand are certainly are dark horses of this competition while the likes of Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and the West Indies can effect few upsets and hinder the progress of other teams.

All the teams have indeed put in the hard effort, and the squad of 15 players for each side was declared considering the ideal team combination. Each player would be keen on showing his prowess for this showpiece event.

This article talks about three such cricketers, whose below par performance in the World Cup might result in their ODI careers coming to a close.

#1 Nathan Lyon (Australia)

Nathan Lyon.

Australian spinner Nathan Lyon is considered to be a specialist bowler in Test cricket. But in the fifty over format, Nathan Lyon has had a start-stop career. After having made his debut in 2012, Lyon has just managed to play just 25 ODIs.

After being roped into the team this year, Lyon has performed well in both the ODI series against India and Pakistan. This year, he has played 10 matches and picked up 8 wickets at an economy rate of 4.91.

Australia would be heavily reliant on Nathan Lyon, especially in the middle overs in order to provide crucial breakthroughs to the team.

#2 Hashim Amla (South Africa)

Hashim Amla

Hashim Amla has been the bedrock of the South African batting line up for close to a decade. But in 2018, the 36-year-old had been patchy with the bat. He scored just 315 runs in 11 matches at a poor average of 28.64 and the highest score being 71.

It is truly a rarity that a batsman like Hashim Amla who has scored heaps of runs in different conditions and, against varied bowling attacks, would find himself in a spot to bother about his place in the team.

He would be keen on making amends for his dismal performance in 2018 by playing a few match-winning knocks in the World Cup. If he fails to make a significant contribution then, there are a lot of promising batsmen such as Aiden Markram, Reeza Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen who are ready to cement their place in the team at his expense.

#3 Dinesh Karthik (India)

It is a make or break World Cup for Dinesh Karthik.

Dinesh Karthik who has been performing well as a finisher in T20s has earned himself a place in the team because of his vast experience. In a career spanning close to fifteen years, Karthik has managed to don the Indian colors for just 91 times. For a large part of his career, Karthik has been shadowed by the legendary Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

After his heroics with the bat in the Nidahas Trophy final, Karthik earned a long-awaited call-up into the ODI team. He batted at the crucial number 4 spot

But his joy was short lived as selectors drafted in other players such as Ambati Rayudu and Rishabh Pant into the team. Since they failed to cash in on their opportunities, he got another lifeline and earned himself a place in the World Cup squad.

Though he is included as a reserve wicketkeeper, Karthik could be handy with the bat. However, his record in ODIs in England is not impressive, with him averaging just 22.14 in 13 matches.

The World Cup is the final opportunity for Karthik to prove his mettle that he is the man for big occasions. Otherwise, there is a high possibility that it will be curtains down for DK as the young and exciting Rishabh Pant is waiting in the wings.

CWC 2019: 3 records set in CWC 2015 that might…

Ten teams will battle it out for this coveted trophy, making and breaking records in the process.

With just about a fortnight left for the commencement of the ICC Cricket World Cup, cricketing fans from all over the world would be flocking their way into England. The World Cup is certainly the grandest stage for every player to showcase his talent. With each team certainly getting an opportunity to play 9 matches, there are high chances that a lot of records could be broken.

Here we look at three major world cup records that were set in the previous edition, likely might be broken in this edition.

#3) Highest individual score (Martin Guptill, 237*)

Martin Guptill’s 237 flattens the West Indies in the quarterfinals of the ICC world cup.

Scoring a double hundred has come down from a rare feat to a common sight in modern day ODI cricket. Right from the time the first double century was notched up by the great Sachin Tendulkar in 2009, there have 7 been seven other instances of scores in excess of 200.

The 11th edition of the world cup saw two double hundreds being scored. The first one was scored by Chris Gayle (215) against Zimbabwe and a few days later Martin Guptill smashed an ethereal 237* against West Indies in the quarterfinals.

With the pitches in England likely to remain flat and batting friendly, it would not be surprising that anyone surpassing that record and making it big.

#2) Most Hundreds in a single edition (Kumar Sangakkara, 4)

Kumar Sangakkara.

The legendary Sri Lankan batsman was in prolific form in the 2015 world cup. Out of 7 matches, Kumar Sangakkara scored an astounding 541 runs at a mind-boggling average of 108.20, including 4 magnificent centuries.

Given the long nature of the tournament and the current form of the batsmen, it might not be beyond reach for any of the batting maestros to break this record.

After all, records are nowadays being broken at breakneck speed.

#3) Highest team score (Australia, 417)

Australian batting has been known to make big totals

Australia’s 417/7 against Afghanistan in the previous edition is the highest team total in a world cup. But this record is likely to be eclipsed because of shorter boundaries and powerful modern day batsmen.

Moreover, with the change in power play rules where only the last 10 overs of the innings has 5 fielders outside the 30-yard circle, it has become easier for batsmen to score freely in the middle overs.

In fact, England has the top 2 highest team total and it had achieved them quite recently. The 444 against Pakistan in 2016 and the mammoth 481 against Australia last year clearly tells us that scoring in excess of 400 is not a herculean task and that too in a place like England.

It would be interesting to see if these three batting records are broken in this edition of the world cup.

Follow Sportskeeda for all the updates on World Cup 2019 schedule, news, points table, live scores, most runs, most wickets and fantasy tips.

An open letter to Suresh Raina from an MS Dhon…

MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina. (Image Courtesy: BCCI/iplt20.com)

Dearest Suresh Raina,

A dropped catch, a scratchy 14-ball 8 and a wasteful DRS review – these are your contributions during the IPL 2019 final for which you are being criticized right now. But little do the trolls realize that you are the bedrock of the CSK batting lineup.

You have toiled hard for the team over the past 10 seasons, and the enthusiasm that you have shown on the field has bewitched us time and again.

In my opinion the only mistake, and this was out of your control, is that you played in a team that was led by the ‘Midas man’ Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The Dhoni whom the Chennaiites adore and worship, the Dhoni who enthralls the crowd with his resplendent finishing touches, the Dhoni who makes other important contributions disappear into oblivion and most importantly the Dhoni who makes the crowd gape in awe and forget that there are 21 other players playing the game.

When the entire ‘Whistle Podu Army’ is craving for a Mahi show, you are there, being a silent warrior and always striving to give your best to the team. It is the sheer confidence and self-belief you possess, that make you scale great heights for Chennai.

While the world is captivated by Dhoni’s performance with the willow, for you it is all about hard work and dedication. For you, success and fame did not come instantly like it did for Dhoni.

But when I associate you and Dhoni together, a rash of memories come to my mind. There are several happy imprints that you and Dhoni have left behind for the ardent fans to savor.

Let us rewind and go back to the finals in the year 2010. You were taking on Mumbai in their own backyard, and there was a mountain of expectations on you to perform. You did not disappoint.

When the team was in a spot of bother at 67/3 in the 12th over, you and Dhoni took on the Mumbai bowlers and stitched together a partnership of 72 runs. You stayed there till the end, making a vital 57 off 35 deliveries.

That stupendous effort helped CSK register its maiden IPL triumph. And most memorably, when you and Dhoni were out in the middle, it was an absolute nightmare for the bowlers.

The formidable combination that you created with Dhoni yielded fruitful results in international cricket too. You two have an average partnership of more than 60, which is quite incredible for a middle order batting pair.

When you eventually lost your place in the Indian team, you knew that IPL was the only platform where you could showcase your prowess. And you did not let down the fans. You have scored over 400 runs in almost every season for CSK; that is a record to be extremely proud of.

Batting at one down even in a T20 game isn’t easy. You need to be ready from Ball 1. If the openers fail to get a good start or chew up a lot of deliveries, the pressure is on you to bail the team out.

The pressure of keeping the scoreboard ticking and at the same time protecting one’s wicket mostly goes to the one-down batsman. But season after season you have proved your mettle and played several match-winning knocks for the team.

One bad season and the world starts to turn against you. No matter what they say though, I have complete faith that Dhoni and the CSK think tank will definitely retain you for the next season. If Dhoni is the adopted son of Chennai, you are a quintessential team man and an ultimate Super King.

At this moment, I hope you just relax and enjoy India’s journey in the World Cup. Please do not pressurize yourself.

Wishing you the best of luck in the coming future,

An ardent Dhoni fan.

IPL 2019 Finals: One tactical move that Chenna…

Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been in fine form for CSK this season.

Another year, another IPL, but the same old story. Chennai Super Kings have progressed to the final for a record eighth time. The meme which went viral on social media a long time ago stating that ‘IPL is a tournament where seven teams battle it out to play CSK in the finals’ has definitely taken its shape. Reaching eight finals in a span of just ten years tells us something remarkable about this team. However, they are up against a strong and upbeat Mumbai Indians.

Mumbai and Chennai have faced off thrice this season and on all the matches it was MI who prevailed over CSK. They have also squared off three times in the finals and Mumbai have edged past Chennai on two of the three occasions.

One persistent problem that Chennai has encountered throughout the 2019 IPL season is the lack of runs from the top order. Barring the game against Delhi Capitals in Qualifier 2, Chennai Super Kings have a dismal average opening stand of just 18. The early departure of openers puts tremendous pressure in the middle order.

One batsman who has struggled for runs this season is Ambati Rayudu. Out of 16 innings this season, he has managed to score just 281 runs at a below-par strike rate of 93.97. He has struggled to keep the scoreboard ticking and whenever he has tried to play a big shot, he perished. One tactical move that CSK should make for the final is to make skipper MS Dhoni bat at number 4.

Dhoni has been at his belligerent best this season. He is in a great rhythm and has scored over 400 runs this season. Time and again he has bailed out Chennai from precarious situations. Dhoni walking in at number 4 would give him more time to settle down. Once he is set, he can definitely take on the Mumbai bowlers and propel Chennai’s score.

It would be interesting to see whether the master tactician would make this move just like he did it 8 summers back at the final of the 2011 ICC World Cup.