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    Law 38.2a

    Monday, November 21, 2005
    "a batsman is not run out if he has been within his ground and has subsequently left it to avoid injury when the wicket is put down."

    Forget the third umpire, forget Darrell Hair for a moment, I'm really disappointed in Simon Taufel, ICC's best umpire of the year for having got this decision wrong. As Sambit Bal points out, this is not really the first instance of something like this..

    Kolkata 1999 - The victim in that case was Sachin Tendulkar, who had grounded his bat after completing a run, but a collision with Shoaib Akhtar, the bowler, who was moving to collect the throw from Nadeem Khan, lifted his bat off the ground. The throw hit the stumps, Pakistanis appealed and Tendulkar was given out, a decision that led to a mini riot.

    Napier 1995 - Dulip Samaraweera, the Sri Lankan opener, attempted a run after tapping the ball in front of him but got back to the crease. Ken Rutherford, the New Zealand captain rifled in a throw and Samaraweera jumped up to avoid being hit. The ball hit the stumps and Samaraweera was declared out by the third umpire.


    I do remember the '99 game in Kolkata and that decision did cost India the game. Inzamam's dismissal might not prove that costly. But that is not the point. If the umpires themselves tend to be ignorant of the laws, then wouldn't you love to argue that it is ok for the cricketers to be ignorant too. Should Vaughan be forgiven too if he continues to be ignorant of Law 41?

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    "I watched him like I observe a cricketer bat"

    Sunday, November 20, 2005
    Jeff Crowe on his famous cousin.

    Talking of Russell, here is some text that I put in as part of my marriage invitation (earlier this year)

    I've always been a huge fan of Russell Crowe. I've tried to imitate him over the years and 've more often than not failed quite miserably doing that. Close friends would tell ya about the times when I used to address all and sundry with a very heavily accented "my..ht" ("mate", if that isn't obvious)..

    Anyway, the point is that am gonna try do it one more time and have a cricket match a few days before my marriage, as part of the pre-marital festivities. If any of you guys are interested in playing and getting the groom out (you guys do remember how good an opener I was? I still am), send me an email..

    Sadly, the match had to be abandoned due to unfair weather conditions.

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    Process and Belief

    Posted this as a comment to a post titled How to win the 2007 world cup by Devangshu Datta on Cricinfo's wicket-to-wicket blog.

    Dominance, luck, strategy and heart... interesting points.

    To have a team with "heart", you need a team of "believers", a team which believes that it can win as a team, a team in which every member believes in not only his self ability but also in his fellow team-mate's ability. The only way you can get this "belief" thing going is by identifying the core group early and making them win as many matches as a team as possible in different scenarios under different conditions. An atmosphere needs to be created where the words "team" and "process" always take precedence over the word "individual". And this is what the current Indian squad is focussing on.

    You can't really say that the teams of the past (Ganguly-wright combine included) did not have heart. The team showed great heart to get to the world cup final in South Africa. They just lacked the belief to win against Australia. They choked. "Choke" is a harsh word, but it has been argued time and again that the teams which stick to the "process" at all times are the ones which don't choke. And that is why I think the current Indian squad is on the right track. The last seven wins have given the team enough reason to believe that they can win against the best in different conditions. Even in the two matches that they lost, they did not choke. They came back strongly (the Hyd ODI against SAF is a good example) when they were pushed against the wall and all these defeats do add to the learning process. The batting order has never been this flexible (much to do with not having players who needed to play at fixed positions) and the team now has the luxury of playing with five regular bowlers (for me, not playing five regular bowlers has been the prime reason for the debacles in recent times).

    Much depends on how the team fares from now on till their first world cup game in Trinidad, but the early signs really do look very very promising.

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    600.. 500.. and 100

    Thursday, November 17, 2005
    600..
    "I had the hunger in me to make a comeback and now I'm probably at the best of my rhythm. So, I can definitely continue to play for a few more years. There have been instances of fast bowlers playing till their late thirties. There is no reason why I shouldn't be able to do so. And if I can, reaching 600 Test wickets is a realistic possibility."

    Glenn McGrath is almost 36 and is still 71 wickets short of his milestone. He is in great form and fit enough to reach there sooner or later.

    500..
    "500 is a realistic target. I am looking forward to that feat and starting my season on a good note."

    Anil Kumble hopes to be fit for the series against the Sri Lankans in Dec. He is 35 and he needs 35 wickets to reach 500. If he has his way with the pitches, he can reach there in 3 tests.

    100..
    "I have taken 14/15 wickets in the Duleep Trophy. I also scored a hundred. I am willing to play at any position. I am prerared to perform any role that the team wants me to."

    Sourav Ganguly seems to be trying hard to make a case for himself as an all-rounder. He has not confessed his desire to reach there but he is just 7 wickets short of 100 ODI wickets. If he gets back into the ODI side, there is a pretty good chance of him reaching that milestone. After that he can get to tell all and sundry (and he loves doing that) that he has 100 ODI wickets to go with his 10k+ ODI runs.

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    From the diary of a brash young skipper

    Mike Haysman calls him an idiot and John Smit thinks there is no one else in South Africa who knows less about sport. I just think he is plain rollicking hilarious. Dan Nicholls is back with his "Graeme Smith's diary".

    An excerpt..
    Monday 14 November: First match! Had a surprise visitor this morning — Sourav Ganguly, the old Indian captain. Was very friendly, if a little weather-beaten — unshaven, slightly shabby looking, and appeared to have slept in his clothes, although I'm sure that's not the case. He asked me quite a few questions about how I'd got rid of Ray, and muttered something about filthy Australian scum — call me a psychic, but I think there may be something Sourav isn't entirely happy about.

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    When the nice guy who finished first followed my way..

    Given the rate at which cricket related books are getting released these days, it is getting really hard to keep track of them. And I'm not just talking about all those books coming from England, I'm talking about those surfacing in India. After the release of Gulu Ezekiel's "The A to Z of Sachin Tendulkar" a few weeks back, the biographies of two popular South Indian cricketers got released this week. Sunil Gavaskar released "My way", the biography of the late ML Jaisimha on Nov 14th in Hyderabad. The book has been co-authored by A Joseph Antony (Special Correspondent of The Hindu) and Mrs. Jayanthi Jaisimha. Three days later, Greg Chappell got to release "The Nice Guy Who Finished First", the biography of Rahul Dravid. The book has been authored by Devendra Prabhudesai.

    Unlike their British and Australian (remember all those excerpts from Freddie's and Waugh's books) counterparts, the Indian scribes don't seem to believe too much in making stories by dissecting each chapter in these books. Isn't there any juicy chapter, paragraph or a line on Ganguly in any of these books for the friendly Indian media to lap it up?

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    The first catch

    Tuesday, November 15, 2005
    Kamran Akmal c Pietersen b Harmison 33 (10-341)
    Top-edge pull, caught at deep square-leg

    It is always a great feeling when you make your first test run or take your first test wicket. But to take your first catch in test cricket in your 6th test match after dropping 6 previous chances is bound to be very very special..

    Congratulations! KP on a catch well taken.

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    No.3

    Friday, November 11, 2005
    Courtesy: Fox Sports -
    "With Herschelle (Gibbs) out, we will probably look to bat the likes of Albie Morkel, Robin Peterson, Shaun Pollock and Andrew Hall at number three. They are all capable of doing a similar job and it is very much easier to score runs quickly on the sub-continent up front than it is at the end of the innings when the ball gets softer and the bounce gets lower." Mickey Arthur, South African Coach.


    The Indians have experimented with Pathan, JP Yadav, Dhoni, Yuvi, Dhoni (again) and Sehwag at the No.3 slot in the last 6 games with a fair amount of success. Given the amount of homework that the South Africans do, it comes as no surprise that Mickey and Graeme would be toying with the pinch-hitter idea. One other player that Mickey hasn't mentioned here, but might seriously consider trying in that slot is Justin Kemp. South Africa used Kallis and Gibbs at No.3 in the home series against the Kiwis, but on the docile sub-continent pitches Kallis might have to drop down the order (or he might open - AB de villiers doesn't seem to be in the best of form) and make way for someone who can consistently clear the in-field.

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    Mini Final

    Courtesy: India Times -
    Chappell has thrown a new gauntlet to his boys and it is about viewing the seventh and final ODI on Saturday in the Videocon Cup as a mini-final.

    "As far as we are concerned, right now the teams are tied 1-1, and we are looking at the Baroda game as the third match of a small series that we have created for ourselves," remarked Chappell as India sit pretty on a 5-1 lead.

    Given this mindset, India will be fielding a very strong side in the final game at Vadodara. There were some people in Vadodara who feared that their local hero, Pathan might be rested and that they might miss seeing him in action. They need not not worry now. India is likely to field five bowlers (Pathan, Agarkar, RP Sigh, Bhajji and karthik) with Raina as the super-sub.

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    No place for Sanath Jayasuriya in the test squad

    Sanath has been dropped for next month's test series against India. But couldn't the Sri Lankan selectors have waited one more day and then announced their decision. I have never really understood the logic of announcing the team for the next series before the end of an ongoing one. If Sanath scores a big century in the Vadodara match, the selectors would end up feeling embarrassed. Why put themselves in that position? It does seem like the Sri Lankan selectors strongly believe in following what their Indian counterparts did and that by dropping a senior left handed batsman, their fortunes would take a similar turn for the good.

    In an interesting move, Mahela Jayawardene has been replaced by Chaminda Vaas as the vice-captain. The only explanation that I can think of is that the selectors are seriously monitoring Atapattu's leadership skills and that they now feel Vaas could be an ideal replacement. Mahela was being groomed to take over from Marvan after the next world cup and after the debacle against India, the selectors seem to think that Atapattu may not last that long at the helm and that Mahela might not be ready yet. I would have picked Kumar Sangakkara instead - he sure does seem to be a better bet.

    Arnold, Chandana, Zoysa and Lokuhettige are the other players who wouldn't be returning next month. Avishka Gunawardene - the explosive left handed opener, Charitha (thatz my wife's name) Malinga Bandara - the Gloucestershire leg-spinner and Lasith Malinga - the fastest bowler in Sri Lanka have been recalled. Left arm spinner Sajeeva Weerakoon and middle order batsman Chamara Kapugedara are the new-comers.

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    "I'm Sujith Somasunder, ex-indian cricketer. Can I marry your daughter?"

    Thursday, November 10, 2005
    Courtesy Express News Service -
    Police said Somashekar, an under 19 zonal-level player, had faked Somasundar’s passport and put out ads in the matrimonial columns claiming to be Sujit. He got proposals from women and met their parents, impressing them with snaps taken with famous cricketers. But his own face was not clearly visible in those pictures. After the alliance was fixed, he would take out the girls to expensive hotels. Eventually, he gave them the slip. He even traveled to Sharjah where he visited MNC firms and took sponsorships posing as Sujit.

    Sujith Somasunder played a couple of one-day internationals as an opening batsman for India in late '96, couldn't get going at the top level and then disappeared into oblivion. The Karnataka batsman also represented Kerala and Saurashtra briefly, but those moves did not help his career in any manner. Anyway, I used to think that the Bangalore girls had smart brains. It is really hard to believe that they were conned by a guy posing as an ex-international cricketer. That sounds like something which Frank Abagnale Jr. would have been proud of.

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    A truck load of goons and a not so innocent selector

    When I was in college, it used to be a fairly normal thing for kids with power to get a truck load of goons into the campus and have their way. The cricket team selection was one of those things that no oridinary kid argued about or raised his/her voice against. So, when I first read this article in Hindusthan Times, it didnt really hit me hard. It took a while for me to say - "Wait a minute, this is the selection to the Delhi Ranji squad (a premier team's selection to the country's premier domestic tournament) that we are talking about, not some i-dont-care-who-gets-in college cricket team".

    Heard of Navdeep Tomar, allegedly the last name on that list? Well, Tomar is known in Delhi's cricketing circles but more for non-cricketing reasons than any on-field activities. He is the same player who brought truckload of goons first to the National Stadium Ranji camp and then to DDCA last season to get his name on the probables' list.

    This year, too, he has not given up. His name is being drafted into all the possible lists prepared so far. Quietly! If a top DDCA official is to be believed, he has almost been given an affidavit that he will play the Ranji one-dayers early next year.


    Sad, isn't it? If this isn't enough, there is this new story, also in Hindusthan Times on how a certain Bhola Shankar ("Bhola" is innoccent in Hindi), an under-15 DDCA selector wasn't quite "Bhola" enough.

    The DDCA Sports Committee has decided that an under-15 selector, Bhola Shankar, will no longer be part of its panel after he was caught taking money for selections.

    Ever since Bhola was appointed selector last season, it was rumoured he was corrupt. Things took an ugly turn when the father of a left-arm spinner in the standby list last season, threatened to expose the selector when his son was not included for the first two games this year too.

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    Americans pick Sourav

    Monday, November 07, 2005
    It seems like the Indian selectors have decided to keep Sourav Ganguly out of the ODI side for good. But the Americans think he is good enough.. atleast they think his restaurant (Sourav's) is good enough to cater food for their Air Force Personnel.

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    Simpler than an email address

    A simple "MS Dhoni, Ranchi" is enough for letters to reach Jharkand's most eligible bachelor.

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    "Muralitharan - a freak, Bhajji - the best"

    "Muttiah Muralitharan is simply a freak, and Harbhajan is perhaps the best orthodox off-spinner in the world. So I'll be watching him closely and hoping to learn more from him." - Johan Botha (after being selected for the Indian tour)

    Harbhajan would not mind the compliment, but Murali might not take that too kindly. You can't blame Botha, if he arrived at that conclusion after witnessing the matches in the current India - Sri Lanka series. The Indians have played Murali very well in this series, while the Sri Lankans have found it really hard to score runs off Bhajji.

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    South African Bhajji

    Sunday, November 06, 2005
    SA Team (for the Indian tour) - Graeme Smith (captain), Jacques Kallis (vice-captain), Johan Botha, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, Andrew Hall, Justin Kemp, Charl Langeveldt, Albie Morkel, Andre Nel, Makhaya Ntini, Justin Ontong, Robin Peterson, Shaun Pollock, Ashwell Prince.

    The team has 3 spinners in Peterson (slow left arm orthodox), Ontong (off break) and Botha (off break). Peterson and Ontong toured India last year and returned home without doing much. The South Africans would be hoping that young Johan Botha would make an impression.

    Courtesy cricinfo - If Botha gets the nod he will come up against Harbhajan Singh, the man he modelled his spin bowling on - even mastering a version of the doosra. "He was bowling at 125kmh and swinging the ball away," said Arthur (Mickey). "There are probably 50 guys in the country doing that. He's got the ability to do something different. He's been studying Harbhajan and he's become a very useful spinner who can bowl the doosra and bowl at the death in a one-day game."

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    VRV Singh gets a look in

    The fastest bowler in India, Vikram Rajvir Singh is the new addition to the Indian squad and it is more than likely that he would get to play in atleast one of the remaining two games in the series (against Sri Lanka). Jai P Yadav might feel a bit let down, but he really hasn't done enough (after the promise that he showed in Zimbabwe) in the limited opportunities to suggest that he would make a good fifth bowler in all conditions.

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    Rao makes way for Kaif

    He reminds me of Pravin Amre and my dad thinks he looks a bit like Nagarjuna Akkineni (Nag's fans might vehemently disagree). But, it doesn't really matter what I or my dad feel about him - the important thing is what young Venugopal Rao feels about himself after being dropped for the final two games against the Sri Lankans. Three days after being named (along with Dhoni and Raina) by his captain as the future of Indian cricket, he finds himself out of the team making way for the fit-again Mohammad Kaif.

    He walked into bat yesterday in the 37th over with the stage well set for India to post a 320+ total. He didnt waste much time, tried to give Maharoof the charge and holed out to the fielder in the deep - his dismissal (along with Raina's) was instrumental in India not reaching 300. Later in the evening, he picked up two good catches in the slips and celebrated them both in style. It seemed like a routine day at work, but the people who met in the midnight selection meeting had no favours for him. The real problem for him was not with his own performance - it lay in the fact that Mohammad Kaif had to be brought in at any cost and that the mostly likely player in the squad for Kaif to replace happened to score a chanceless century today. With Gambhir showing today that he is mentally a few notches up above the likes of Rao, the selectors had no other choice left.

    I'm sure Chappell and Dravid would have spoken to him about the reasons for letting him go and would have told him that he is very much in their scheme of things. It is important for Rao to stay focussed and keep the negative thoughts out - it might help having a chat with VVS about being eternally positive.. and it might even help watching a few Nagarjuna movies (OK.. I dont really know how that would help, but still..).

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    Ahmedabad ODI - Tendulkar rested, Amitabh Bachchan in

    Indian team for the fifth ODI - Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, R Dravid, Y Venugopal Rao, MS Dhoni, SK Raina, AB Agarkar, RP Singh, M Kartik, S Santh. Super Sub - Jai P Yadav.

    One man who has no doubt about the left-hander’s (Gautam Gambhir's) limited-overs viability is India A coach Sandeep Patil. Gambhir, he says, is more explosive than even MS Dhoni. ‘‘I used to call him the Amitabh Bachchan of the team, an angry young man with a short a fuse. But he is a naturally aggressive player,’’ Patil said.

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    Cricket Jewellery

    Friday, November 04, 2005
    Accidently stumbled upon this while searching for some jewellery - this is from the Greg Chappell Cricket Centre online shop.

    The original cricket jewellery is finely wrought in precious metal and fully hall marked to show the quality and other distinguished features The bats are produced in a high polished finish whilst the remaining pendants are produced in either satin or a finely brushed finish. The pendants are made from Sterling Silver or 9 caract Gold. Each pendant is presented in a velvet pouch.

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    Lara faces Warne (off the field)

    Brian talks to Shane about various things - his exaggerated backlift, Bennett King's impact, mentoring youngsters, his cricket idols (Roy Fredericks), his other-sports idols (Michael Jordan), life after cricket, Trinidad, Brazil, his daughter Sydney, Tiger Woods' wife's twin-sister (yeah, you read it right), surpassing Allan Border's record, his leg-spin skills, his golfing skills, Nelson Mandela and Halle Berry (oh yes again, you read it right, Halle Berry).

    This is what I call a "complete interview" - Shane does have a very bright future as a celebrity interviewer, maybe he can get his own show on prime-time.

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    Who said they aren't funny?

    "Managing to have a sense of humor makes it a lot easier to manage people"
    - Steve Wilson


    Rahul Dravid and Inzamam-Ul-Haq are two very gifted, seriously hard-working and intense individuals, who currently happen to occupy two of the most difficult and unenviable leadership positions in the Asian sub-continent. Here are two excerpts which reveal that the pressure of captaincy hasn't dented their sense of humour.

    courtesy BBC - Someone once asked Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq why he wins the toss so often and his reply was: "I practise a lot."

    courtesy Mid Day - Amidst an array of questions, there was one about celebration plans for the evening. And when Dravid mentioned “party”, a young lady reporter asked: “Are we invited?” And after he uttered “No”, the India captain decided to add on: “but you are invited for the next press conference.”

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    What do you do when you get bored?

    I have done some really weird things to kill boredom, but growing a moustache just because am bored has never really crossed my mind. It is something that the English Cricketers are doing as a collective item. Apparently, this isn't a novel idea. The Kiwi Cricketers did it for the inaugural 20-20 encounter against the Aussies earlier this year and so did the Australian tennis players for the 2000 Davis Cup final against the Spaniards. On both those occasions, the moustached men ended up on the losing side. [I don't know about moustaches, but I do know of one team which ended up being hugely successful after (a majority of ) its team members shaved their heads clean - Boston Red Sox, World Series 2004.] Moustaches or no moustaches, Vaughan's men do have a tough tour ahead - so, they better not get bored in the middle.

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    Time for the Pup to grow

    Thursday, November 03, 2005
    Ricky Ponting might have to check out Elizabeth Randolph's "How to Help Your Puppy Grow Up to Be a Wonderful Dog" for some tips. The "Pup" seems to have lost its way at No.4. Michael Clarke lasted just 13 deliveries in the first innings of the Gabba test against the Windies. "It'll never be easier for him than it is now. The hard part always comes later." - is what Greg Chappell famously said in the days after Clarke's brilliant debut. Mike Colman at the Courier Mail wonders if later has arrived sooner than anyone expected.
    Those who have observed his career at close quarters say he has changed markedly from the wide-eyed, "golly gee I can't believe I'm really here" innocent who made his Test debut just 13 months ago.

    But how could he not? This is an impressionable 24-year-old, plucked from the western suburbs of Sydney and tipped (or "anointed" as one profile put it) as a future national captain before he had even played a Test.

    Well, even young Parthiv Patel was once touted as a future Indian Captain before he had even played a first class game.

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    50 off 9 scoring shots

    Wednesday, November 02, 2005
    All-rounder Kaushalya Weeraratne has played 11 matches for Sri Lanka after making his debut in mid 2000. Picked primarily for his medium-fast bowling ability, he never really got going at the international level. He is back in the news now after smashing a half-century in just 12 balls in a domestic one-day game for the Ragama Cricket Club against the Kurunegala Youth Cricket Club. He hit 7 sixers and 2 fours to reach his 50 - the onslaught included a 34 run over off Ajith Ekanayake, in which the scoring pattern read 6,6,6,6,6,4. Irrespective of the quality of the bowling attack and the quality of batting conditions, that is some REAL hitting. This one innings is probably not enough to earn Weeraratne a recall into the national side, but is really a very good start.

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    Australia's "Mr. Cricket" and broken ribs

    Tuesday, November 01, 2005
    Feb 1 2004 - Mike Hussey got to make his ODI debut against India because Michael Bevan was ruled out with a fractured rib.

    Nov 3 2005 - Hussey will be making his test debut against the West Indies because fellow Western Australian opener, Justin Langer has a broken rib.

    I wouldn't blame Hussey if his favorite dish contains baby back ribs. Recently judged "the outstanding regular state batsman" in a survey of all Australian first-class cricketers, Hussey would be keen on replicating his ODI form in the test arena (He has an incredible ODI average of 123.5 from 18 matches).

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    2 to 4 in 3 games...

    At the end of september, the ICC ODI rankings had SriLanka, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, England and India at positions 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 respectively. After a month, the Sri Lankans, who lost 3 straight games against India find themselves at No.4 and the Kiwis, who lost the same number of games to South Africa have moved down two places to No.5. South Africa is the new number 2. India's position hasn't improved, but their rating has shifted up from 97 to 104. If they can beat both Sri Lanka and South Africa convincingly, they can have a good shot at that No.2 slot by the end of December.

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