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    Irfan makes a case for himself..

    Wednesday, January 24, 2007
    The selectors would be announcing the squad for the next 2 ODIs against the West Indies tonight and Pathan's name would definitely figure prominently in their discussions prior to the announcement. He probably hasn't done enough to suggest that he is back to full-form, but sure has presented a good case for himself. After picking 3 wickets in the first innings of the Ranji Trophy semi-final against Mumbai, he triggered a dramatic Mumbai top-order collapse in the second innings. Mumbai lost their first 5 wickets for nothing with Pathan picking up three of those (Rakesh Patel accounted for the remaining 2). Kukreja, Jaffer, Shah, Muzumdar and Sharma were all back in the pavilion for ducks within the first 20 balls of the innings. It remains to be seem if this would be enough for Pathan to get back into the national squad.

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    "Mr. Tamil Nadu Cricket" retires

    Saturday, January 13, 2007
    Courtesy: Sid Vaidyanathan/Cricinfo
    c Martin b Bhoite 0. Seven balls, thirteen minutes, offbreak padded away, bat nowhere in the picture, umpire raises finger, end of a 15-year career. It wasn't the best way to bid adieu, but it was probably the most symbolic. For nearly a minute, Sridharan Sharath stood transfixed, glaring at the umpire and repeated a question that's haunted him through his career: 'What did I do to deserve that?'

    8390 runs at a 50+ average in a career spanning 15 years - and not a single chance to prove his credentials at the highest level. Mr. & Mrs. Luck just didn't seem to have bothered to knock on his bat atleast once. W&L will always remember Sharath as "Mr. Tamil Nadu Cricket" and wishes him the very best in all his future endeavors.

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    Can you please keep the chatting down a bit?

    Tuesday, January 09, 2007
    Courtesy: Amrit Mathur, for the Sportstar
    With 27 teams competing in two grades of Ranji the competition is so lopsided it is difficult to evaluate performances and distinguish good players from the ordinary. Also, given the general neglect, it will require much time and effort before this first-class structure becomes a finishing school that prepares players for international cricket.

    Sadly, while there is scant evidence of any serious effort to mend things, there are enough signs to suggest nobody is really concerned. In a Elite game in Delhi, the umpires called off play — for bad light — around noon (!) and then disappeared from the ground. On another occasion the square leg umpire was merrily chatting on his cellphone, during play. The striker, disturbed by the chatter, walked up to him and politely requested that he speak a bit softly!

    .. and we wonder why there hasn't been a single Indian umpire worthy enough to be Venkatraghavan's successor in the ICC Elite Panel.

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    Keep or Field..

    Courtesy: Harsha Bhogle for Express India
    Dinesh Kaarthick is a very fine young cricketer and a wholehearted team man. His batting in the second innings at Durban was a revelation for both teams because he showed that if you ignored the pitch, it could indeed be ignored. Smith and Pollock were later to do the same and take the game away from India. In the first innings he batted four hours and showed he had a wise head, not just the excitable, jack-in-the-box one we had seen all along. And I loved the way he fielded anywhere on the ground.

    It is rare for a wicketkeeper to possess a good throwing arm and yet he ran out a man from long off and would be a live-wire inside the circle in a limited overs game. India must find room for both, him and Dhoni, and a World Cup squad would be incomplete without either.

    Kaarthick has done enough in SA to suggest that he deserves a world-cup spot. If the team does field both Dhoni and Kaarthick, I would like to see Kaarthick keep wickets and let Dhoni man the outfield. With due respect to Dhoni's keeping skills (he hasn't really missed much lately behind the wickets), Kaarthick is much more acrobatic and definitely a better bet when it comes to standing up to Kumble.

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