India Insight

Congratulate Virender Sehwag

Virender Sehwag has registered the highest individual score (219 runs) in 50-over cricket, blasting seven sixes and 25 fours during his 149-ball stay to light up Indore’s Holkar Cricket Stadium.

Playing his 240th one-day international, the 33-year-old right-handed batsman overtook compatriot Sachin Tendulkar, a player he was often compared to early in his career.

Here’s your chance to congratulate Sehwag. Post your messages in the comments below.

“Controversially Yours”: More marketing than malice

Never far from controversy in his playing days, Shoaib Akhtar has kicked up quite a storm in India with his autobiography “Controversially Yours”, questioning the integrity of most players he came across.

And one of them happens to be India’s favourite son Sachin Tendulkar, owner of virtually all batting records worth owning but still not a match-winner in Shoaib’s book.

Also, the “Rawalpindi Express” claims Tendulkar, at one stage, was mortally scared of his raw pace.

Shastri, Gavaskar paid to preach BCCI gospel?

Going by this Mumbai Mirror report, the world’s richest cricket board has two of the most silver-tongued player-turned-commentators on its payroll to spread its agenda.

The report claims the Indian cricket board (BCCI) pays former captains Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri 3.6 crore rupees each year to defend its stance, often debatable, on controversial issues like the Decision Review System (DRS).

According to the report, no channel can broadcast an international match on Indian soil if the commentary team does not include the Mumbai duo, who have served BCCI in various capacities.

Of Tendulkar, Bharat Ratna and populism

It’s rare for politicians to be of one mind in the world’s biggest and arguably the noisiest democracy.

The government is about to tweak guidelines to make sportspersons (read Sachin Tendulkar) eligible for India’s highest civilian award — the Bharat Ratna.

That too without a murmur of protest from main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which otherwise has made life difficult for the Manmohan Singh-led government on various corruption scandals.

from Left field:

ICC name best test team of all time. Right or wrong?

The ICC has unveiled the best test team of all time as voted for by fans on the governing body's website. The ICC offered a shortlist to choose from.

Here it is:

Virender Sehwag

Sunil Gavaskar

Donald Bradman

Sachin Tendulkar

Brian Lara

Kapil Dev

Adam Gilchrist (wk)

Shane Warne

Wasim Akram

Curtly Ambrose

Glenn McGrath

Is it a bit 1980s focused? No Englishmen either but maybe that is not a big shock. Sehwag probably the biggest surprise.

These sort of polls are done almost weekly and discussed in bars around the world.  The debate certainly won't end with this list but ahead of the 2,000th test later this week between England and India, it's a nice reminder of what a wonderful sport cricket is.

India to embrace DRS after Sabina Park experience?

Australian umpire Daryl Harper might have done what months of persuasion could not — to make the Indian cricket board see logic in the Decision Review System (DRS).

The elite cricket committee of the International Cricket Council (ICC), which includes the team’s former World Cup winning coach Gary Kirsten and former captain Ravi Shastri, recommended mandatory use of the technology in all three formats, a suggestion that seems to have the backing of most boards.

Even Sachin Tendulkar, though still apprehensive of the ball-tracking technology, came out with the clarification that he was not altogether against DRS.

An Indian cricket coach for team India?

India's players celebrate with their trophy after India won the ICC Cricket World Cup final match against Sri Lanka in Mumbai April 2, 2011. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash

The Indian cricket team has not had a full-time local coach in over a decade since John Wright took over possibly the second most challenging job in world cricket in 2000. Barring the Greg Chappell debacle, the two other foreign coaches the team has employed have delivered.

India made the finals of the 2003 World Cup under Wright, and Gary Kirsten signed off after the team were crowned world champions in 2011. Interestingly, both Kirsten and Wright had inherited a team full of superstars low on confidence.

Wright took over the reins in the aftermath of the match- fixing crisis of 1999, and Kirsten after the 2007 World Cup disaster (though a victory in the inaugural T20 World Cup under an interim coach, Indian Lalchand Rajput, somewhat satiated fans).

Doesn’t anyone love the underdog anymore?

It is said that everyone loves the underdog. You can’t fault Ireland if they disagree.

Days after cricket’s showpiece event ended, the game’s governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced its decision to trim the next two World Cups to just 10 teams and throw out the associate nations from the 2015 edition, featuring only its 10 full members. The 10 spots for the 2019 edition will be determined through qualification.

“This is not a World Cup, it’s a glorified Champions Trophy,” said Ireland’s captain William Porterfield, after the ICC’s decision to trim the 2015 World Cup that will see associate teams like Ireland and Netherlands miss out on the chance to rub shoulders with the best of the cricketing world.

Afridi’s remarks create ripples off cricket pitch

Maverick Pakistan cricket captain Shahid Afridi is best known for his “boom boom” batting and for scoring the fastest hundred in the 50-over version of the game.

Pakistan's captain Shahid Afridi catches a ball during a practice session in Pallekele March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Andrew Caballero-ReynoldsHowever, he is now creating ripples off the cricket pitch for his remarks against India, at a time when the two countries, who have been to war three times since independence, attempt to resume dialogue at the highest level.

Speaking to Pakistan-based Samaa TV, Afridi, the joint highest wicket-taker in the recently concluded cricket World Cup, said on Tuesday it was difficult to maintain good long-term relations with India.

from Photographers' Blog:

Editing thousands of cricket pictures a day

Sports and Action photography is all about timing. It’s about reacting. It’s about being in the right place at the right time and it’s about execution.

India's Gautam Gambhir is bowled by Sri Lanka's Thisara Perera during their ICC Cricket World Cup final match in Mumbai April 2, 2011.                          REUTERS/Philip Brown

These are all qualities of the athlete and those of the photographer covering them as well. Each sport has predictable and unpredictable moments. For instance, in cricket, photographers will have opportunities to capture jump shots, players diving to make the crease, diving to take a catch, diving to field the ball, a bowler leaping in the air as he bowls, a batsman screaming in joy on reaching his century, etc. Understanding the timing of these predictable actions allows a photographer to capture the peak moment; when the action is most dramatic.

Before I start editing I always have a brief chat with the photographers about what could be the day’s great picture. The staff never fail to deliver and meet expectations. I briefed two photographers covering matches from the quarter-finals onwards not to forget to look for emotion in the players and the fans. A good number of the best shots come from the crowd. I received a bunch of nice pictures of the crowd from the final.

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