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Cricket Attax: Some long lost treasures

Howzit guys, I was looking through the views feed on my admin page, and found that the posts I did with cricket attax pics sometime in 2011 were still getting a fair number of views. Hence, I decided that it would be well worth my time to post some more cricket attax pics, with my commentary on them. So while digging through some of my old stuff, I found these “treasures” that I’ve had for at least two years now. Forgive me for being rather behind time with my cards, since I’ve not purchased any since my last trip to India in December 2012. I’ll do my best to get some 2013 cards to post soon 🙂 So here are some of my more prized cards. Follow along with the slideshow, and the captions represent which card my commentary is about. Hope you enjoy 🙂

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  1. This is my Brendon McCullum Gold. He’s from 2011, and was one of the more rare gold cards around. With a batting of 93, Brendon McC was the strongest wicket-keeper of the 2011 set, and one of the cards I had to really look around to find.
  2. This is my Ravichandran Ashwin Gold. He’s also is from 2011, and although not the rarest card around, he was still a useful one to have around, with a bowling of 92 an batting of 40. He was one of the last golds I got in the 2011 set 🙂
  3. This is my Praveen Kumar Gold. He’s my only gold card from 2012. Although this one was not nearly as valuable as the PK gold from 2011, his bowling score of 87 makes him a fairly helpful card to start your set with.
  4. This is my Sreenath Aravind normal card. He’s from the 2012 set, and my most valuable normal card. One of the many young prodigies who rose in 2011, Aravind’s brilliant show brought him a bowling score of 88, along with an over-rated batting score of 53. Despite the fact that the real Aravind ended up having match economy rates that went up to 17.25, his card is still a very good one to have, particularly since he doesn’t count against your gold/silver count.
  5. This is my Jacques Kallis Silver. He too is from the 2012 set. Although the 2011 one is definitely better, a batting of 84 and a bowling of 71 coupled with 35 runs makes Kallis one of the more valuable silvers, even for 2012.
  6. This is my Iqbal Abdulla Silver. He’s been given the title of “Rising Star Player” because the real Iqqi won the actual award in the 2011 IPL, thwarting other candidates such as Paul Valthaty and Sreenath Aravind. This card is my best bowling card from 2012, with a score of 91. I’m not exactly sure how rare or otherwise this card was, but is still a very powerful one to have nonetheless.
  7. This is my Murali Vijay Gold. He is from the 2011 set. His batting score of 97 made him the fourth-best batsman of the 2011 set, behind only Jacques Kallis gold, Sachin Tendulkar Orange Cap, and Sachin Tendulkar Player of the Tournament. I managed to get him in an extraordinary deal, and he’s one of my best cards.
  8. Last but by no means not least, we have Virender Sehwag normal. He’s from the 2012 set, and one of the few cards who had almost the same score as he did in the previous year. However, with a score of 88 and 35 runs, he is still a devastating card. This could also be said to be one of my tributes to Viru, and one of the many memento of his ruthless run of fine form during the 2011 season.

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Pune Warriors – A final tribute

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Pune Warriors India

In spite of all that’s been going on in the world of cricket, I’m sure all of you out there heard of the termination of the Pune Warriors India. I know it’s been a while since their actual termination, but I’ve been rather busy off late, and just found some time to put together this final tribute to the most expensive franchise in IPL history. I will talk about how they went through 3 years of the IPL, and what they did wrong in the end. Hope you enjoy 🙂

So basically, the Pune Warriors were brought ahead of the 2011 season, and were purchased at a feisty 290 million USD by Sahara Adventure Sports Limited, replacing the Mumbai Indians as the most expensive franchise. They made their first mark in the 2011 IPL Auctions where they managed to snap up the star of India’s 2011 World Cup Triumph Yuvraj Singh for a whoop-de-do $1.8 million, along the Karnataka’s carnage in the form of Robin Uthappa for a jaw-dropping $2.1 million (which tied with Yusuf Pathan as second-most expensive player of the auctions). They also brought other trustworthy hands on board in the form of Jesse Ryder, Murali Karthik, Alfonso Thomas, and Mitchell Marsh. They looked like a side to be reckoned with. IPL finally came, and Pune opened their campaign with an emphatic 7-wicket win over the Kings XI Punjab. However, a slump in form saw the Warriors win only 3 games more in the entire tournament and slip all the way down to 9th out of the 10 teams. 2012 came, and so came a new captain Saurav Ganguly, a few new players, and even a new jersey, but no new results. They started well again, defending a paltry 129 to hand the Mumbai Indians a 28-run defeat in their backyard. However, they could win but 3 more games again, giving them 9th place yet again (only this time it was out of 9). 2013 came, and they flunked yet again, finishing with (you guessed it) 4 wins. Now here’s where I want to make a few points on what went wrong for them. For starters, let’s consider their home track. The Subrata Roy Stadium track was a spongy, slow one, that favored slow bowlers and saw Amit Mishra pluck a hat-trick to help his team the Sunrisers Hyderabad defend 119 to pull off an unlikely win against their hosts. Basically, the side PWI should’ve been looking for should’ve been like that of the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2012, with primarily slow bowlers but a strong batting. However, we saw their star spinner Ajantha Mendis play only 3 games, 1 of which wasn’t even in Pune. This was definitely a huge mistake, as Mendis’ mystery spin could’ve definitely proved to be very useful for the men in turquoise. Although their batting was almost always up to the mark (thanks to the exploits of Aaron Finch) their bowling was very shaky, with only Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowling consistently. Finally, one thing that greatly crippled the Warriors was Yuvraj Singh’s abysmal form. Being a spinner and a batsmen with an adaptable temperament, the Prince of India would have turned the fate of the Pune Warriors had he been in form. So that’s about it, and Pune will be missed by all, particularly their loyal fans who turned up again and again to watch them play despite the far-below-par performances of their team. Well, this is IPLgeek signing off, adios! 🙂

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Jaydev Unadkat – An interesting find

So far, IPL 2013 has appeared to be a little more of a bowler’s game rather than a batsman’s. Most of the games have been low-scoring thrillers rather than than the high-scoring run-fests. Amongst this, many bowlers have come to light. Jaydev Unadkat is one such bowler. Even though Indian players are expected to go for high prices, RCB picked up Unadkat at a surprisingly high $525,000, which was higher than the salaries of RP Singh and Ravi Rampaul, two of RCB’s other fast-bowling buys, who have far better stats than Unadkat. Even more eyebrows were raised when the young lad was picked in RCB’s first playing XI ahead of RP. He was trusted with an enormous responsibility when captain Virat Kohli tossed him the ball first up with the deadly duo of Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar at the crease (for the first time ever), and only 156 to defend on the high-scoring track of M.Chinnaswami. However, the young man proved his worth as he gave just 9 in his first 2, scored a brilliant throw that ran out Tendulkar, and bowled a crucial 7-run 19th over despite a rampaging Dinesh Karthik at the crease and just 17 needed in 12. He finished with 4-0-24-0, when even Muttiah Muralitharan went for 30 in his 4. RCB went on to win the game by 2 runs. Unadkat gave 24 in 4 again, but this time with the wickets of the clinical Kumar Sangakkara and the devastating Thisara Perera. Unfortunately, RCB lost that game in the super over. After that game, RP Singh was brought in and hence – even though he was in the playing XI – Unadkat was not needed as a spearhead. He continued to be economic though, with the odd wicket. The interesting thing about Unadkat is that he never went too expensive, with his worst economy rate for a match being 8.50 against (ironically) his old team, KKR. Even though Vinay Kumar and RP Singh – two of RCB’s best pacers on paper – had some bad days, the left arm seamer has kept things tidy, and taken wickets whenever he could. Only Sreenath Aravind’s dreamlike show was a better show, but Aravind was taken apart in CLT20 2011 and went for 48 in 3 overs in his one IPL game in 2012. After Harshal Patel, Prasanth Parameshwaran, Raju Bhatkal and Abhimanyu Mithun were all tried and rejected, Unadkat has been something of a revelation to RCB, who have struggled to find an economic 5th bowler. Unadkat appears to be in good touch now, and will definitely be someone the Indian selectors want to consider.

Jaydev Unadkat

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IPL – Some General Thoughts

Bonjour mes amis,

I hope you’re doing well. Well, the IPL has been going in full flurry, with some scintillating knocks and nervy bowling that takes teams across the line. I find that IPL really is a good platform for the youth of India to make their mark, and play under some of the greatest players ever, Indian and overseas alike. Many people have criticized the IPL saying that it ‘undermines their sides’ and stuff like that. However, saying IPL is the reason your players are suffering in international cricket is like saying that the reason for you’re son’s failure in school is the fact that you send him for tutoring. Yes, there is the injury factor, but there is so much other exposure that the players receive. Like if your players are struggling on Indian soil, who better to learn from than the Indian players themselves? Like I said before, playing IPL gives you first-hand relationship with people like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, and MS Dhoni, who know Indian tracks like the back of their hand, or people like Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting, and Kumar Sangakkara who have had so much exposure to Indian tracks, and can provide you with new insights on how to put your strengths to maximum effect. Also, you get loads of cash. For example, you can get about $700,000 if you’re a good all-rounder in form, while the South African cricket team won $450,000 for being the number one test team. That’s the other bonus. Amazing isn’t it?

 

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The formats of cricket – a comparison

Cricket. The best international sport in the world in my opinion. With the 6 stumps, the 2 batsmen, and the 10 fielders, and the bowler, cricket is just an amazing game. Like any other game, it has formats. Cricket has three formats: Tests, ODIs, and T20s. Test cricket is “classic” cricket, played in white clothes, over a span of five days. It is the slowest of the formats, and takes a cricketing mind to watch patiently. ODI cricket is a little more on the exciting side. With 50 overs an innings, it is still very long, but not as long as Tests. Lastly, T20 cricket is the most quickly paced and exciting format of the game. It is only 20 overs long, meaning it is short, and hence not as boring. Now, let’s look at them from the perspective of the players.

Playing Test cricket for your country is a tremendous honor. Why, you may ask? Well, tests, as the name implies, are “tests”. They are the place where your skills will be put to the test. Test cricket demands more of the players than any format, both physically and technically. For one, the captain and coaches have to plan for five days, and not just one. They have to interpret how the pitch might behave for five days, and then come to a conclusion on selecting players and other stuff. Also, it really demands a lot of you, which ever position you play. Full-time bowlers are expected to bowl at least 35 overs a game, batsmen are expected to be like rocks; resolute, and determined to stay. To help them, strike rate is not important. They can take 200 balls to score 35 runs and nobody will care too much. Consequently, they are expected to score lots of runs. You are expected to get your team total to at least 360. Even fielders are tested heavily. For example, you can stand somewhere for like half the day and nothing will come your way, but when it does, you will be expected to pull out your best fielding. This is why fast-bowlers in particular find Tests very stressing, and also why quicks like Brett Lee and Shaun Tait forfeited this format and preferred to focus on the shorter formats.

ODI Cricket is kind of like the “neutral” format. This format is neither as slow and heavy as tests, nor as quick as T20s. You can score at a reasonable strike rate or about 80, and bowling spells are limited to 10 overs a bowler. A team total of 260 is a great total to have. It is not as terribly long as test cricket, but can go on from about 3 in the evening all the way till midnight. Still, it is the format where the majority of players play, as then neither have to be too durable, nor have to be too quickly paced. Even though teams that play it generally go at 4.5 an over on average, they can go at 8 an over sometimes, like the South Africa vs Australia match, where both teams scored 400+ runs in the whole 100 overs played.

T20 Cricket is the most unpredictable format of them all. You can need 5 of 30 balls with 5 wickets in hand and still lose the game, or score 25 in the last over to clinch a win. T20 is, in my opinion, the most fun of them all. It is 40 overs of run-scoring-wicket-falling-nail-biting-brain-twisting cricket. Your team can go from 124-0 in 13 overs to 150 all out in 19.4 overs, or go from 9-4 in 4 all the way to 197-7 in 20. It is the format that needs the most inventive thinking, and unorthodox tactics. In test cricket, you can bowl 6 full-tosses on middle stump, and even if the batsman hits 5 for six, if he gets out on the 6th, you’re safe. In T20 cricket, however, if you give 30 runs, whether or not you get a wicket, you will generally be taken off the attack. This is also the format where strike rate and economy matter the most. There’s a reason most senior batsmen don’t play T20s. After adapting to a required strike rate somewhere around a lukewarm 75-80, if you are expected to score at 200 when the circumstances call for it, it’s not easy. This is why most countries prefer to use T20s as a kind of testing site for young talents. Also, full-fledged all-rounders have more value in T20s than in any other format. That’s because you don’t have the option of using batsmen as part-time bowlers (if you ask MSD to bowl in T20s, the batsmen will take him for runs). So if you can bowl 4 overs at about 6.5, and hit at least 30 per game at a strike rate of around 120, you’re in. Despite all of what I have said, T20s are not very demanding physically. You need to bowl 4 overs as a bowler, and staying at the crease for about 10 overs will make you a very valuable batsman.

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IND vs AUS – Post match thoughts

The first test between India vs Australia went very well for the hosts. Dhoni’s magnificant 224, and Ashwin’s 12 wickets left the Australians hapless, and took a 1-0 lead in the 4 test series. For the Ozzies, only James Pattinson, Moises Henriques, and Micheal Clarke managed to provide some resistance against the Indian fury. While this victory might seem great, we must keep in mind that this was the same way we started against England, and went on to lose the series 2-1. Now, what negative points came out in this game? Well, we have Murali Vijay and Virender Sehwag’s miserable shows up front, and also we have Nathan Lyon’s dismal show with the ball. Probably because of Sehwag’s experience, Vijay will be the one to get the axe. Question is, who will replace him? I think that Shikhar Dhawan will be a good option for that. Why over Rahane? Well, Rahane’s shows against England were far below satisfactory, and also Dhawan provides another left-handed batting option. This will definitely prove useful, knowing that the Australian bowling lineup doesn’t have too much quality spin. With Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar, and MSD in such good touch, this is a risk worth taking. For the Lyon problem, I don’t think there’s very much the Ozzies can do about it. Lyon is one of the two full-time spinners they have now. I believe they should just shrug off the fact that he conceded 215 runs in India’s innings an just keep in mind that he took 4 wickets, in addition to bringing in Xavier Doherty in to support him. The interesting thing will be to see at who’s expense he will come in. Definitely not Moises Henriquesor Pattinson. Probably not Starc, as he’s the only left-arm seamer in the side. I believe it will be either Peter Siddle or Philip Hughes who gets the axe. Doherty will definitely be a good move, as more than three-fourths of the Indian lineup is right-handed. Another few things I missed were the performance of India’s pacers, and Harbhajan Singh. Both Ishant and Bhuvneshwar didn’t trouble much with the ball, although the latter played a crucial knock with the bat. India don’t have too many pace options, but trying Ashok Dinda ahead of Ishant might be an interesting move. Now on to Bhajji. He had very moderate success in his 100th test. He took 3 wickets in 2 innings, whereas Ashwin took 12 and Jadeja took 5. Nobody is going to try and drop Ashwin, and Jadeja’s absolute snorter to Phil Hughes in the second innings was a delivery even fast bowlers would have been proud of. Dropping Bhajji for Praghyan Ojha might be an interesting move, but consider that the Australian line up has a total of 6 left handers. Ojha might be very effective, but when David Warner is opening the innings, playing a left arm spinner is always a risk. 

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KXIP- A Pre-Auction Review

 

The Kings XI Punjab have had very little success in IPL since 2008, where they rode into the semifinals on Shaun Marsh’s blazing performance. Since then, they have finished 5th, 8th, 5th and 6th in IPLs 2009-12 respectively. Their best buy in last year’s auctions was the English-Pakistan all-rounder Azher Mahmood. Mahmood proved his worth as an experienced bowler and a devastating batsmen, despite the fact that KXIP crashed out at the last minute. On other KXIP news, Adam Gilchrist has announced that he will be available for IPL 2013, which is great news (not just to KXIP fans 🙂 ). Now onto their team. They have a lot of great young talent,  in the form of Mandeep Singh, Gunakreet Man Singh, Paul Valthaty, Parvinder Awana and more. Awana will definitely want to cover up his dismal show against England in the 2 T20s with another good show in IPL. Moving on, what KXIP really lacked last year was consistency. Their bowling unit in particular, was very, very inconsistant. And with a side filled with players like Praveen Kumar and Ryan Harris, you’d wonder why. This year I sense the batting is going to look really good with Gilly and Mandeep on top, followed by Marsh and David Hussey. In the middle they have Mahmood, Gunkreet Mann Singh, and possibly Siddharth Chitnis. Their bowling, however, still remains a worry. Only PK and Piyush Chawla have a decent amount of international experience. Of course, playing Ryan Harris ahead of Marsh is an option, but KXIP will still want a reserve option. Here, they have RP Singh, Dirk Nannes, and Johan Botha as good choices. This wouldn’t have been a problem if Stuart Broad had stayed, but he’s not going to be available this year either, so KXIP have released him, along with the overpriced Abhisheik Nayar, Kyle Abbott, Love Ablish, Amit Yadav, Ben Cutting, Paras Dogra, James Faulkner, Vikramjeet Malik, Ramesh Powar, and Nathan Rimmington.

Potential Squad:

  • Adam Gilchrist (c & wk)
  • Mandeep Singh
  • Nitin Saini
  • David Hussey
  • Azher Mahmood
  • Gunkreet Mann Singh
  • Piyush Chawla
  • Ryan Harris
  • Praveen Kumar
  • Parvinder Awana
  • Barghav Bhatt

Notes:

If extra spinner is needed, Botha comes in for Harris

If extra pacer is needed, Harmeet Singh comes in for Bhatt, 

If extra batsman is needed, Shaun Marsh comes in for Harris 

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Poem- Going to a cricket match

Hello everyone,

I just wrote this poem a little  while ago, it’s called “going to a cricket match.” Hope you enjoy 🙂

 

When we go to the match I say,

“Oh I can’t wait to see them play!”

Be it India or RCB,

ODI or T20

It’s worth every penny you pay

 

When the players dive to hit the stump

Even the ones that are plump!

Everyone’s cheering,

Can take away your hearing ,

And just make you want to jump.

 

And then they begin to play,

And you watch them fire away!

As the boundaries keep coming,

And the wickets keep tumbling,

It can really just make your day.

 

And as that last, tense over is bowled,

Everyone in the crowd goes cold.

They can’t fail;

They must prevail,

Even if the worst is foretold.

 

Let go of now and here,

We have a victory to cheer!

Amidst the banners flying,

I felt like crying,

So beautiful was the atmosphere.

 

Now I am in their debt,

For all their fret,

To make this one moment,

Ah, this one moment,

One that I will never forget.

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Interesting things about CLT20

Here are a few things about CLT20 history that you may not know:

 

1) RCB are the only Indian team to qualify for more than 1 CLT20 semifinal

2) This is the first time since 2009 that there has been no Indian team in the finals

3) This is the first CLT20 in which RCB has not taken part

4) CSK are the only IPL team to win their first ever CLT20 game (not including qualifiers)

5) RCB and DD are the only IPL teams to defeat Australian teams

6) DD are the only Indian team RCB has ever beaten in CLT20 history

7) CSK are the only team to play more than 2 CLT20 tournaments with the same captain

8) Dirk Nannes has played in all 4 CLT20 tournaments, and for a different team each time!

9) This is the first CLT20 in which two South African teams have qualified

10) The Sydney Sixers are the only team to win every single game in a tournament, including the finals.

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Cricket so far

Sorry about the lateness of this article…haven’t had much time to blog lately. So anyway, let me give you a brief preview of what’s happened in the world of cricket so far. The Sri Lankans failed yet again to win a final as the West Indies ‘gangnam styled’ home and took the cup with them. In the CLT20, the Delhi Daredevils are currently the only unbeaten IPL team in the competition, as they beat the Kolkata Knight Riders by a massive 52 runs, and Chennai and Mumbai suffered defeats in the hands of the Sydney Sixers and the Highveld Lions respectively. Also, the Naushua Titans, a new team in CLT20 history, beat the Perth Scorchers by a comprehensive 6 wickets in the opener. Another piece of news is that after several long days of debate and court trials, BCCI has terminated the Deccan Chargers franchise, and has opened bids for a new franchise. And this will definitely have an impact on the next IPL auctions, which should take place sometime in February or March. So now I’m going to conclude with some upcoming cricket. So until next time, adios. 😉

Aukland Aces vs Kolkata Knight Riders (Today, 8:00 PM IST) 

Sydney Sixers vs Yorkshire (Tomorrow, 4:00 PM IST) 

Chennai Super Kings vs Highveld Lions (Tomorrow, 8:00 PM IST) 

The West Indies ‘Gangnam Styled’ home

Unmukt Chand’s 27-ball 40 took DD to a competitive total

Moises Henriques’ fiesty 23-ball 49 helped The Sixers overcome CSK

Neil McKenzie’s 41-ball 64 carried the Highveld Lions home safely against MI

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