Goosebumps !  A Hitchcock movie like suspense was over.  India survived the late night scare batting of  the  England’s rookie all rounder Sam Curran  in the One- day series decider at Pune and the wafer thin run margin of victory by India tells the story.  And the man of the moment was India’s rookie left arm pacer Natarajan aka “ Yorker Nattu” who delivered  it.  

The usual razzmatazz  at Indian cricket stadiums was missing as the match was held in a closed door atmosphere and in a bio-bubble environment.

And the role of the reverses was conspicuous in this match as England spinners, including the part-timer Livingston joining the party with Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali to prevail upon India’s top order batsmen and India including a fourth seamer, Natarajan over a spinner to dent the hopes of England’s fancy to win this match.

When the ball was tossed to him to bowl by the Captain Kohli, “Nattu” without any inhibition took up the gauntlet . His agenda was clear.  He had to defend 14 runs as the series and the Trophy were on the line.  

Natarajan’s rusticity is a great appeal and his “never-say-die” spirit carried the day  as India clinched the Cliffhanger piping England at the post and romped home by just 7 runs to outclass World’s the No.1 One day team,  in the high octane the third and  final One-dayer played today at M.C.A. Stadium, Pune to win the glittering trophy with 2-1 margin.  England’s ODI series win in India is still eluding them since 1984-85.

The selection of the fourth seamer Natarajan  in the decider proved to be a masterstroke of the Captain. Natarajan playing only his second one day internationals , who was wayward in the earlier spells of the match volunteered  to bowl the ultimate over and proved his credentials as the “death” bowler as he held the nerves conceding just 6 runs  using his special weapon of armoury “Yorkers” ,  leaving the forlorn England team and its supporters  a heartburn.

The Indian dug-out at the stadium erupted in unison for the rambunctious  celebrations and the Indians fans glued to the idiot box cried in ecstasy in the nail-biting finish. 

Earlier in the day India put into bat in a belter pitch, took a cue out of England’s batting style as the Indian openers went hammer and tongs at England’s bowling and they put on  century partnership.  And there was a mini collapse in India’s camp as the top order caved in to the guiles of England’s spinners. The ship was steadied when the flamboyant Pant and the all rounder Hardik Pandya belted all the bowlers with 4 maximums and 5 boundaries each and a cameo by Thakur to set a formidable 329 runs. 

There was high drama as the see-saw battle of the match between two titans for supremacy in the white ball cricket unfolded along the expected lines as this Indian team led by the aggressive captain  came back from behind situations albeit with a narrow victory.  

In this decider match India’s uncanny and niggardly in giving runs, the suave bowler Bhuvneshkumar dented early hopes of England’s merry-making runs by castling the over-ambitious Jason Roy with a perfect in-swinger in the first over itself  and trapped the Hero of the last match, the enterprising Jonny Bairstow who was plumb in front of the wicket.

And Ben Stokes who was not as convincing as  in the last match played a pull shot off Natrajan’s short ball only to be held in by  the deep fine leg  fielder , the “Gabbar” Dhawan, who gleefully accepted the dolly and celebrated it with his customary “thigh lap” . So, the trio of England batsmen who were the demi-gods in the previous match have gone early today.

The resurrection of England’s innings bolstered by Malan and Livingstone didn’t last long and they were losing wickets in clusters.  Their partnership was broken by the new find pace bowler all rounder, Shardul Thakur who lured Livingstone with a full toss and he hit it straight to the bowler.  And Thakur also claimed the stand-in Captain Jos Buttler with a leg cutter who shuffled across without getting into the line of the ball and was plumb in front of the wicket.  And suddenly the panic has set in England’s camp.

Then came the defining knock by Sam Curran. Sam Curran played THOR in the mad run chase. The phlegmatic Pom’s all rounder played the life of his innings with the willow  with his career best 95 * of 83 balls though he couldn’t close the finish line. He took a cue and played a la Dhoni, his IPL Captain.  He batted very deep and took the game till the last ball. In fact he mentioned it early that the IPL experience with CSK team helped him to hone the skill to play in the sub-continent environments.  

And England scored a moral victory as the tail wagged valiantly and fought till the end to match India’s 329 runs to lose the match only by a whisker (7 runs)  with the surprising hero in Sam Curran  and held their head in high.


IND-ENG 1ST  ODI REVIEW  ( 23.3.21)

Courtesy :


Prasidh Krishna: “I didn’t start well. They went hard, but we took wickets in a cluster. I just wanted to hit good areas, I thought after the third over I can’t bowl full and hit the good lengths. I want to be called a hit-the-deck bowler, I’m better at it. I will go back, work on my lengths, and come back. I hope I can do it for the team for a long time.”

“Prasidh seals victory for India on Debut “ 

The debutant Prasidh Krishna, pace bowler grabbed the headlines with his impressive bowling as India closed in the victory in the 43rd ( 42.1) over today in the first ODI played at Pune ,bringing cheers to the team and indian fans all over the world.  And it was a “mixed” day for India as the two Debutants and experienced campaigners continued their relentless winning “mantra” in the ODI game also. 

Kohli’s magic with the toss went for a toss again as Morgan called it right and asked India to bat in perfect batting conditions.

India started the run making sedately as the openers Rohit and the Shikar Dhawan were grafting the runs.  The pair put up 64 runs in 15 overs before Rohit edged an outgoing delivery to Keeper.  And the skipper Kohli joined Shikar and they were merry with the bat. Dhawan  hit a six in the mid wicket region off Rashid and completed  his half century .  And  against England spinners Rashid & Moeen Ali  they were playing hot and cold as runs were flowing in  trickles.  Kohli helped himself with a half century( his 61st in ODI).  And when trying to force the run rate, he holed out to the deep square leg fielder.  Dhawan cut loose against England’s mainstay bowler Mark Wood, who again proved to be expensive. 

The early dismissal of Shreyas Iyer and the ‘GABBAR” Dhawan’s  magnificent knock of 98 runs whose penchant for  a pull off Stokes  ended in a dolly to Morgan at mid-wicket..  run rate of the team dipped as K.L. Rahul took some time to settle. 

 With the debutant left handed Krunal Pandya joining Rahul, suddenly the run rate surged as Rahul found his form  and both of them went after every bowler.   Rahul greeted Mark Wood with a humongous maximum. Their 50 runs partnership came in 31 balls and 100 runs in just 56 balls.  And the roller coaster batting of the Indian innings set up 317 runs with  the unbroken 6trh wicket partnership between Rahul & Krunal fetched 112 runs.   The unbeaten 62 by Rahul’s (  4×4 and 4x 6) and Krunal ‘s 58 runs  ( 7x 4 and 2 x 6) was the cornerstone for a healthy total.

 And Krunal hit  the fastest 50  for a debutant off just 26 balls.

The ginormous score of India seemed  to be a mincemeat as the English openers dovetailed and a flurry of boundaries were ubiquitous .  Both the openers went hammer and tongs and  their relentless attack was bewildering.  Jonny Bairstow was full of elements  and he was very severe against the rookie bowler, the debutant Prasidh.  Prasidh Krishna got a pasting  from Bairstow who hit him for a mouth watering 22 runs in his 3rd over including 2 sixes and two fours. As he couldn’t  find rhythm he was  held back from the firing line.  

Bhuvi only got some respite from the carnage as he maintained a tight leash.  The first 50 runs came from 40 balls.  And when another debutant the left arm spinner Krunal Pandya was introduced Jason Roy went after him clobbering two fours and one six.  Even Shardul Thakur was not spared as Bairstow flicked him for a six towards square leg boundary and a straight four. 

The runs were flowing in torrent and the carnage continued till the debutant Prasidh returning for the second spell  from Hill End, he immediately got  rid of  Jason Roy, who again got out in 40s, was brilliantly caught at point by the substitute fielder Suryakumar yadav after they put up a very healthy 135 runs in just 89 balls.  This put a brake on the run riot as Prasidh and Kuldeep conceded miserly runs.  In fact Prasidh got rid of a tentative Stokes at short cover for just 1 run.  It was a wicket maiden and a very good come back by Prasidh. 

 Though the asking rate was just under 6 runs an over, the England batsmen were panicking.  Thakur was canny in luring Bairstow, the mainstay for England with a slower ball and who was committed to that stroke holded out to the deep midwicket fielder for a well made 94 runs.  And in his next over Thakur’s double strike in the 25th over scalping the England Captain Morgan’s top edge to wicket keeper and trapping Jos Buttler on his pads was shell-shock to the England team.  Between 25 and 30 overs they scored just 16 runs and lost 3 wickets. They were losing wickets in the heap.  Bhuvi in his own inimitable style got rid of the wagging tails like Sam Curran and Adil Rashid and when Prasidh finally got rid of Tom Curran holing out at long on  and the game was over in the 43 over.  India romped home by 66 runs.

And the debutant Prasidh Krishna finished with 4 wickets conceding 54 runs made a record for himself as the first debutant claiming 4 wickets .

Shikar Dhawan for his blistering 98  runs ( 11x 4 & 2 x 6)  got the MOM award


  1. Newzealand won the first 2 ODIs played at Dunedin & Christchurch (newzealand) on 19/3/2021 & 23/3/2021 respectively against Bangladesh.  

 First ODI  – Bangladesh – 131.  NZL – 132/2 ( 21.2 Overs) – NZL won by 8 wkts

 2nd ODI – BG = 271/6. NZL – 275/5 ( 48.2 ) MOM : Tom Latham – 110* runs

  1. Afghanistan Vs Zimbabwe 2nd & 3rd T20I played at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi (U.A.E.) on 19/3/21 and 20/3/21.

2nd T20I – AFG- 193/5.  ZIM- 148 .  Afghanistan won by 45 runs

3rd T20I –  AFG – 183/7  ZIM- 136/5  Afghanistan won by 47 runs



Courtesy : Sportstar ( india’s celebration)

“ He starts like a Corolla and finishes like a Ferrari “ – Dinesh Karthik on Kohli’s batting.

Indian team’s think tank  two decisions paid off well today.  Kohli to open and including a sixth bowler, T. Natarajan was laudable. 

“Your best batsman should bat the most number of overs in limited-overs cricket. So it was very important for Virat Kohli to bat at the top of the order,” Gavaskar.

“joie de vivre “  King Kohli’s knock today( 20.3.21)  was both enchanting and reprising. His batting was a behemoth influence in the latter part of the T20 series.  Today his batting evolved around “ a wait and see” game as initially he played a second fiddle role  in the early stages of the game.

Morgan believed in his team’s batting depth and again asked India to bat first after winning the toss. 

And “ the Hitman”  Rohit straight away started attacking his two mainline bowlers viz., Archer and Mark Wood.  And he also didn’t spare the lone spinner Adil Rashid.  He lifted Rashid’s 2nd over straight six after surviving a LBW appeal.

Rohit wasted no time in attacking Mark Wood hitting 2 straight boundaries including a 150 km delivery.  Kohli who opened  for the first time since 2018 in a T20 matchI played a sheet anchor role just watching Rohit taking charge on the bowlers with his occasional boundaries.

The 6th over bowled by Mark Wood proved very expensive as both Kohli who hit a “Nataraja” shot over fine leg and the glee on his eye told all that and Rohit also pulled his short ball for a six.  Within Powerplay,India scored its highest 60 runs in this series without losing a wicket.  It was  not music to the ears of the England team.

And the run rioting of Rohit continued despite the bowling changes and no respite for the change bowlers.  Jordan, Sam Curran and Ben Stokes all bore the brunt of this rampage as the run rate hiking to 10 plus.  Rohit was chancing his arms as the balls were either falling short of the fielders or dropped including Wood’s valiant attempt to catch his miscued shot behind the keeper.  Rohit completed his half century in 30 balls.   Rohit was severe on Stokes lifting him for a straight six and four in the 9th over but Stokes had the last laugh. As Rohit in an ambitious drive off Stokes played on and bowled for 64 runs off just 32 balls with five sixes and 4 fours .

And another Mumbaikar SKY continued the run riot.  As in the very first over he faced, “SKY  hit it to sky “ as his two  mighty heaves off Rashid landed in the Long-on and Cover boundaries. It was a monstrous effort.   And there was a brief lull off Stokes over as India could manage only just 4 runs only in the 11th over. 

 But the 12th over of Jordan saw raining boundaries as Kohit one boundary and Suryakumar  Yadav hit him 3 consecutive boundaries including a yorker delivery between point and third man. In the next over Kohli lifted a Stokes delivery to long on.

The brilliant athletic effort of Jordon in the deep saw the exit of Yadav.  SKY lifted a Rasid delivery to long-on.  Jordan fielding in long-on position  sprinted like Usain Bolt and  caught the ball brilliantly and in running motion he relayed the ball in the air to Jason Roy before touching the boundary rope.

All rounder Hardik joined Kohli and rampaging continued unabated as Hardik Pandya swirled his bat getting boundaries at his will.  And the England captain was at his wits end.

Now It was Kohli’s turn to turn the heat on Pom’s bowlers as he hit 2 consecutive boundaries over deep square leg off Woods.  And this pair of Kohli & Hardik put 50 runs off just 28 balls. 

 And pounding continued in the penultimate over of  the hapless Jordan.  Hardik hit back to back sixes over backward square leg and midwicket and Kohli cleared the boundary between point and thirdman. 

And Kohli remained unbeaten with 80 runs studded with seven fours and two sixes off 52 balls.

 Hardik’s cameo knock of 39 of just 17 balls clearing boundaries four times and two mighty heaves over the ropes. And this unbroken 3rd wicket pair added 81 runs off just 44 balls and set up a big total of 224 runs.

Bhuvi started in style in his very first over bowling Jason Roy neck and crop with a beautiful in-swinger.

The Indian bowlers had a taste of batting prowess of  Dawid Malan, World’s No.1 T20 batsman and the effervescent Jos Buttler started the run feast.  Malan whose credentials was on the line cut loose against all indian bowlers.  He first hoicked Hardick’s delivery over the ropes of  square leg boundary and boundaries through midwicket and backward square leg.   Buttler took on the offie Washington Sunder, and hit him for 2 boundaries through Cover and long-on and he was immediately removed from the firing line.  

Natarajan, who was chosen in place of K.L. Rahul, playing his first game in India, conceded just 7 runs in his first over and Thakur giving away just 5 runs put brakes on the run slaughtering. But it was only a brief while as in the very next over of Rahul Chahar, Buttler effortlessly lifting him two mighty sixes. Their  insane run amassing continued with fours and sixes.

The 2nd wicket pair added 129 runs in just 72 runs and looked threatening to take away the game from India before  Kohli brought on the “Go to man” Bhuvi in the 13th over and who immediately lured Buttler with a beautiful inswinger and Buttler hit it straight to the throat of Hardik Pandya at long-off.  Bhuvi conceded just 3 runs in that over.

It was the turning point of the game as the asking run rate was mounting around 13 runs per over.

Shardul Thakur, whose intelligence leg cutter saw Bairstow holing out to sweeper cover fielder and also the prize wicket of Dawid Malan .  His knuckle ball saw Malan’s stumps re-arranged.  A fine knock of 68 runs came to an end.

England Captain caved in to the guiles of Hardik who hoodwinked with a short ball and was well held on long-on.   And the game was slipping out of England as Stokes edged Natarajan’s wide off side delivery and in the same over Archer was Runout.

Though Sam curran hit some lusty strokes in the last over of the game, it was too late as India won by 36 runs and also the series by 3-2 and lifted the PAYTM Trophy.  There were rambunctious celebrations by the players holding the trophy.  



Courtesy: Sportstar

The contest was over today at Motera stadium, Ahmedabad  as Jos Buttler’s sublime batting overshadowed Kohli’s pyrotechnics as the tourists romped home with 8 wickets and 10 balls to spare. 

England Captain Eoin Morgan should be a happy person today  as he matched his compatriot Test Captain Joe Root in that they both brought wins for their team in their 100th match in White ball and Red ball games respectively. 

“It nearly brought me to tears to be honest,” Morgan After his team won the 3rd T20I at the post-match presentation.

Morgan’s  comments of “Ayers Rock” look like the pitch on the eve of the match  proved to be misplaced and He himself was surprised to see the bounce and carry it offered to his bowlers, who exploited the chinks in the armoury of Indian batting as the Indian team crumbled to the pace trio of Mark Wood, Jofra Archer and Chris Jordan.  

Mark Wood, recovering from a bruised ankle ( who missed the 2nd match) who clocked between 140-150 kph dented India’s hope of a big score. His searing delivery rearranged a tentative  K.L. Rahul’s woodwork in his first over. The Punjab King’s Captain horrendous batting once again exposed his stumps to a pacy inducker and was bowled through the gates.  Rahul’s score in this series reads like binary numbers 1,0,0.  Indian captain and the batting coach Vikram Rathore  are on the same page about Rahul’s batting abilities concurring that he’s just one match away to find his form and his lean trot will be over soon and  asserted that he will continue to open with Rohit in the coming matches.

Rohit Sharma, the prolific scorer, who was “rested “ for 2 matches was all at sea against Jofra Archer, who was menacingly teasing him with his swing movements.  His reprieve of two caught and bowled chances off both Archer & Mark Wood didn’t prove costly as his premeditated leg side pull shot found the short fine leg fielder pouching the catch and he scored just 15 runs in his brief skittish stay.  The diminutive sensation of the last match Ishan Kishan was done in by a bouncer from Chris Jordan, whose  top edge shot landed in the glouse of the wicket keeper Buttler who ran 10 yards to take the catch.  It was 24/3 in the Power play succinctly explains the precarious situation of the team.

Pant joined his captain and a good partnership was brewing between them and nearly 50 runs were added before a hara-kiri was committed by Pant who ran for the non-existent 3rd run and was short of the crease by a yard.  Then Shreyas Iyer perished to a slash shot to a short ball from Wood and was held in the deep.  With all these hullabulla of falling wickets, Kohli found his mojo and  flourished with a flurry of strokes. 

Hardik Pandya joined his captain and they added 70 runs in 27 balls and it was the highest partnership of the indian innings and Kohli was unconquered with 77 runs of 8 fours and 4 sixes. Kohli took on every bowler including Mark Wood , who was the pick of the bowler and swatted him for 17 runs in the 18th over.

England started sedative  and the in-form Jason Roy went early to Chahal and Buttler and Malan added 58 runs before Malan was brilliantly stumped by Pant off Sundar.  In the meantime Chahal got stick from Buttler who clobbered him all along the ground with sweeps, heaves, drives.  Then Buttler turned his swirling attack on Thakur with pulls and drives.  He made up his poor form in this series with this brilliant knock.  He and Jonny Bairstow showed no mercy to any bowler.  Bairstow finished the game in style with back-to-back boundaries off Thakur  and England won the game by 8 wickets and 10 balls to spare and took lead in the series with 2-1.

Jos Buttler was named the Man of the Match for his quickfire 83* with 5 fours and 4 sixes.


Courtesy : Sportstar

The Cacophony of 1,00,000 spectators on a Sunday evening  in the Narendra Modi stadium did the trick and India won the 2nd T20 handsomely.

Ouch! Kohli did  a’ la’ Dhoni a flourish of a six into the long leg of the stadium  to seal a win in the 2nd T20I at Motera stadium yesterday night at Ahmedabad. The “Zombies Kick” worked again in the T20 series also after suffering the loss in the first T20I. 

Kohli led the chase holding one end and others prospered at the other end.  The horrendous batting form of K.L. Rahul continued today in the first over itself.  Then the other opener, the debutant, announced his arrival in the international arena hitting  a boundary off his legs in his very first ball off Jofra Archer and stole the show on a Sunday evening in the full capacity stadium. 

The young , diminutive debutant from Dhoni’s state Jharkhand did it today for India in the 2nd T20I at Motera stadium, Ahmedabad against England in the ongoing 5 match series. Ishan Kishan showed the glimpses of the Srilankan “ Matara Marauder”  Sanath Jayasuriya, who once played for the same franchise, Mumbai Indians. He didn’t show any nervousness as a debutant.   He had a wide range of strokes.  When the ball was pitched up he hit it to straight boundary , short balls were pulled and the sweep shot.  He treated all England bowlers with equanimity and no mercy at all.  His defining moment came when he smoked a straight six off Tom Curran.  He also hoisted back to back  2 sixes off Adil Rashid’s spinning deliveries.  He celebrated his first half century and he perished trying a reverse sweep of Rashid. His star studded half century included 5 fours and 4 sixes of just 32 balls.  In the company of his captain he added 93 runs in just 54 balls for the 2nd wicket, which ultimately turned out to be  the winning factor.

‘It’s not easy when you come here and play your first game. Mumbai Indians have taught me a lot. I’ve been there with so many senior players and they have given me very good advice. I don’t know if I’ll get this feeling again but I was feeling like ‘Finally I’m here.’ “  Ishan Kishan, debutant and MOM today,  at the presentation ceremony.

Pant’s cameo knock continued after a day’s off.  As his wont, he clobbered 2 sixes and 2 fours in his brief stay before holing out in deep cover.  Kohli remained unbeaten with 73 runs with 5 fours and 3 sixes and completed 3000 runs in T20 games.

Earlier after winning the toss, Kohli chose to field first.  In the very first over of the game  Bhuvanesh Kumar got rid of England’s wicket keeper Jos Buttler by wrapping him on the pads.  Dawid Malan and Jason Roy digged in quite some time and added 63 runs and this was the highest partnership for England  and afterwards the wickets were tumbled at regular intervals and Indian bowlers did well to restrict England to 164 with the last 5 years yielded just 34 runs and Washington Sundar, the offie, was the pick of the bowler scalping 2 wkts for 29 runs.

India romped home with 7 wickets in hand and 13 balls to spare to take the 5 match  series with 1-1  and with another 3 matches to go at the same venue next week.


  1. At Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi on the 5th day (13.3.21) Afghanistan chased 108 runs with 6 wickets to spare in the Second Test against Zimbabwe at their adopted Home ground (Abu Dhabi) and won the test and the 2 test series squared with 1-1. Zimbabwe won the first test at the same venue.

Brief scores : Afghanistan – 1st Innings = 545/4 decl ( Hashmatullah – 200 *; Asghar Afghan- 164 * )

Zimbabwe- 1st Inn- 287 ( Sikander Raza – 85; Rashid Khan 4/138)

Zimbabwe- Following on 2nd Inn- 365 (Sean Williams 151*; Rashid Khan 7/137)

Afg- 2nd Inn- 108/4 . Afghanistan won by 6 wickets

2. At Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound , St. Antigua, West Indies. West Indies won the 3rd ODI on 14.3.21 by 5 wickets against Srilanka and the series by 3-0.

3. At Bharat Ratna Shri A.B. Vajpayee Ekna Cricket Stadium, Lucknow (U.P.) in the ongoing 5 match ODI series between Indian Women and South African women, the S.A. team led the series with 3-1 and the 5th ODI to be played on 16.3.21.



Courtesy :

Kohli, the captain , who’s bereft of runs across formats,  and yet to score a century in 37 matches and with 5 ducks to his name, found wanting in batting is to be rested.  Instead of that he rested the in-form premier batsman Rohit Sharma for the T20 series opener at Narendra Modi stadium, Ahmedabad.  It was a preposterous decision.  The “hitman” who is in sublime form and he’s the best opening batsman of the country, especially in the shorter format cooling heels in the  dug-out  was really awful to see. Incidentally the Captain announced in the pre-match press meeting that “Rohit and Rahul will open the innings”.

In fact the decision of ” resting” Rohit  was criticised by the legendary opening batsmen Virender Shewag and “Cheeka” Srikkanth ( on his youtube channel).  Both of them slammed the “resting” decision saying the decision may boomerang the outcome of the series and they especially questioned the timing of the “ rest” of Rohit in the first game itself.

The irony was when one of the media persons(in the post match session) asked some of his decisions, he got annoyed.  And this is not the first time Kohli took some ludicrous decisions like this before also like “ resting”  India’s best pace bowler Bumrah in the second Test at Chennai against England recently.

After winning the toss yesterday in the first T20I , the astute England captain asked India to bat in helpful conditions.  And Jofra Archer , the lanky seamer exploited the pitch conditions well along with his compatriot speedster  Mark Wood.  Both of them didn’t give any leeway for Indian batsmen to dominate.  And in a heap, India lost top 3 batsmen, including Kohli for a duck before Pant , who was promoted up the order took some control albeit briefly.  Pant’s penchant for some audacious shots saw him again reverse sweeping a pace bowler and this time it was off Archer.  His cameo innings ended  as Archer had the last laugh when tried to take on his short ball only to find a fielder in deep pouching it gleefully.  And Shreyas Iyer played a waiting game in the middle of the rubble with an half century and Hardik Pandya chipping in with some useful runs, added respectability to the total as the Barbadian born Archer finished with 3 wickets with miserly runs.

And England chasing a paltry 125 runs, gave a rollicking start with Jason Roy cutting loose all Indian bowlers and Buttler also joining the party putting 72 runs for the first wicket  and  later on Dawid Malan & Jonny Bairstow gave finishing touches  without any hiccups to the game with Dawid Malan lifting W. Sundar’s delivery for a straight six  and the Poms romping home with 8 wickets in 15.3 overs.



Photo courtesy :

As the T20 World cup round the corner later this year to be hosted by India, the stakes are high for all the teams to play their best XI .  India after their roaring success in the Tests with England, wants to give England run for their money in the five T20 series starting tonight (12th March 2021) at Narendra Modi stadium, Ahmedabad.  Of course, it is a different ball game and the teams chosen for T20 also are different.

India and England have won 7 each between them in this format.  England with the best team in this format wants to prove a point.  India with their recent success in Newzeland and Australia last year is not lagging behind England and the “Home” conditions advantage is also there for India.

Though the two Tests played recently here have been spinners’ paradise , the same cannot be said for a T20I match.  In the recent SMAT Tournament played here, it was batsmen who ruled the roost and the pitch seldom helped spinners. 

As for the team composition India have to do some tinkering both in batting and some jugglery in bowling and they want to go with 6 batsmen and 5 bowlers.  Risabh Pant who’s the talk of the town with flourishing strokes at his armoury, is a blue-eyed boy of the Indian team who will be donning the gloves.  On the eve of the T20 series at the press meeting Captain Kohli already cleared the air informing that Rohit and Rahul will open the batting. And though Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan have been added to T20 squad they  have to cool their heels for some time as Indian team think tanks want to go with the already well set batsmen like Shreyas Iyer, Hardik Pandya, a pinch hitter. And for bowling since T. Natarajan is a doubtful starter niggling with injury and Captain Kohli who is always a stickler with fitness regimen, Shardul Thakur will make a cut into the XI with his hard hitting with the bat and the fully fit Bhuvanesh kumar and Saini will form the pace bowling and  spinnersChahal and Washington Sundar will complete the bowling unit.

England Captain Morgan gets his best team with no selection blues.  Even the garrulous Michael Vaughan in a pre-match analysis made this point saying that Morgan always gets his best playing XI unlike his counterpart in Tests,  Joe Root.  So, Morgan will go for his well set team which won recently with Pakistan.  With Jason Roy to open Jos Buttler  with Jonny Bairstrow ( who had a horrible outing in the Test series in India) and the in-form  Dawid Malan, (who was recently chosen for the IPL team auction for 4.5 crores) and Morgan himself the batting unit is well settled with  Ben Stokes and Jordan the two all rounders in the ranks.  Jofra Archer  with niggle in his thighs may be sidelined and Mark Wood in all likelihood spearhead the pace bowling attack with Sam curran.  And with the return of Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid the spinning unit may pose problems for Indians.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed for a pulsating T20 series at Motera stadium. 




The Calypso King walked the walk,  head held in high, jaws chewing gum with his paraphernalia sans shield with roaring applause from his subjects.  His armoury includes a Slazenger bat, a maroon cap. After surveying the field, taking guard and getting ready for the battle.  No choreographer, with arc lights and deafening sound effects would have improved upon his natural entrance as this King did.  

The King would walk a few yards down the battle arena  and see the opponent in the eye.  And the battle lines are drawn. The opponent hurled the weapon at a high speed and the King menacingly charged  forward and the missile disappeared  at double the speed into the pavilion much to the chagrin of the opponent.  And his subjects’ thundering applause rent the air.  And the King was elated and ready for the next missile.  The King is none other than the “Blaster” Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards and the battlefield is the Cricket ground.

The King Richards made his international debut against India at Bangalore way back in 1974-75 under the leadership of Clive Lloyd.   And in his very next Test, Richards exploded with his willow in a blistering attack  hit a magnificent 192 runs.  In 1976, Richards scored a whopping 1710 runs at an average of 90 with 7 centuries from 11 Tests.  It remained a record for 3 decades, until it was  broken by Mohamed Yousuf in 2006. 

 He was  predominantly a front-foot player .He was able to plant that left foot outside the line of off stump, at once eliminating lbw and creating his own leg stump line from where he would flick bowlers relentlessly through midwicket and he seldom missed the line and the bowlers running the risk of being hit. 

For many who grew up in the Caribbean during the 70s and 80s, totally taken by the great game and the great team, there was nobody like the broad-shouldered Antiguan. Nobody had ever strode onto the scene and played with such audacity and aplomb. We doted on his every stroke.

 His century off 56 balls at St. Antigua in 1986 against England is still the fastest ever century in Tests. The hapless English bowlers bore the brunt of the savage batting.

I read somewhere once that it was worth the price of admission to see Frank Worrell walk to the middle. The same  could be said of Richards for his measured walk to the middle, often accompanied by thunderous cheers, was enough to ruffle many a bowler.

Chewing gum was an ever-present part of the West Indian’s armour.  In fact he said in an interview in a lighter vein that it was a surprise for him that no chewing gum company approached him to endorse their product. 

No matter the ferocity of the bowler he faced it was the bowler who was more likely to be daunted, not Richards. His mannerisms in the middle suggested he was the cynosure and everyone else there playing looked pale.

His career best test innings came in The OVAL , London in 1976 when he hit a mammoth 291 runs clobbering English bowlers all around the ground with 38 boundaries and he forgot to hit a six in this knock.  When he was asked which shot he remembers dearly, he told in a lighter vein, “Yeah, the one I got out to Tony Greig ” he says. “The ball I got out to, I can remember, I went to drive and maybe a little tiredness would have maybe set in, and I wasn’t quite to the pitch. Got a little inside edge and got bowled. Tony behaved like he had got me out for nought, you know?”.

In ODIs, Richards had a strike rate of 90+ when he retired, a feat which wasn’t too easy in those days. He was part of the World Cup winning West Indies sides of 1975 and 1979.  

In the 1975 World Cup though he didn’t do much well, but the rookie player with his athletic reflexes helped his team with 3 brilliant Run-outs in the Final with Australia  and West Indies won the World Cup with just 17 runs.  

In the 1979 World Cup Finals against England Richards scored a brilliant century (138 runs) and won the World Cup for the second time.

The name Viv Richards is often associated with his destructive batting style (and rightly so), but not many remember him as one of the best captains for West Indies. In the period between 1985 and 1991, when he was the captain for 50 Tests, West Indies never lost even a single Test series.

 He was also widely respected for refusing a blank-cheque offer to play for the rebel West Indies tour to South Africa during the Apartheid period in 1983-84.

Richards also played international football for Antigua, having represented them in the qualifying matches for the 1974 World Cup

In 1994, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to cricket [Source: Wikipedia]

Richards had a brief affair with Indian actress, Neena Gupta and fathered a child – named Masaba.

The Sir Vivian Richards Stadium is a cricket stadium in North Sound, Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda, which is named in honour after him. It was built for use in the 2007 Cricket World Cup.

His son, Mali also took to cricket like a fish to water but has very little to show for when compared to the stellar feats of his father. Mali, a left handed batsman, has represented Middlesex and Leeward Islands.

In the ICC Cricket World Cup 1983, he  was out hooking and no other India fielder other than Kapil could have taken that catch. It showed the belief in him. India won and he will never forget the celebrations at the hotel that night. There were tablas and drums, dancing and everything, and I didn’t feel too disappointed. When you beat the world champions twice in one tournament, you deserve to win it.

Thanks for those vivid  memories Viv Richards and wish you a happy birthday!



Courtesy :

“I think the first Test in Chennai would have been different if we had a few more days off,” Shastri in an interview with broadcaster Star Sports. “It’s no excuse; England outplayed us there. The boys were like zombies. They were tired, and the fact that there were no crowds didn’t help. Because everything was flat. So was the performance. But then a kick on the backside to re-ignite the pride in the system can make a lot of difference. And it showed in the last three Tests.”  – Head coach Ravi Shastri 

“I think the guys have to embrace what’s happened,” Joe Root. “They have to understand it and be realistic. There are areas we can get better at. We would be stupid to come away from this trip and say: ‘it was the extreme conditions, the ball was spinning and skidding on, and it was impossible to bat’. “That would be the wrong attitude. We need to come away from here and say: ‘You know what, there are lots of things that we can get better at.’ – Joe Root at the end of the match.  

This succinctly explained how they caved in with quality spin bowling on their tour this time as India outsmarted the Poms with an Innings & 25 runs win in this Test and  a stunning 3-1 series win and lifting the Anthony de Mello Trophy.  This Test also not lasted 5 days and ended  just in 3 days.

And now India will be joining with New Zealand  for the summit clash for the inaugural WTC Title championship to be held at Lord’s in June 2021.


Indian gloveman the young diminutive  Rishab Pant’s fusillade against the English bowlers changed the tide of the 4th Test played at Motera stadium, Ahmedabad on the 2nd day.  His 113 runs 7th wicket partnership with Washington Sundar was breathtaking and it tilted the game in India’s favour as India was tottering at 146/6 when Washy joined him. The swashbuckling  Century knock a la GABBA knock recently ( First century at home  and 3rd Test century) by Pant especially the reverse sweep off James Anderson was audacious and there was subtle admiration by the World’s No.1 pace bowler, was a treat to watch.   Pant deservedly won the MAN OF THE MATCH award.


Anderson gobsmacked as Pant hits one of the most bonkers shots in Test cricket history.  The audacity of this shot of reverse sweeping the world’s highest wicket taking pace bowler has sent shockwaves to England players as they watched with awe this classic act.

“The way Rishabh bats makes it very, very difficult for bowlers to build pressure and set fields sometimes,” Root said. “When he pulls out a reverse sweep to a guy with 600 Test wickets, it’s quite a skill and quite a brave move to do.”

“He was quite cautious at the beginning, then he actually flourished the way we know Rishabh Pant [can]” – Rohit Sharma praises one of Pant’s finest Test knock

Fear doesn’t exist in his dictionary. U r God’s gift to cricket. God bless u always @RishabhPant17 #INDvENG #RishabhPant – Manoj Tiwary

Sourav Ganguly


How good is he? Unbelievable..what a knock under pressure…not the first time and won’t be the last time..will be an all time great in all formats in the years to come.keep batting in this aggressive manner .that’s why will be match winner and special..@bcci @RishabhPant17

What a terrific century by @RishabhPant17 when Team India needed it the most! Never seen such destruction by a keeper since Gilly #ENGvIND #pant #TeamIndia – Kris Srikkanth


The ace spinner, Ashwin together with the new find left arm spinner Axar Patel  got into coalescing act and spun a web around England batsmen who were bamboozled and in “congo line” marched towards pavilion succumbed to guiles of the two spinners. Only Dan Lawrence in both innings and Ben Stokes in the first innings made a semblance of fight .  Ashwin in his “Prima Donna” demolished England with his veritable variety and Axar Patel also seized the opportunity bowled in tandem with Ashwin.  Axar’s dream debut defined his wily craft and in helping conditions used it to the hilt.  Ashwin with his 32 wickets in the series was named the “MAN OF THE SERIES” for the 8th time in Tests.  And Axar Patel with 27 wickets in 3 tests is the find of the series.

The “never-say-die”  Washington Sundar, the young budding talent from Tamilnadu was full of his elements, driving, cutting, sweeping all around the ground and spared no bowler including Anderson .  His phlegmatic approach is the hallmark quality and alas he was left stranded at 96 runs when the indian innings closed.  His century partnerships with Pant and Axar Patel turned out to be crucial for India to take such a big lead of 160 runs.   Rohit Sharma played a crucial knock thwarting the efforts of new ball bowlers domination in the early part of the innings.

For England their batting let them down again in this Test also as after winning the Toss were bundled out just for 205 runs in the first innings with only Ben Stokes scoring an half century and Dan Lawrence’s obdurate innings was the consolation. And after putting a mammoth total of 365 runs by India, again their batting faltered and a meek surrender handed over India an Innings victory. 

SUNIL GAVASKAR’s 50th Year of his Debut Celebration

Courtesy :

 Along with this Test, there was a celebration in the ground of Golden Jubilee of Sunil Gavaskar’s debut in international cricket.  It was on this day 50 years ago, on March 6, 1971, that  the “ Little Master “ Sunil Manohar Gavaskar made his test debut at Port of Spain (West Indies) and made headlines with his 774 runs in the series, a world record till now for a debutant. 

 It was a fitting tribute to honour him at Ahmedabad from where he hit the world’s first 10,000 Test runs. There was jubilation in the ground  and the spectators holding a cloth banner in the stands with the words “ 50th Year of the Debut “  to mark the occasion and the crowds cheered him for his contribution to Indian cricket team.  Sunny thanked everyone who recollected his laurels in Test cricket.  His walkathon with the memento presented by the BCCI Secretary around the ground bowing down to the crowd speaks volume about this man’s love for the game.  Sunny used to say he always takes pride in playing for the country.  A player worthy to emulate.


  • At St. John’s, West Indies  in the 2nd T20I it was the turn of the touring Srilankans inflicting a defeat to the hosts, West Indies with 43 runs  with the spinners ruling the roost especially the wily  leg spin bowler Hasaranga de silva chipping in with 3 wickets conceding 17 runs ably supported by Sandkan.
  • And at Wellington, New Zealand  in the decider of 5 match T20 Series with Australia , the home team romped home with 7 wickets with their Opener Guptil hitting a powerful 71 runs and take the series with 3-2.  



Picture courtesy : PTI

As the Test series draws closer with the fourth and  final Test  being played today ( at Motera, Ahmedabad,  the England players want to end the first leg of the tour on a winning note to salvage their prestige. Their alter  ego was dented a few days back when their 2nd innings folded like a club team( with no offences to KP’s “B” grade team and Panesar’s club cricket remarks)  at the same ground as the Indian spinners weaved a web of spin bowling around their batting line up. And Indian camp is equally upbeat to sign off on a winning note  to stake  a claim in WTC Final to be played in June at Lords.

The pitch for the 3rd test was the talk of the town as the English people don’t relish being humiliated by such a defeat .  Right from KP, Vaughan ( who hardly played in Indian pitches except two tests)  trolled in social media about Indian pitches  and in a column in “ Daily Telegraph “, Simon Heffer,  a famous U.K.  a journalist and author of some biographies even suggested that the wickets taken in the match (Ahmedabad) should be disregarded by the Wisden Almanack.  In a similar vein, will  they accept to obliterate their own countryman off spinner  Jim Laker’s record of  19 wickets at Old Trafford, Manchester way back  in 1956 against Aussies as that pitch was “doctored” to suit their bowling as confided by the then Curator ?.

And till now England players made no qualms about the pitch.  Only the English media and some former players whinged  about the pitches in India.

On the eve of the 4th Test Indian captain Virat  answering media personnel made a subtle remark that the inept batting by players was  the sole cause for the test ending in two days.  He also parried the question of playing spin bowling. He informed that Indian team never cribs about pitches when they play outside India.

Despite the hullabaloo about the pitch, the Indian camp wants to play the 4th Test on a pitch which will help their spinners and England players are also aware of this fact and practiced to negate the Indian spinners domination.  

On team composition India may indulge in a couple of changes bringing in Umesh Yadav in place of Bumrah, who opted out and Kuldeep Yadav in place of Washington Sundar as the Poms are struggling against left arm spinners.

For England selection blues may be haunting them as they misread the pitch in the third test and selected players on the premise that it may help pace bowling in the twilight conditions.  It is obvious that they may also bring in some changes while playing 2 spinners viz., Leach and Bess making a cut by sacrificing one of their pace trio.  Their batsmen have to step up as only Joe Root has 40+ average in this series and put up a commanding total for the bowlers to dictate terms.  It’s an arduous task given the present dispensation. 

India has not lost a home Test series since 2012 and so odds are against England.

Let’s enjoy the cacophony at Motera again today. 


At Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.  Zimbabwe prevailed upon Afghanistan, the minnows in the Test arena and beat them comprehensively under two days by 10 wickets on 3.3.2021

At Wellington (Newzeland), Aussies won the 3rd T20 I yesterday convincingly after posting a mammoth total of 208 runs and restricting the Kiwis with 144 runs to stay alive in the 5 match series.

At Antigua ( West Indies), the home team won massively against the visiting Srilankans by 4 wickets after their Captain was mercilessly hitting 6 sixes off Akila Dhananjaya, whose hat trick was put in a shade.