Different Stories, Same Ending

Image Courtesy: AFP
South Africa beat India in Centurion to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-Test series.

It happened once again, only the margin of defeat got wider-from an achievable 72 runs to a yawning 135 runs, the twin defeats not only cost Indian Cricket team a chance to win a series abroad, but also raised questions about the team’s ability to perform outside its comfort zone of home turf. Adding trouble to the woes, it was not the expert pacers Dale Steyn or Van Philander who did the damage but relative newbies like Rbada and Ngidi who ripped apart the much famed Indian batting line up.

Now fans have always enjoyed the dominance of India over Sri Lanka in the repetitive home and away (in Sri Lanka) series, but some of them have always questioned about the ability of likes of Rohit Sharma and Ashwin to prove their mettle abroad. Their doubts just proved to be true.

The consecutive, convincing test defeats handed the second overseas series defeat to captain Kohli besides putting question marks over team selection along with individual performances. Ajinkya Rahane, who has pulled India out of unpleasant situations more than once, was dropped unceremoniously even after Rohit Sharma failed in first test. Cheteswar Pujara, normally a solid middle order player found himself struggling under new conditions, while the openers Vijay, Rahul and Dhawan never looked comfortable against the opposition attack.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who took five wickets in first test and faced more balls than any other batsman was dropped for Ishant Sharma, someone who did not had a great time in recent past with the ball. Also, Saha was replaced by Parthiv Patel (due to injury) who let some chances fly past him.Hardik Pandya, dismissed by ridiculous mistake, and was left wanting with his role with bat and ball. Only Kohli managed to avoid a complete whitewash with his innings of 153.

India now have  not won against South Africa, Australia, England or New Zealand since 2014.The fact that India did not arrive early enough in South Africa to play practice matches and get acquainted with the pitches does speak of the confidence of the team, but it is now turning out to be cocky confidence instead of pragmatic confidence. Also, the ability to bowl long spells accurately by Indian seamers seems to have been paled by better performance by their counterparts.

With the troika of Dravid, Laxman and Tendulkar gone India seemed to have found able replacement in likes of Kohli, Pujara and Rahane along with having a bench of good seamers and spinners-Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Hardik Pandya along with Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav. But the best performance of these people have come at docile, friendly pitches and a big series win overseas still remains a distant dream. For Both captain Kohli and Coach Shastri the third test at Durban will be an acid test.

A win will at least validate their point regarding team selection and tactics, a defeat will once again put the tag of paper tigers abroad on the team. At the moment, the hands of these two men are full-they have to not only select the right team, but to make sure that the boys gather back their self-belief and fulfil their roles with more than expected commitment.

South Africa defeat India by 135 runs at Centurion; register a series victory

Debutant seamer Lungi Ngidi celebrates the dismissal of Indian batsmen during the 2nd innings of the Centurion test
AFP

South Africa defeated India by 135 runs during the second test at Centurion. With this, they have also registered a series victory. The loss marked an end to India’s nine series unbeaten run.  

Indomitable at their home turf, Indian batsmen failed to stand up against South African seamers. During the post-match presentation, Indian Skipper Virat Kohli held the batsmen accountable for the loss. He stated that the “bowlers were up to the mark and did their job pretty well”. 

Chasing a target of 287, the Indian batting line-up collapsed. Rohit Sharma’s 47 was the only noteworthy contribution. India could only manage a total of 151. 

Revenge was served since India had whitewashed South Africa 3-0 in 2015.  

Lungi Ngidi proved to be a valuable find for South Africa. The debutant managed to pick up 6 wickets for 39 runs in 12.2 overs. He became the sixth South African pacer to register a five-wicket haul on debut.  

Indian skipper Virat Kohli led from the front with a knock of 153 runs during the first innings. It was a record-breaking knock as Kohli became the only captain after Sachin Tendulkar to register a ton on the South African soil. He was all praise for the Proteas and felt that ‘they got what they deserved’.  

Sources: The Indian Express, The Hindu

Watching Virat Kohli bat in South Africa – when TNT meets Dynamite

Image Courtesy: BCCI
After Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli first India captain to score a Test century in South Africa.

Scoring 153 runs out of team total of 307 is no mean feat, especially when you are batting in tablelands of centurion and likes of Rabada and Morkel breathing down your neck. Add on to the pressure of being the captain, wrong team selection and a hostile press back home-not to speak of the Himalayan expectations of the fans.

But, Virat Kohli is no ordinary batsman or a captain or a mortal being. His intensity during his stay at crease is akin a mixture of rage and performance. It’s like accelerating a sports car towards its peak speed, for hours. Watching a cricket test match almost after a year, partly due to predictable India- Sri Lanka Series had and partly due to absence of any good competition, it was certainly a treat to the senses. And what a sight it was to see Kohli in his elements on a sunny day in South Africa. Not only he took Indian side to a respectable total, he also stamped his authority over the African soil- thereby silencing his critics regarding his batting technique-at least for a while.

But more than his batting skills, what highlighted Kohli’s stay at field was his never ending enthusiasm. He jumped in the air as he crossed past 100 mark, only to return back for an extra run gifted by an overthrow-all in less than 10 seconds. He applauded every time his partner at other end hits a four and slapped his bat to his pad when a wicket falls. It looked that his veins would burst out when Hardik Pandya ran himself out in a stupid manner.

He played shots by dragging himself wide due to lack of movement in the pitch, almost repeating his Cape Town action, but this time he pulls them through elegance. The fact that his strike rate his over 70 and he has faced just under 45% of balls that the whole team has faced, with a contribution of over 50% to the total score speaks volumes about his skill.

It almost seems that Virat is undoing all his mistakes for himself and the others. He seems to cover up for everything by his batting – constant failures of Rohit Sharma, dropped catches by Parthiv, poor deliveries bowled by Shami and yet stay at the crease with all his grit to partner with Ashwin to hit the three figures. He might have made his mistakes of field too-poor team selection, wrong fielding placements, but today on 15th January, 2018, Kohli makes South Africa fight for every minute he stays on the field. Who says the enfant terrible of Indian Cricket can’t put up a show in Dark Continent?

P.S.- Almost an hour after the end of his innings, Kohli breached ICC Code of Conduct for fair play, by disagreeing with the umpire and stomping the ball to the ground. He was fined, yet again, 25% of his match fee for his over-aggressive behaviour.

JP Duminy quits test cricket

South African batsman JP Duminy announced his retirement from test cricket today, however, he also mentioned that he will continue playing the smaller version of the game. Duminy has scored 2000+ runs in 46 Tests at an average of 32.85. He said, “Test cricket has always been the pinnacle and I’ve been fortunate enough to experience some memorable highlights with the Proteas”.

Lately, in 2017 Duminy has been wobbly with his performance with the bat against New Zealand and did not perform well in the limited over games against Sri Lanka. The Delhi Daredevil batsman also opted out of the 10th edition of IPL citing “personal reasons”. Critics believe that Duminy was not able to convert the hidden talent inside of him into runs. He always remained susceptible to the short ball and off-spinners.

In total Duminy scored six hundreds in total, which came when the Proteas needed it the most. He would surely be remembered for his innings at Melbourne where the Kangaroos had reduced the Proteas to a pale 184/7 against their massive total of394. Duminy played alongside Dale Steyn for eight hours and managed to provide 64 runs lead to the visiting team.

With world cup two years down the line, retiring from the test cricket and focusing on the shorter format of the game, seems to be a wise decision.

Sources-

  1. Hindustan Times- http://www.hindustantimes.com/cricket/jp-duminy-south-africa-all-rounder-announces-retirement-from-test-cricket/story-mD9yscY2BVFPM4juOp6wJK.html

 

  1. Firstpost- http://www.firstpost.com/firstcricket/sports-news/jp-duminy-retires-from-tests-as-a-player-who-personified-elegance-but-dogged-by-glaring-flaws-4050947.html

 

  1. Cricbuzz- http://www.cricbuzz.com/cricket-news/97120/south-africa-cricket-team-allrounder-jp-duminy-announces-retirement-from-test-cricket-reports

 

Image Source-

http://www.hindustantimes.com/rf/image_size_960x540/HT/p2/2017/07/24/Pictures/britain-england-south-africa-cricket_23f944e4-7097-11e7-a1e4-b67c25a49489.jpg

Alviro Petersen banned for 2 years over match fixing charges

Former South African opening batsman Alviro Petersen has been sentenced a two year ban by the Cricket South Africa over admitting to breaching CSA’s anti-corruption code.

Petersen is the sixth player to be banned following the surfacing of a corruption scandal. He attempted to fix South Africa’s domestic T-20 matches in season 2014-15. The first cricketer to be taken action against in this case is Ghulam Bodi, who has been banned for 20 years in January this year.

There is possibility of more players being charged, as investigations are still going on; meanwhile Petersen has admitted to 13 breaches of anti-corruption law. Among which there are serious charges of –

  1. Failing to disclose details of engagement in corrupt conduct (four charges)
  2. Failing to disclose full details of evidence involving other players (four charges)
  3. Destroying evidence relevant to the investigation.

CSA has withdrawn other charges relating to match fixing, accepting bribe or reward.

The two year ban is already in effect from November 12 this year, the day he was suspended due to the charges laid against him. Earlier in November 14, he had denied all charges levelled against him.

36 year old Petersen has apologised to his country, club and fans saying that he deeply regrets to have participated in these activities, and understands that he needs to take the responsibility for his actions. He accepts the punishment that CSA has imposed on him.

Sources – espncrcinfo,cricbuzz,firstpost

Image sources from – Getty images

 

Hockey-Junior World cup 2016: India enters Quarters

A well-planned game has brought India into quarters of the Men’s Junior Hockey World Cup as they defeated South Africa by 2-1 at Major Dhyan Chand Stadium last evening. As the hosts secured their place in the quarter-finals, the team has made sure that they storm into the knock-out stages unbeaten. Captain Harjeet Singh and his team hold the honor of having won both previous Pool D matches against England and Canada.

The first goal came for India in the eleventh minute of the game, as the captain crushed the defense put up by South Africa. The spirited South Africa equalized the game by the end of the first half as Kyle Lion-Cachet made an important contribution by scoring a goal.

The second half started with a tie at 1-1, and tension to score a goal to gain lead hit both the playing teams. The 55thminute of the match became a moment for India as the team in blue scored a field goal hit by Mandeep Singh. The scoreboard surged to 2-1 and India managed to save the goal post from the guests in the remaining match leading to their win.

The man who scored the crucial goal, Mandeep Singh, was presented “Man Of the Match”.

SOURCES : Business Standard, ANI

Image Source : PTI

Pistorius to go for Psychotherapy: Parole board

South Africa’s parole review board, on Tuesday, recommended psychotherapy for Oscar Pistorius, the Paralympian, for murdering his girlfriend. The board also rejected the plea for his release from the prison even 10 months after his sentence.
The 28 year-old had been sentenced to five years in prison for the homicide. The review panel which reviewed the parole board’s prior desicion on the issue to let the athlete out and retain him on house arrest was “premature” and asked the parole board to reconsider their desicion.
Psychotherapy as a probable solution for the convicted was recommended by the parole review board in order to find out of the root cause or the reasons for him committing the crime.
Pistorius was found guilty for the culpable homicide of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp who was a model and a law graduate on Valentines day in 2013. He had defended himself in front of the courts by declaring that he shot her through a locked bathroom door, mistaking her for an impostor.
Prosecutors are likely to take the case to South Africa’s Supreme Court on November 3 to convict him for murder which might bring him a harsher sentence.