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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Dhoni delivers World Cup Glory for India

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni promoted himself to No. 5 and hit an unbeaten 91 from 79 balls to steer India to glory against Sri Lanka in the 2011 World Cup final in Mumbai, ending a 28-year-long wait for the Indians.

It was the final match up that a brilliant 2011 World Cup deserved, arguably the two best sides in the the tournament who were well matched in all departments were set up to battle it out in front of a huge global audience as India aimed to end 28 years of World Cup hurt. Sri Lanka had found their way to the final with a crushing 10 wicket hammering of England in the Quarter-Final and a tighter 5 wicket win over the tournament's surprise package in New Zealand.

India however had not had it all their own way en route to the final. They had to dig deep and overcome a Ricky Ponting century to beat Australia by 5 wickets in the quarter final before the amazing occasion for the semi-final in Punjab against old rivals Pakistan. It was Sachin Tendulkar's 85 and an all-round effort with the ball that saw the home side score a 29 run win and seal their spot in Mumbai.

And so came the final, a sold-out Wankhede Stadium, billions watching worldwide and it was Sri Lanka for whom everything seemed to be going swimmingly well at first. After winning the toss and opting to bat, Sri Lanka reached a formidable 274 for 6 courtesy a truly sublime century from Mahela Jayawardene. Lasith Malinga removed Virender Sehwag for a duck and then silenced the Wankhede Stadium crowed with the wicket of Sachin Tendulkar for 18. But Dhoni, who had scored only 150 runs in seven innings prior to the final, was determined to rewrite the script.

The Moment

Tillakaratne Dilshan took a brilliant catch off his own bowling to remove Virat Kohli for 35 and leave a somewhat nervous India at 114 for 3. Yuvraj Singh, who was in Man of the Tournament form was expected to walk in next at his usual No. 5 position. But it was the captain himself that made his way out to the middle.

With Gautam Gambhir going well at the other end, Dhoni took his time getting set. For the first ten overs, Dhoni didn't even hit a single boundary. He ran the ones and twos hard and maintained the run-rate. But just as Gambhir began to flag, Dhoni shifted gears instantaneously, piercing the gaps with ease. Even an ailing back wasn't going to deter him.

While Gambhir fell for 97, Dhoni remained unflappable as ever. An upper-cut six over point was just a glimpse of what was in store for Sri Lanka. When it all boiled down to 27 required of 24 balls, Dhoni pummeled three boundaries to reduce it to 5 off 12. Yuvraj ran a single and a nation held it's breath as it stood on the verge of a second World Cup victory.

MS Dhoni gave the crowd the fairytale ending they were waiting for, finishing the game with a majestic six. Dhoni held his pose as he watched the ball, Yuvraj began to celebrate before the ball had even gone for six and the man they call Captain Cool had sealed his place in history.
"If we hadn't won, I would have been asked quite a few questions: why no Yuvraj, why did I bat ahead? That pushed me and motivated to do well. The pressure had got to me in the previous games. In this game, I wanted to bat up the order and Gary (Kirsten) backed me. I had a point to prove to myself."

O'Brien makes history in Ireland's most famous night

March 2nd 2011 is a date that will live in Irish sporting folklore, as Kevin O’Brien put cricket on the front pages in the emerald isle with a stunning win over England. His century from 50 balls in Bangalore was the fastest-ever in World Cup history.
England was carrying all the momentum after an exciting tied match with India as Tendulkar and Strauss traded tons to share the points in Bangalore. Ireland had handed Pakistan a shock defeat in the 2007 World Cup and progressed to the Super 8 Stage in their debut appearance. In 2011, they held great hopes for the event but were disappointed to lose their opening game despite being on top for much of the game against co-hosts Bangladesh.

The English Batsmen were on a roll, and despite a slowdown in the death, it posted a formidable 327 for 8 in Bangalore that to Trott & Bell's 177 run partnership leading the way. Few expected the Associate Member to cause an upset against their neighbours England, and Ireland looked to be staring down the barrel of a defeat especially when they lost half-way their wickets for just more than a hundred runs.


Kevin O’Brien with his hair dyed pink in aid of a charity – came in with Ireland floundering at 106 for 4, things only looking worse soon after at 111 for 5 in the 25th over when Gary Wilson fell LBW to Graeme Swann. But this was the man who had played his first ODI match against England in 2006, and taken the wicket of Andrew Strauss, the captain then, off his first-ever ball. It was obvious he had a liking for playing against the English and with his side

The boundaries rained down at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, starting from the second ball he faced. Standing by him was Alex Cusack, with whom O’Brien would share a 162-run partnership. Cusack would contribute a vital 47 and played the perfect foil to O'Brien and his fireworks.

The inspired Power Play that Ireland took at the start of the 32nd over added an invaluable 62, including one massive six over midwicket, and changed the nature of the game. O’Brien’s first fifty took 30 balls, his second only 20, having survived a dropped catch on 91. He then moved to 98 and within a shot of the fastest World Cup hundred, with a punch to the leg-side he quickly called 'two' to his partner

  When he was run out in the penultimate over of the match, O'Brien had scored 113 in 63 deliveries, including 13 fours and six sixes. It was a innings of phenomanal power but also great composure as he timed the chase perfectly to leave Ireland on the brink of victory.
This is it, this is it, this is it!! Take a bow Ireland, what a game of cricket. England cannot believe, I can't believe it, Hussain can't believe it! Terrific Ireland, look at these scenes!
David Lloyd on Commentary calls the winning runs

What happened next: 

When O’Brien got out, Ireland needed 11 runs from 11 balls. The formalities were completed with three wickets and five balls to spare for the highest successful run chase in the tournament to spark scenes of wild jubiliation in the Irish camp. O'Brien was of course named the Man of the Match and the name Kevin O'Brien was all of a sudden a household name across India.
There was nothing unorthodox or flukey about it. If he had been wearing an Australian shirt we would have hailed O'Brien for playing one of the great one-day innings and that's how we should look at it now.
Nasser Hussain, writing in the Daily Mail March 3rd
Although Ireland did go out in the group stages, a close loss to the West Indies ending their hopes of a quarter final place, O'Brien ensured that in just their second World Cup appearance Ireland were once again the talk of the cricketing world.
“It would be my great honour and privilege to be able to tell the world two things. First that alive and well is the ‘bush telegraph’ in the humongous country of Australia and in particular in places we love to call ‘the outback’, and secondly to pass on my heartiest congratulations to young Kevin O’Brien for this amazing achievement."
Matthew Hayden, the previous record holder congratulates O'Brien on scoring the fastest century

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Event Technical Committee approves replacement in India’s squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

Mohit Sharma approved as a replacement player for Ishant Sharma in India’s squad for the tournament
Event Technical Committee approves replacement in India’s squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 - Cricket News
Mohit Sharma was approved as a replacement for Ishant Sharma in India’s squad.
The ICC has confirmed that the Event Technical Committee of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 has approved Mohit Sharma as a replacement player for Ishant Sharma in India’s squad for the tournament, which starts on 14 February.

Sharma is suffering from a knee injury he sustained during the Boxing Day Test against Australia.

The 26-year-old Sharma has played 12 ODIs in which he has taken 10 wickets.
Any injury or illness-based replacement requires a written submission to the Event Technical Committee along with a diagnosis from a medical practitioner as to the extent of the injury or illness. Once replaced, a player may not return to the squad save as an approved subsequent replacement for another injured or ill player.

The Event Technical Committee of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 is Geoff Allardice (ICC General Manager – Cricket, Chairman), Campbell Jamieson (ICC General Manager – Commercial), John Harnden (Chief Executive, CWC 2015 LOC), Gavin Larsen (Cricket Operations Manager, New Zealand), Russel Arnold and Sanjay Manjrekar (independent nominees).

Defending champion India is in Pool B of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 along with former champions Pakistan and the West Indies, African rivals South Africa and Zimbabwe, and qualifiers Ireland and United Arab Emirates (UAE). Pakistan will play its opening match against Pakistan at the Adelaide Oval on 15 February.

1992 Cricket World Cup – In Numbers

1992 Cricket World Cup – In Numbers - Cricket News Wasim Akram smashed 33 off 18 balls before taking three crucial wickets as his brilliant all-round show helped Pakistan lift the World Cup for the first time.
The ICC Cricket World Cup 1992, the fifth edition of the tournament, was held between February 22 and March 25, and was co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand. It was the first World Cup to be played in coloured clothing. It also marked the use of white cricket balls, black sightscreens and matches being played under floodlights in a World Cup.

Apart from being the first World Cup to be held in the southern hemisphere, it also was the first World Cup in which South Africa participated. A round-robin stage replaced the use of two qualifying groups. The initial draw had eight countries and 28 round-robin matches, but following South Africa's inclusion, the revised draw consisted of nine teams with 36 round-robin matches with the two semi-finals and the final.

New Zealand, England, South Africa and Pakistan eventually qualified for the semi-finals. Pakistan beat New Zealand in the first semi-final to seal its maiden World Cup final berth, while England beat South Africa in a rain-affected game in the other-semi-final. In the final, Wasim Akram’s brilliant all-round show – smashing 33 off 18 balls and then taking three crucial wickets – was complemented by Imran Khan’s captain’s innings of 72 as Pakistan lifted the World Cup for the first time.

Matches: 39

Total Runs Scored: 15107

Total Wickets Taken: 514

Highest Run Scorers

Martin Crowe (New Zealand) – 456 runs in nine matches
Javed Miandad (Pakistan) – 437 runs in nine matches
Peter Kirsten (South Africa) – 410 in eight matches
David Boon (Australia) – 368 runs in eight matches
Rameez Raja (Pakistan) – 349 runs in eight matches

Highest Wicket Takers

Wasim Akram (Pakistan) – 18 wickets in ten matches
Ian Botham (England) – 16 wickets in ten matches
Mushtaq Ahmed (Pakistan) – 16 wickets in nine matches
Chris Harris (New Zealand) – 16 wickets in nine matches
Eddo Brandes (Zimbabwe) – 14 wickets in eight matches

Highest Scores

Rameez Raja (Pakistan) – 119* off 155 balls against New Zealand at Christchurch
Andy Flower (Zimbabwe) – 115* off 152 balls against Sri Lanka at New Plymouth
Aamer Sohail (Pakistan) – 114 off 136 balls against Zimbabwe at Hobart
Phil Simmons (West Indies) – 110 off 125 balls against Sri Lanka at Berri
Rameez Raja (Pakistan) – 102* off 158 balls against West Indies at Melbourne

Best Bowling Figures

Meyrick Pringle (South Africa) – 4/11 against West Indies at Christchurch
Eddo Brandes (Zimbabwe) – 4/21 against England at Albury
Chris Lewis (England) – 4/30 against Sri Lanka at Ballarat
Ian Botham (England) – 4/31 against Australia at Sydney
Wasim Akram (Pakistan) – 4/32 against New Zealand at Christchurch


PAKISTAN ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP 2015 TOURNAMENT PREVIEW & GUIDE - Cricket News In a career spanning over 18 years, Shahid Afridi has time and again shown that he can run away with the match with both bat and ball.
When Pakistan takes on India on February 15 in its opening encounter of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, it will be with the knowledge that the last time the World Cup was held in Australia and New Zealand, the side under Imran Khan scripted an unbelievable come-from-behind victory to lift the Cricket World Cup 1992.

This time, the team has travelled Down Under with another veteran leader in Misbah-ul-Haq, who has also announced that he will retire from One-Day Internationals after the tournament. He is the same age as Imran Khan was in 1992 and Pakistan fans will be hoping that is an omen.

"I am happy that we are not favorites. To be very honest it's big pressure of being favorites. We were not favorites last time (in 2011) too but we played excellent cricket. Similarly this time, there are teams which play on those bouncy wickets like Australia and South Africa, and are probably bigger favorites than us. But we hope that with the type of resources we have we can do well."

Waqar Younis - Pakistan coach
In Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez and Younis Khan, Pakistan has a wealth of experience to back up Misbah, while Waqar Younis, the coach of the side, will be extra motivated to see his wards do well – having missed out on the victorious 1992 campaign because of an unfortunate injury.

Pakistan has played in all ten World Cups so far, registering 36 wins from 64 matches for a winning percentage of 56.25 in cricket’s flagship event.

Pakistan’s biggest win in terms of runs came in World Cup came in 2011 in Hambantota, when it defeated Kenya by 205 runs. In the same edition, Pakistan also registered its biggest win by wickets, outplaying the West Indies in the quarter-final by ten wickets in Mirpur. Pakistan lost to arch-rivals India in a high-voltage semi-final encounter in Mohali by 29 runs.

Its best result, of course, was the triumph in 1992, but Pakistan has done well otherwise too, reaching the final in 1999, and the semi-finals in three successive world cups from 1979, 1983 and 1987, while making the quarter-final in 1996. Only in 1975, 2003 and 2007, did Pakistan not progress beyond the group stages.

Pool: Pakistan is grouped in Pool B along with India, the defending champion, South Africa, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland and United Arab Emirates.

Captain: Misbah-ul-Haq

Coach: Waqar Younis

Pakistan’s bowling has been its traditional strength, and even when its frontline bowlers have been unavailable through a variety of reasons, it has found able reserves, putting their hands up and embracing the big occasion.

The batting also wears a solid look this time. The dependable duo of Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad can be steady or flamboyant at the top of the order, while the rock-steady calmness of Misbah and Younis will steer the team in the middle overs. Afridi’s aggressive lower-order hitting provides the thrust at the end and he comes into the tournament in superb form with the bat and ball.

Pakistan did suffer a setback before the tournament with Junaid Khan, one of its frontline pacers, ruled out of the tournament, and the selectors have named the relatively untested Rahat Ali who has played just one ODI as a replacement.

Nevertheless, it is a given in the cricketing world that the Pakistan side can never be underestimated, and the players are capable of pulling rabbits from hats as routinely – and indeed with as much effect – as magicians.

Pakistan’s unpredictability remains its biggest strength, and because it has traditionally been capable of summoning performances that no team could plan for, opponents always start against the side on an uncertain footing.

The team has historically done its best when pushed to a corner, and recent ODI form notwithstanding, the hunger of some of the veterans who have come close to tasting World Cup glory but been denied, makes for a nice blend with the freshness and freedom of play that someone like an Umar Akmal or Sarfraz Ahmed brings.

Pakistan’s bowling will be led by Mohammad Irfan and Wahab Riaz. Irfan’s towering seven-foot frame is ideally suited to exploiting the conditions on offer, while Riaz has proved he’s a big-match player in the past, with returns of 5 for 46 in the semi-final against India in 2011.

Recent form:
Pakistan lost the two-match ODI series in New Zealand 2-0 before the World Cup. The team played 18 ODI matches in 2014, and registered only six wins, including series losses by 2-3 and 0-3 margins against New Zealand and Australia in the United Arab Emirates.

However, Pakistan had bright moments too, including a good showing in the Asia Cup, where it reached the final.

Star player: Shahid Afridi
In Pakistan’s first ODI against New Zealand in the series that preceded the World Cup, Afridi blasted 67 off 29 balls, showing a clear liking for the kind of pitches that will be on offer in both New Zealand and Australia.

In a career spanning over 18 years, Afridi has time and again shown that he can run away with the match with both bat and ball. Known as ‘Boom Boom’ for his batting style, Afridi’s leg-spin has often done the trick for Pakistan too.

Since the start of 2014, Afridi has played 18 matches and shown form in both departments, scoring 432 runs and taking 18 wickets. For Pakistan to go deep into the tournament, their 34-year-old talisman – who has announced this will be his last ODI outing – will be crucial.

One to watch out for: Mohammad Irfan
It’s no secret that pitches in Australia and New Zealand offer plenty of bounce and movement for pace bowlers. Towering at a height of 2.16 metres, Mohammad Irfan provides Pakistan the luxury of exploiting the conditions to the fullest. The 32-year-old can generate steep bounce from a good length, and has picked up 57 wicket from 40 ODIs so far at an average of 29.92.

Identified for his potential by Aaqib Javed, the former Pakistan seamer and current coach of the UAE side, Irfan made his ODI debut against England in 2010. His large frame has meant he has to take extra care of his body, and guard against injuries, but both Irfan and Pakistan have made sure the pacer is in fine fettle and waiting to be unleashed in the World Cup.

Fun facts
Misbah-ul-Haq – He has a master’s degree in business administration.
Mohammad Irfan – At 216 cms, he is the world’s tallest bowler.
Sarfraz Ahmed – He captained Pakistan to an ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup
Shahid Afridi – He has his own clothing line.
Younis Khan – He enjoys fishing when not playing cricket.
Sohaib Maqsood – He has a master’s degree in Sports Science.

Key Match: India v Pakistan, Adelaide Oval, February 15
The India-Pakistan clash has always been a fascinating one for the fans, players, administrators and everyone who follows the game. As a team, Pakistan has had the upper hand against India, having won 72 of the 126 ODIs so far, but on the other hand, India has a perfect 5-0 record against its rival on the biggest stage of all – in World Cup matches. India has won against Pakistan in 1992, 1996, 1999, 2003 and 2011.

The two side last met in 2014 in Asia Cup, where Afridi’s strokeplay took the match away from India as Pakistan registered a thrilling one-wicket win.

Scott Styris’s Prediction: Pakistan: Quarter- Final
“Pakistan is always the mixed bag at cricket World Cups. Always has class and always has inconsistency. The top order of Shehzad and Hafeez need to score runs to allow the real power of Sarfraz, Umar Akmal and Afridi to be able to cut loose. Watching the 7 ft 1 giant Mohammed Irfan bowl is a treat but unless they get Junaid back I fear they don't have the wicket taking ability to advance further.”

"I am happy that we are not favorites. To be very honest it's big pressure of being favorites. We were not favorites last time (in 2011) too but we played excellent cricket. Similarly this time, there are teams which play on those bouncy wickets like Australia and South Africa, and are probably bigger favorites than us. But we hope that with the type of resources we have we can do well." - Waqar Younis, Pakistan coach.

“We are focused for the match and the players are going to play with lot of passion and commitment to try to win the match. I think we have our best possible preparations for the World Cup and we are going with a positive mindset and try to win every match and the World Cup. We have only one thing in mind that is to play our best cricket in this event because we know how closely the World Cup is followed by everyone and the expectations attached with our team.” - Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan captain.

“It (the World Cup) is a big event and every player has a desire to play. I want to do what Wasim Akram did for Pakistan in the 1992 World Cup. It feels good that I perform for Pakistan. It’s my greatest desire to do well for Pakistan so that people remember me when I finish my career.” - Mohammad Irfan, Pakistan pacer, on emulating Akram – the Man of the Match in the 1992 final.

Squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Younis Khan, Haris Sohail, Umar Akmal, Sohaib Maqsood, Shahid Afridi, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Irfan, Ehsan Adil, Sohail Khan, Wahab Riaz.

Feb 15: v India, Adelaide
Feb 21: v West Indies, Christchurch
March 1: v Zimbabwe, Brisbane
March 4: v UAE, Napier
March 7: v South Africa, Auckland
March 15: v Ireland, Adelaide

Sunday, February 1, 2015

MS Dhoni, the best and cool finisher

As the World Cup countdown enters its final stretch, here's an analyses of MS Dhoni, the captain, in whose hands the team's fate rests.
MS Dhoni's composure has helped him orchestrate big chases
MS Dhoni's composure has helped him orchestrate big chases 
As the ball soared into the starlit sky, an eerie silence descended over the ecstatic Wankhede Stadium; Mahendra Singh Dhoni simply followed its rising trajectory, almost bereft of emotion, until the entire country erupted in joy.
Only when Yuvraj Singh came dashing into his arms, the India captain broke into a sheepish grin; as stoically, he turned towards the stumps and picked up one before being whisked away on shoulders by his delirious teammates once he lofted a Nuwan Kulasekara delivery over long-on and won back India the World Cup after 28 years.
For a long time, the same sang froid was the hallmark of his game and his personality: he was hailed as ice cold during high-pressure moments; no nerves, some proclaimed, as he orchestrated big chases. Captain cool, others said, as he led the side in his own unpredictable manner. In many ways, Dhoni has surpassed the skill at his command as a batsman. In many ways, he has also scripted victories that look impossible in hindsight: the World T20 title on his debut as captain, the No 1 Test ranking for 18 months, the Champions Trophy and of course, the World Cup.
He couldn't have asked for more. Especially as, at one point, it looked like he was destined to live as a railway ticket collector; or maybe, even go back to the backwoods of Jharkhand and lead an obscure, anonymous life. But then, everything was poised to change as he began hitting those big sixes, playing in the industrial town of Kharagpur in Bengal.
Born in Ranchi, in July 1981, little Dhoni began to idolise the three legends of that time: Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachchan and Lata Mangeshkar; he was good at badminton and football but his coach, impressed by his goalkeeping skills, sent him to play cricket.
He worked his way up, playing all age-group tournaments as a wicketkeeper who could bat a bit. As an 18-year-old, he made his debut for Bihar in the Ranji Trophy. Folklore has it that in his off time, Dhoni would whizz around on a second-hand bike, worth all of Rs 4500, while he played tennis-ball cricket.
Yet, Dhoni remained under the radar till he was picked for the India A side in 2004 as selectors looked beyond the traditional cricket pockets for talent; he promptly slammed two centuries in the one-day triangular series in Nairobi to showcase himself. With flowing hair, a fearless attitude and a wider smile, he compelled attention.
Two spectacular knocks for Team India - 148 vs Pakistan in Vizag and 183 vs Sri Lanka in Jaipur ensured that he emerged as the rock star of the game. His technique was flawed, both, in front and behind the wickets, but he turned it into his strength.
As he became larger than life, the pressure however slowly got to him; he turned aloof and reclusive as a person, cautious and careful as a captain and a lot more circumspect as a batsman. His reputation as the ultimate finisher, however, remained undiminished.
He became an unstoppable force after joining Chennai Super Kings, rising to become the most powerful cricketer in the country. The first chinks, however, began to surface in Test cricket, as India failed to cope with their demands and rigours. As the team underwent a generational change, he became fallible.
In a surprising move, he even gave up Test captaincy. Like everything he does, there was a plan behind it: the World Cup. Dhoni knows he will become a hero forever if he guides India to another triumph. However, it may not be a fairy-tale ending.
India have been struggling in Australia, failing to even make the finals of the tri-series. The batting doesn't look solid and the bowling doesn't is far from instilling confidence. He will have to do something really special to lift the side from here. It is possible only if he leads from the front, batting like only he can. One good knock, up the order, can infuse life into this side and make it look totally different. If anybody can do it, it's Dhoni.

Fleming: Attacking captaincy will be the key at World Cup

Fleming believes Brendon McCullum firing from the front will enhance New Zealand's chances.
Fleming believes Brendon McCullum firing from the front will enhance New Zealand's chances. © Getty
It is all very well to try and tell yourself captaining your country in an ICC Cricket World Cup is the same as captaining at any other time - but it is not.
True, there is still the toss of the coin and the decisions to be made about tactics, but there really is a completely different dynamic.
The eyes of the world are on you for starters and you realise that as soon as you step into a media conference before a ball is bowled. There are more journalists, asking more questions, than at any other time. Turn on the television, listen to the radio, surf the internet or pick up a newspaper and you cannot avoid it. Everyone seems to be talking about cricket and most of them are telling you what to do.
On top of that, venues are full and, in the case of New Zealand at this tournament, expectation levels are rising all the time too, in the face of encouraging form in the lead-up to the action getting underway.
And remember, this is the tournament that comes around just once every four years. And although I was fortunate enough to captain the Black Caps in three ICC Cricket World Cups, in 1999, 2003 and 2007, for Brendon McCullum as a captain, it may be his one shot at glory while at the helm.
New Zealand's initial advantage is that, like Australia, they know the conditions. And given their opening match is against Sri Lanka, a side they are facing in the lead-up to the tournament, that is another plus.
But after that every match brings with it a new opponent and perhaps an unfamiliar team and unfamiliar players. Suddenly you and your backroom staff have got to change tack and do it quickly. The video analysts will be working long hours both before and during the tournament to ensure each captain gets all the information he needs on every opponent and that, in turn, will mean plenty of homework away from the public eye for McCullum and the other leaders.
However, there is one piece of good news for captains around the world and especially positive ones, like McCullum and it is that the current playing conditions work in their favour and actually bring captaincy back into a position where the man in charge really can shape the action.
I felt the old regulations, with five fielders allowed outside the 30-yard circle at all times outside the powerplays, created very formulaic cricket with both sides, at times, on autopilot waiting for the final overs. Now, with the change since 2012 with one of those fielders having to shift into the circle, it not only gives batsmen more scope to attack but also offers the captains the chance to get creative in an attacking sense. McCullum is someone who will relish the chance to be positive and he knows that wickets rather than containment remain the best way to make progress.
The attention will be very much on McCullum, along with the other captains, as I believe cricket is the only major sport left where on-field leadership remains fundamental to the outcome of a match. There is no earpiece to the coach and the buck stops with the man in charge. I enjoyed that challenge and the responsibility, and I know that good captains grasp the nettle. Just look at the way MS Dhoni pushed himself up the batting order in the 2011 final as a prime example of that idea.
My relationship with Dhoni at Chennai Super Kings gave me the chance to talk with him about that decision and he said it was an instinct, that was his time to lead from the front. Positivity and decisiveness like that can galvanise a team, whereas hesitancy can flow through each player and create paralysis. And in World Cups, where the matches come thick and fast and momentum and winning confidence can be crucial, that is a key point to remember.
Good communication is also crucial. A captain needs to ensure his players know what the team plans are at any given time and he needs to manage players those who are also not in the playing XI. That is essential because in a tournament spread over almost two months, cricket becomes very much a squad game. Making those who are not playing feel, they are still vital cogs in the wheel is all part of the role of the captain as a man-manager.
But for all the attention to the needs of his players and the tournament as a whole, the captain needs to ensure his own form is spot-on. After all, he is usually one of the leading players in a team; anything less that good productivity and the team suffers from not only his lack of productivity but also the fact he is worrying about his own game as well as the team's requirements.
As the team's public face, McCullum's role will also extend to managing expectations not just his own but also those of his players and country. McCullum, along with coach Mike Hesson, is publicly low-key and that is the Kiwi way. It is a good way too, as getting too up or too down about things can affect a team's equilibrium. But still there has to be thought about how to cope with the very biggest occasions, with matches like the fourth pool game against Australia at a jam-packed Eden Park on February 28, very much on the radar.
There are no former New Zealand players who can offer an insight into coping with the ultimate pressure of winning an ICC Cricket World Cup, let alone doing so on home soil, but for guidance on dealing with expectations, both within the dressing room and from the expectant home public, the best place to start is undoubtedly the New Zealand rugby union team. Far from buckling though, the All Blacks rose to the challenge and lifted the title and I expect McCullum and Hesson to lean on their rugby union counterparts for insights in how to handle the pressure.
There will be pressure, that is for sure, but if McCullum can manage it, manage his players and maintain his own form a big ask, admittedly there is no reason why New Zealand cannot break their semifinal hoodoo once and for all, make it to the final and ultimately lift the greatest prize in the game.

Viv Richards: ODI batsmen I would pay to watch

  • If ever there is a team picked without Tendulkar, Viv Richards believes it would be a great shame.
  • Sometimes while watching AB de Villiers, Richards sees himself in him. 
Sachin Tendulkar wasn't the biggest in size among other cricketers, but all good things come in small packages.
Sachin Tendulkar wasn't the biggest in size among other cricketers, but all good things come in small packages. 
Over the years we have had an abundance of batting talent. It is difficult to separate and put them in their rightful batting order, let alone pick out 10 names. So, irrespective of the order they are in, these are my top-10 ODI batsmen of all time.
Sachin Tendulkar
The first name that comes to mind is Sachin Tendulkar. In a single word, I would describe him as a legend. The player he was until very recently, if ever there is a team picked without including him, it would be a great shame. He has always been one of my favourite batsmen and I would pay money to watch him bat. He wasn't the biggest in size amongst other cricketers of the world, but all good things come in small packages. And he was a fantastic batsman.
Brian Lara
I rate Brian Lara the same as Sachin. I would pay to watch him bat too, and then pay again and again, and keep paying, however, many times it needs to be done. And he did that at a rapid rate, almost as soon as he arrived at the crease. It is difficult to leave him out of any batting side.
Chris Gayle
There is another West Indies' batsman who comes to mind, Chris Gayle. He is a batsman that I would optimally describe as bowlers' nightmare. On his day, he can be very destructive. He can be a match-winner in any environment and in any match conditions. If he is on song, then the opposition can lose the match in the blink of an eye, that's how destructive he can be.
Clive Lloyd
Staying with batsmen from the Caribbean, I would like to mention Clive Lloyd. Today's generation of cricket fans may not have seen him bat, but I do remember watching him play. To get a century in the final of an ICC Cricket World Cup is a great achievement. He may not have as many ODI centuries as others but scoring in a World Cup final counts a lot more. Not many batsmen have done that, not to mention he did it while also leading the side.
Ricky Ponting
In that light, another such name comes to mind and that is Ricky Ponting. He too got a century in an ICC Cricket World Cup final, but that is not the only reason for me to pick him. He was able to play all the shots in the book but the more remarkable thing about Ponting was that he was a wonderful worker of the ball. When he was not hitting fours or sixes, he could rotate the strike easily. He could pick singles and doubles at will, and that is remarkable for a batsman especially coming in at number three. It becomes very difficult to contain such batsmen.
Matthew Hayden
Among other Australia batsmen, Matthew Hayden at the top of the order was a fearsome prospect. He would set things up for the middle-order with his ferocious and powerful hitting. If you are batting below him, by the time he got set and finished his innings, your task was half done. He made it easier for anyone coming in to bat after him. With the way he went about his business, Hayden's aggression set the tone of the innings and that too on a very consistent basis.
Virender Sehwag
Another batsman in the Hayden mould, and at the top of the order, is Virender Sehwag. He relied on great hand-eye co-ordination and when he got going, he could demolish any bowling attack in the world in a matter of overs. He made batting look so easy, almost a walk in the park, and I can only think that it must have been so easy batting in the lower order after Sehwag had done his thing.
Michael Hussey
Then of course, there is also Mr Cricket, Michael Hussey. He had this uncanny knack of scoring all the time. He would come in at any particular time at the crease, whether his team was in a comfortable or uncomfortable position, and he would score runs irrespective of the situation. He had this ability to assess the wicket, conditions and match situation and alter his style of play accordingly. He was one batsman who always knew what he was doing and he was a heavy scorer on most occasions. When he got in, he made you pay.
AB de Villiers
One of the world's current all-round players is AB de Villiers. Sometimes when I watch him, it seems like I am watching myself. He looks very comfortable at the crease. The shots he plays bring such joy and not just to me. It is a joy to all cricket fans who are watching him the world over. I like his style and he is one player who is very hard to leave out of any ODI team.
Virat Kohli
The last name on my list, but not the least by any means, is young Virat Kohli. There might be some surprise regarding this pick because he is very young and has a lot of cricket to play still. At such a young age he has twice the number of ODI centuries than in Tests and he is such a confident player in limited-overs. It is not to say he isn't so in the longer format, but I really like his aggressive style in ODI cricket. Look at the way he started his career, and the batsman he has already become today, he is simply magnificent in whatever little time he has played as compared to others. He is only going to get better and better, and add to his list of achievements.
- Sir Vivian Richards

A-Z of icc cricket world cup

ADELAIDE OVAL ADELAIDE OVAL is a sacred place for cricket fans, who will be pleased to know there are four matches scheduled for the historic ground during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
The Oval, founded in 1871, might look a bit different to the last time it hosted World Cup cricket in 1992 after a recent redevelopment, but the famous hill remains for those who prefer to kick back on the grass in front of the heritage scoreboard.
The action kicks off on Sunday 15 February when India meets Pakistan, before England meets Bangladesh on Monday 9 March.
Everyone likes to claim Irish roots, especially around St Patrick’s Day, and Ireland’s clash with Pakistan on Sunday March 15 is the perfect time to get out the shamrocks and have some fun before the knock-out stages commence with Adelaide’s quarter-final on Friday March 20.
Adelaide itself is known as the ‘city of churches’, featuring lush gardens and white sandy beaches, and is close to South Australia’s famous wine regions including the Barossa, McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills.
Read more about Adelaide as a #cwc15 venue here.
BELLERIVE OVAL BELLERIVE OVAL is surely one of Australia’s most picturesque places to play or watch cricket. With formidable Mount Wellington looming in the background and the Derwent River close at hand, nothing beats settling in on the ground’s grassy hill for an afternoon of cricket.
Zimbabwe will play Ireland in the first of Hobart’s ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 matches on Saturday 7 March, before Scotland meets Ireland on Tuesday 24 February. Scottish fans will get a second dose on Saturday 14 March 14 when host Australia heads south for the final Hobart encounter.
Hobart itself is home to the world famous Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) as well as award-winning restaurants, a historic centre and bustling Salamanca Markets.
Tasmania has no shortage of stunning natural features, and highlights including Bruny Island, Gordon River and the Freycinet Peninsula are easily reached from the state’s capital.
Read more about Hobart as a #cwc15 venue here.
CAKE TIN might sound like a baking reference, but residents of New Zealand’s capital city will know it actually refers to Wellington Regional Stadium – home to four ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 matches. The nickname comes from the stadium’s shape and silver walls, while the venue itself accommodates 34,000 and regularly hosts international and domestic cricket, rugby league and has even played host to Australian Football League matches in recent years.
On Friday 20 February the Cake Tin will heat up when New Zealand meets England in a Pool B match. England returns on Sunday 1 March to meet Sri Lanka, before United Arab Emirates will aim to cause a major upset against one of the tournament favourites, South Africa, on Thursday 12 March.
The action in Wellington concludes with a quarter-final on Saturday 21 March and in good news for New Zealand fans, this match will feature the home team should New Zealand qualify.
Wellington itself has been called ‘the coolest little capital’ by Lonely Planet and legend has it the North Island city has more bars and cafes per capita then New York.
Read more about Wellington as a #cwc15 venue here.
DUNEDIN’S University Oval is a beautifully picturesque ground and spectators will be able to relax on University Oval’s grassy embankments and take in the scenic surrounds whilst watching their Cricket World Cup matches.
The city was created as a gold mining town by Scottish immigrants, so it should come as no surprise that Scotland will make two appearances in Dunedin during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
The Ground will play host to New Zealand’s clash against Scotland on Tuesday 17 February 17, while the new kids on the world cricket block, Afghanistan, will play Sri Lanka on Sunday 22 February.
Scotland and Afghanistan will return for Dunedin’s final match on Thursday 26 February in a match that is sure to be keenly fought between the two associates.
Read more about Dunedin as a #cwc15 venue here.
EDEN PARK was the scene for heartbreak for New Zealand fans at the ICC Cricket World Cup 1992, when Pakistan knocked out tournament favourites New Zealand in the semi-final.
New Zealand supporters will hope it’s a different story this time around when World Cup cricket returns to Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city.
Eden Park will host four World Cup matches, including the highly anticipated clash between the two host nations on 28 February, kiwi supporters have fonder memories of the Anzac clash of 1992 as Martin Crowe’s hundred led New Zealand to a famous victory in the opening match of the tournament.
Eden Park is New Zealand’s largest stadium and is sure to be packed to the rafters during the World Cup. Two other matches at the stadium will see South Africa play Pakistan on 7 March, and India clash with Zimbabwe on 14 March. The stadium will also play host the first Semi-Final on 24 March.
The North Island city - ranked the third most liveable city in the world – brings together breathtaking scenery and picturesque beaches, as well as a buzzing city centre and plenty of action and adventure for adrenaline junkies. The city is conveniently based just 90 minutes from another host city, Hamilton, making it easy for locals to get their fill of World Cup Cricket this summer.
Read more about Auckland as a #cwc15 venue here.
FLEMING is a well-known name in world cricket with a special tie to Napier’s McLean Park. Former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming and Nathan Astle share the record for the most runs scored at the ground, which has a reputation as a good batting strip for one-day cricket. An average of almost five runs per over are scored at McLean Park.
Given this, some of the world’s best batsman will be licking their lips in anticipation ahead of the three ICC Cricket World Cup matches scheduled for McLean Park.
Pakistan will play the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday 4 March in a day/night encounter, before New Zealand meets Afghanistan in an intriguing match-up on Sunday 8 March. UAE returns on Sunday 15 March, against West Indies.
Napier itself has plenty of surprises for visitors. Found in the heart of Hawke’s Bay, Napier enjoys one of New Zealand’s warmest, driest climates and is packed with wineries, farmers’ markets and artisan food producers.
Read more about Napier as a #cwc15 venue here.
McGRATH Foundation is Australia’s official host charity partner for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, while The Cancer Society has been appointed in New Zealand.
The two host charities will join the ICC’s global charity partners THINK WISE and Room to Read.
The McGrath Foundation was started 10 years ago out of the experience Jane McGrath and three-time World Cup champion Glenn McGrath had with breast cancer and raises money to place McGrath Breast Care Nurses in communities across Australia. It also raises breast awareness in young women. Glenn McGrath himself is the World Cup’s leading wicket taker of all-time.
The Cancer Society of New Zealand works to reduce the incidents and impact of cancer, while ensuring the best cancer care for everyone in New Zealand.
Click here to find out more about how the World Cup will support its charity partners.
HAGLEY OVAL has taken on a new look for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. The Christchurch ground, which has hosted cricket for more than 150 years, has been redeveloped into a state-of-the-art venue following the closure of 1992 host venue Lancaster Park after the 2011 earthquake.
The summer of 2014-15 marks the return of international cricket to Christchurch for the first time since the devastating earthquake and the city will be in the mood to celebrate when it officially kicks off the 2015 tournament with New Zealand versus Sri Lanka on Saturday 14 February in the opening game of #cwc15.
Locals have a chance to see some of the world’s best teams in action during the tournament. Pakistan takes on West Indies on Saturday 21 February, and England plays Scotland on 23 February.
Christchurch is the South Island’s largest city, and offers visitors a long list of outdoor activities including bungy jumping, rafting, mountain biking, hot-air ballooning and wind surfing.
Read more about Christchurch as a #cwc15 venue here.
IRELAND are earning a reputation as giant killers when it comes to ICC Cricket World Cup cricket. The team makes its third World Cup appearance in 2015 and will hope to maintain its reputation for upsets, after beating Pakistan and Bangladesh in 2007 en route to a Super Eights appearance and famously England in 2011 as they broke a string of tournament records in that stunning win in Bangalore.
Ireland are sitting in Pool B alongside South Africa, India, Pakistan, West Indies, Zimbabwe and United Arab Emirates. Their first outing in #cwc15 is against West Indies in Nelson on Monday 16 February and with their ‘Blarney Army’ of supporters behind them they’ll fancy their chances.
Ireland qualified for #cwc15 with a stunning ICC World Cricket League Championship winning campaign where they topped the table as part of an associate treble of trophies in 2013.
The Boys in Green will be led ably by captain William Porterfield and boast a strong batting line up with Paul Stirling, Ed Joyce, Gary Wilson and the O’Brien brothers all looking to make another major impact on the world stage.
Nelson, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Hamilton and Adelaide play host to Ireland during the tournament.
Find out more about Ireland here.
JOLIMONT is the small East Melbourne locality that is home to the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground, where some of history’s biggest sporting moments have occurred.
The ICC Cricket World Cup final will be held at the ‘G for the second time in 2015, after being the scene of Pakistan’s triumph over England in the 1992 final. The MCG will launch the World Cup in Australia when the host nation plays England on Saturday 14 February, while other matches at the ground include South Africa versus India, Sri Lanka versus Bangladesh and a quarter-final on Thursday 19 March.
Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, prides itself on being the ‘sporting capital’ of Australia and each year hosts big events including the Australian Open Tennis, the Australian Grand Prix and the Melbourne Cup.
The MCG has played host to events including the 1956 Olympic Games and 2006 Commonwealth Games, while sports played on the hallowed turf include AFL, cricket, rugby union, rugby league and soccer. The Australian National Sports Museum is also based at the ground.
Read more about Melbourne as a #cwc15 venue here.
KHAN - Imran Khan – was the winning captain the last time the ICC Cricket World Cup came to Australia and New Zealand in 1992. Khan scored a captain’s knock of 72 in the final to help his side defeat England on that occasion and all eyes will be on the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday 29 March to see which of the world’s current captains will hold the trophy aloft this time around.
Two men have captained their countries to World Cup wins on two occasions – West Indies’ Clive Lloyd in 1975 and 1979, and Australia’s Ricky Ponting in 2003 and 2007.
Find out more about previous World Cups here.
LORD OF THE RINGS and New Zealand have gone hand in hand ever since the epic movie trilogy based on the work of JR Tolkien was filmed there.
Scenes set in The Shire were filmed near Hamilton, giving movie buffs even more incentive to visit the central North Island city when it hosts three ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 matches.
South Africa plays Zimbabwe in the first match at Seddon Park on Sunday 15 February. Named after a former New Zealand prime minister, Seddon Park is a purpose-built international cricket facility with a village green setting and picnic-like atmosphere.
Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Scotland also feature in matches at the ground – voted by ‘The Cricketer’ magazine as one of the 20 best venues in the world to watch sport.
Hamilton is New Zealand's largest inland city and is situated on the banks of the Waikato River, close to iconic regional attractions including Hobbiton, Waitomo Caves, Raglan's surf coast and the Te Aroha Mineral Pools.
Read more about Hamilton as a #cwc15 venue here.
MANUKA OVAL will be the home of ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 in Australia’s capital, Canberra.
This ground has been a cricket venue since 1930 and the annual Prime Minister’s XI match is played at the oval with many greats of the game turning out.
The first one-day international match played at Manuka Oval was during the 1992 World Cup when South Africa played Zimbabwe, and both of these teams will return to Canberra this time around.
The action kicks off on Wednesday 18 February when Bangladesh meets Afghanistan, while the other two games will see West Indies play Zimbabwe and South Africa take on Ireland.
Canberra itself turned 100 in 2013, and is known for being the federal seat of government in Australia. It is also home to the Australian Institute of Sport, the National Museum of Australia, the National Gallery of Australia and the Australian War Memorial.
Read more about Canberra as a #cwc15 venue here.
NELSON is not only the host city for three ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 matches, this south island New Zealand host-city shares its name with the cricketing term ‘Nelson’, applied to team or individual scores of 111.
Former International umpire David Shepherd’s superstition of the number was well-known, with the umpire standing on one leg whenever 111 was brought up. The tradition has been carried on by fans ever since.
Expect to see plenty of people standing on one leg when West Indies meets Ireland at Saxton Oval on 16 February. Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Scotland and United Arab Emirates will also play in the city, which is the second-oldest settled city in New Zealand, and includes everything from golden beaches to untouched forests and rugged mountains.
Read more about Nelson as a #cwc15 venue here.
ONE-DAY Internationals are what the ICC Cricket World Cup is all about. The first ODI was played on January 5 1971 between Australia and England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and the first Cricket World Cup was held in England four years later in 1975.
In 2015, 49 one-day internationals will be played over 44 days in 14 cities across Australia and New Zealand.
Take a look at the full schedule of ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 matches here.
PERTH’S home of cricket, the WACA, is renowned for its quick and bouncy pitches and lightning fast outfield. Fast bowlers will be rubbing their hands together in anticipation of playing at the western-most host city, where three games are scheduled.
India meets United Arab Emirates on Saturday 28 February, while Australia’s only match at the WACA is against Afghanistan on Wednesday 4 March, before India returns on Friday 6 March to play West Indies.
The site of Glenn McGrath’s Test hat-trick in 2000, and Matthew Hayden’s then Test-record of 380 in 2003, the WACA was opened in 1893 and has played host to sports including athletics, AFL, baseball, soccer, rugby union and international rules football.
The WACA Museum is housed onsite and covers the history of cricket and other sports played at the famous ground. Perth is Australia’s sunniest state capital and has plenty to offer visitors, including stunning beaches, wineries and famous Rottnest Island.
Read more about Perth as a #cwc15 venue here.
QUARTER finals will mark the start of the really serious stuff in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. No more second chances, it will be do or die for the top eight teams who qualify for the knock-out stages of the tournament.
The four quarter finals will be played in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Wellington.
In good news for local fans, Australia will play at Adelaide Oval should it make it to the quarter finals, while New Zealand would play in Wellington.
The closest result in a quarter-final came in the 1996 World Cup, when West Indies defeated South Africa by 19 runs. A big ton from Brian Lara helped West Indies to 264-8, before South Africa was bowled out for 245 in reply.
See the full World Cup fixture list here.
RUNNERS-UP – it is a case of so close yet so far for the team which stumbles at the final hurdle.
For England, the pain of finishing runners-up has happened on three occasions – in 1979, 1987 and 1992. Of those, the most heartbreaking was 1987, when Australia won by just seven runs.
It is hard to know which is more painful: being thrashed in a final or losing by a narrow margin? England’s loss to Australia does down as the closest result in a World Cup final, while Australia also recorded the biggest win in a final, smashing India by 125 runs in 2003.
Sri Lanka has finished second in the last two World Cups and will no doubt be hungry to take the extra step this time around.
Find out more about previous World Cups here.
SYDNEY Cricket Ground has been the scene of many great sporting moments throughout its 150-year history.
Many more memorable moments are set to be created at the ground during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 with four matches scheduled for Australia’s biggest city - including a quarter and semi final.
South Africa and West Indies start the action on Friday 27 February, before Australia meets Sri Lanka on Sunday 8 March and England plays Afghanistan on Friday 13 March.
The SCG will also host two knock-out matches, with the quarter-final to take place on Wednesday 18 March ahead of a semi-final on Thursday 26 March.
The ground also hosted four games in the 1992 World Cup, including the controversial semi-final where England defeated South Africa by 19 runs after rain affected the target needed by South Africa.
South Africa needed 22 runs from 13 balls, but after a 10-minute rain delay, the revised total became 21 runs from one ball. The rule was changed after the tournament as a result and Duckworth-Lewis will be in use at this year’s tournament.
Sydney is known around the world as Australia’s leading tourism destination and has no shortage of iconic sights including the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Read more about Sydney as a #cwc15 venue here.
TROPHY Tour – to celebrate the ICC Cricket World Cup’s return to Australia and New Zealand the World Cup trophy is going on tour around both countries. Plenty of surprises are in store for the famous trophy (or in this case, two trophies – one in each country!) as visits all corners of the host nations.
The New Zealand leg kicked off in Auckland on 6 November, while the Australian leg kicked off four days later on 10 November in Geraldton, Western Australia.
The #cwctrophytour has already had an international dimension with it visiting many of the 14 participating nations over the months leading up to the 100 Days to Go Launch on 6 November.
The trophy travelling around Australia is the perpetual World Cup trophy while the exact replica, which the winning national will keep, is touring New Zealand.
Fans will have the chance to get their photo taken with the trophy at events around both countries during the tour, while the journey will be tracked using #cwctrophytour.
CLICK here for more details on the #cwctrophytour.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, underdogs and upsets are all words you can expect to hear repeated often during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
UAE are making their second appearance at cricket’s biggest event and their only previous appearance came in 1996, when it finished 11th. On that occasion, UAE left the tournament with one win after beating Netherlands by seven wickets.
UAE qualified to compete in the 2015 edition with their second place finish in the CWC Qualifying tournament in New Zealand in early 2014. Coached by 1992 World Cup winner Aqib Javed, UAE will be capable of causing an upset in any of its six Pool B matches.
UAE are in Pool B alongside Pakistan, West Indies, Ireland, Zimbabwe, India and South Africa, and fans interested in checking out this up-and-coming cricket nation can check them out in Nelson, Napier, Wellington, Brisbane and Perth.
See more about the UAE on their team page here.
VULTURE Street is a well-known location for anyone who has attended, watched or listened to cricket at the Gabba. Brisbane’s home of cricket is named after the suburb of Woolloongabba, where the ground can be found on - you guessed it - Vulture Street.
The Gabba will be an ICC Cricket World Cup venue for the second time in 2015. In 1992, the ground was the scene of a nail-biting encounter between Australia and India, when Dean Jones scored 90 as the host nation held on to win by one run.
This time, the Gabba is host to three matches, including Australia’s clash with Bangladesh on Saturday 21 February. Ireland will play United Arab Emirates and Pakistan meets Zimbabwe in the other two Brisbane-based games.
Brisbane is the capital of Queensland and is only a short drive from both the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.
Read more about Brisbane as a #cwc15 venue here.
WINNING teams in the ten ICC Cricket World Cups to date have come from five countries. Australia has the best record of any nation, with four wins in 1987, 1999, 2003 and 2007, while India (1983 and 2011) and West Indies (1975 and 1979) have each won two.
The world will be watching the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday 29 March to see which nation takes its place in history as the 2015 champion.
Last time the World Cup was held in Australia and New Zealand In 1992, England went into the final with confidence after bowling Pakistan out for a paltry 74 earlier in the tournament. The final started in a similar fashion when Derek Pringle dismissed both Pakistan openers at 24, but Pakistan recovered to score 249-6 as Pakistan captain Imran Khan top-scored with 72. England was bowled out for 227 in reply and Wasim Akram was named player of the match.
Find out more about previous World Cups here.
XI – or eleven – is a common way of referring to a cricket team. Here are some of the other key numbers for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: 11 – The number of ICC Cricket World Cups to have taken place including the 2015 edition. 2 – The number of times Australia and New Zealand have hosted the event. 4 – The World Cup is held every four years. 14 – The number of teams competing. 49 – The number of matches to be played between Saturday February 14 and Sunday March 29. 50 – The number of overs in each innings. 2019 – The next World Cup will be held in England and Wales.
See more about famous World Cup numbers in the 100 Greatest World Cup Moments Countdown here
YUVRAJ SINGH was named man of the tournament for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 after a dominant performance where he scored 362 runs and picked up 15 wickets over nine matches. The award has been handed out since 1992 with the winner announced after the final.
The first winner was New Zealand’s Martin Crowe, who scored 456 runs for the tournament, while recent winners have included Sachin Tendulkar (2003) after 673 runs and Glenn McGrath (2007) 26 wickets.
Any one of cricket’s superstars could take out the 2015 award and all will be revealed after the final at the MCG on Sunday 29 March.
Find out more about previous World Cups here.
ZIMBABWE is making its ninth appearance at the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2015.
The African nation first joined the tournament in 1983 and became a full-member nation of the International Cricket Council in 1992.
Zimbabwe’s best results came in 1999 and 2003 when the team made it through to the final ‘Super 6’ but they have yet to progress through to the knock-out stages of the tournament.
That could change in 2015 and this time Zimbabwe find themselves in Pool B with South Africa, England, Pakistan, West Indies, India and United Arab Emirates.
To catch Zimbabwe in action, head to one or more of their games in Auckland, Hamilton, Nelson, Brisbane, Canberra or Hobart.

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Squads by the Numbers

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Squads by the Numbers - Cricket News
More than 200 of the world’s best cricketers will do battle for the ICC Cricket World Cup from 14 February next month. Now that the 14 teams have finally been revealed, here is a look at the squads by the numbers:
210 – The total number of players who will take part in the tournament.

43 – The age of the oldest players, United Arab Emirates captain Mohammad Tauqir and vice-captain Khurram Khan – who were both born on June 21, 1971.

18 – The age of the youngest player named, Afghanistan’s 18-year-old Usman Ghani, who was born on November 20, 1996. The youngest person to ever play in a World Cup was Canada’s Nitish Kumar, who was 16 during the 2011 tournament.

33 – The most experienced World Cup player set to play in this year’s tournament is Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene, who has played 33 matches across the 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011 tournaments.

5 – The number of 2015 players who have previously tasted World Cup glory: India’s MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina (all part of the 2011 winning XI) and Australia’s Michael Clarke and Shane Watson (part of the 2007 winning XI). Ravichandran Ashwin was in India’s 2011 squad, and Mitchell Johnson and Brad Haddin were part of Australia’s 2007 squad, but the trio did not play in their country’s winning finals – ensuring they will be hungrier than ever for success in 2015.

991 – Kumar Sangakkara has scored 991 World Cup runs for Sri Lanka in 30 matches across the 2003, 2007 and 2011 tournaments, making him the highest run-scorer heading into the 2015 event.

83.63 – Australia skipper Michael Clarke’s average in World Cup matches. In 15 innings, Clarke has scored 669 runs and has a strike rate of 93.57. It’s the highest average of any 2015 player, and the third highest of all time. The next highest current player on the list is Clarke’s teammate Shane Watson, who has averaged 62.14 in his 12 Cup innings.

31 – Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga has snared 31 wickets in his 15 World Cup matches, including his best numbers of 6-38.  He enters the 2015 event with the most World Cup wickets of any current player.

17.87 – Malinga also has the lowest World Cup average out of all of the bowlers named for the 2015 tournament. He is fourth on the all-time lowest averages list.

46 – Sangakkara also enters the 2015 World Cup with the most dismissals by a wicketkeeper, having taken 36 catches and executed 10 stumpings. He only needs seven more dismissals to leap ahead of Adam Gilchrist on the all-time World Cup ‘keeper list.

2 – The number of players who have played for more than one country at the Cricket World Cup, who are playing at #cwc15. Both have played for Ireland and England, with Ed Joyce representing England in 2007 and Ireland in 2011 & now 2015, whilst Eoin Morgan has conversely represented Ireland in 2007, but was playing for England four years later in 2011 and will captain England’s Squad in 2015.

14 – The number of teams competing for the 2015 Cricket World Cup, including first-timers Afghanistan.

49The number of matches to be played between February 14 and the final on March 29.

23 - the number of years since Australia and New Zealand last hosted the ICC Cricket World Cup

14The number of host cities across Australia and New Zealand.

1 - One champion will be crowned on 29 March 2015 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground

 Click here for a list of all ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 squads.

The World Cup: one-day cricket's hour in the sun

Despite his successful Test captaincy and achievements off the field, Imran Khan is best remembered for Pakistan's 1992 World Cup win  © PA 
I recently came to the conclusion that whenever there isn't an impending World Cup, many of us (cricket writers and most committed fans) don't care much about ODIs. These days the things that occupy our minds are the slow death/active murder of Test cricket and the fast-exploding/apocalyptic rise of the T20 format. Like the quintessential middle child, the ODI isn't as much loved or hated as it is ignored.
Yet when we come to think of it, it is increasingly true of the modern game that winning the World Cup is the pinnacle of the sport. There is no higher achievement - not just in terms of the prizes but also in the eyes of the majority of the fans (though perhaps not of the most knowledgeable ones). Test matches might be the biggest test and T20s might make you wealthy, but winning the World Cup is what unites critical and commercial acclaim.

One reason for this is cricket's various formats and the lack of cohesion in its calendar. Unlike football, where the seasons end more or less around the same time in each hemisphere, cricket's calendar never stops or starts. There are often series between a team that hasn't played for months and another that's on the last leg of a gruelling season. It makes it harder to have a definitive understanding of who is on top. Even the rankings don't always make sense, since not everyone has played the same amount or the same opposition.
The World Cup stands as a sole moment of clarity and unification in what is otherwise an always-vague schedule. Though the event started as a sideshow, the years have served to increase the value of what winning the title means. When we think of Clive Lloyd's legacy and celebrate his team, we don't focus mainly on the back-to-back World Cup wins, although they are part of the discussion. But, in contrast, when we think of Kapil Dev, Arjuna Ranatunga and MS Dhoni, captaining a World Cup-winning team is central to their legacy.
No one embodies the power of this legacy better than Imran Khan. He was arguably the game's greatest captain, a phenomenal allrounder who collected many achievements. But it was his lucky victory in a tournament he played while injured and past his prime that sealed the deal. Even now, as he has become the most charismatic politician in Pakistan, he and his hordes of supporters (most of whom are too young to have ever seen him play) keep bringing up the World Cup as his and the nation's greatest achievement. Indeed, despite all that he has done since, it feels impossible to imagine Imran's political career without the World Cup.
The exception here might be the Australian captains who won it. This is largely because in Australia (to a large extent) and in England (absolutely) Test cricket remains the most valued format. For Allan Border and Steve Waugh, there was a much grander narrative about their captaincy in which the World Cup was one chapter. But it can be argued that the consecutive World Cup wins for Ricky Ponting were the greatest redemption of his captaincy, given that he was the only Australian captain to lose the Ashes three times.
Australia's dominance is one of the under-represented reasons for the long discontent with the tournament. Since 1992, no two consecutive tournaments have been completely alike in their formats. The World Cup is seen as too long and containing too many one-sided matches. The Associates are praised for pulling off the biggest upsets and simultaneously blamed for providing most of the boring games.
Yet I feel the fact that Australia didn't lose a single match in 2003 and 2007 (the two most criticised editions, in terms of formatting) probably went a long way in leaving a sour taste. It can't be much fun to wait four years for a forgone conclusion.
This is why 2011 seemed to avoid some of the opprobrium, since it was a far more open tournament. That is even truer for 2015, where several teams (particularly all three from the southern hemisphere) look capable of winning the big prize. On paper no one compares to South Africa, but such is their history that even if they win every match en route to the trophy, it will come as a major shock.
With the exception of perhaps Michael Clarke (and maybe not even him) every other captain playing in 2015 will become one his country's greatest players if he leads his team to the cup.
Perhaps this is stating the obvious, but in all our talk of rankings and ratings and formats, we can sometimes forget the simple, magnificent charm of the World Cup. Here's to a great tournament!

Is cricket really vulnerable to physical altercations?

It's unlikely that the Lillee-Miandad incident would even figure in the top 50 undignified moments list in all sport  © PA Photos
Here's something that cricket people never admit in the sledging debate: over the past two decades this sport has spawned an entire literary genre in celebration of sledging. There's stacks of these books. People buy them and people read them, too. Most of them are rubbish, of course, but people do actually buy them in sufficient quantities that they keep getting published. That's not much of a moral high ground to start on.
Fans who don't mind a bit of sledging are always quick to remind us that it's been around since our distant ancestors first picked up bats and balls, but it's actually only been in the last 40 years that it's been written about at length. There is an irony at play here for those who are broadly anti-sledging but still keep track of what's written about it; the more you read, the more wearying it is when each new outbreak of sledging debate occurs. To borrow a John Cooper Clarkism, it bloody gets you bloody down.

Everyone had another crack at it in the weeks following Australia's recent Test series against India, which is fair enough, but as far as I could see only Ian Chappell said something I genuinely didn't expect when he warned that an escalation in sledging might soon result in a physical altercation on the field. You can never underestimate Chappell's thoughts on the game, nor the weight they carry, because they are well considered and come from a place of knowledge and passion.
This new angle of his is interesting on two levels, though. Firstly, and of less consequence, it makes you wonder whether Chappell himself feels a degree of either guilt or indignation on account of sledging incidents in his own career and the way they were portrayed in the media.
Cricket publications of the '70s and '80s are full of blustering editorials about Chappell's indiscretions. Here's an irate Peter Philpott in the January 1976 issue of Australian Cricket talking of Chappell's attitude towards sledging: "... most [cricketers] have bitterly resented the damage he is doing to the game" and "I just hope he does not negate his achievements in the game by harming the game to which he has given a great deal."
Or Geoff Prenter in the same publication five years later: "It was Chappell and [Tony] Greig who introduced sledging into the game". None of that disqualifies Chappell from holding an opinion on the current state of sledging, but it is at least an interesting backstory to his stance now.
Secondly, and more importantly, I think Chappell's suggestion that the end point of sledging will be an incident of physical violence is far more interesting and worthy of examination. He's not actually the first one to suggest this, to be truthful. Most notably and in the wake of the Monkeygate affair (or "Bollyline", as it was briefly known) Scyld Berry used his 2008 Wisden editorial notes to make a similar case.
Under the subheading, "The Threat of Violence", Berry starts, "I fear the day is approaching when a high-profile, televised cricket match will see an outbreak of physical violence on the field." Preventing this would therefore require "vision and leadership". This, despite the fact that genuine on-field violence hadn't occurred between players in a Test since the Lillee-Miandad incident of 1981. Berry doesn't go as far as offering conclusions on what form such violence might take, nor what the fall-out would be.
His examples are worthy but not damning; Zaheer Khan pointing his bat at Kevin Pietersen during the Trent Bridge Test of 2007 after accusing the England batsman of stashing lollies in his pockets to assist with shine on the ball; Monkeygate (which never got violent, but Andrew Symonds found catharsis later in the year by shirt-fronting a ground invader at the Gabba) and three relatively minor collisions between running batsmen and bowlers. Cricket would be "so easy to destroy", concludes Berry, though you rather doubt it based on the evidence tendered.
Both Berry and Chappell have seen enough Test cricket to have developed an innate sense of its mood and subtle changes in tone, but I can't help but conclude that international cricketers - particularly the ones from the wealthiest cricket nations - have far too much to lose in a career and financial sense from stepping their arguments up to the physical.

In cricket, there remains a far greater stigma around physical contact with opposition players than in most sports. Does that distort our view?
From the perspective of a player like David Warner, for example, there's never been more to lose from overstepping the line. Surely even he realises that. Even the Joe Root incident, regrettable as it was, remains a red herring in this debate because it occurred in a bar and under the fog of alcohol, not on a cricket field.
In cricket, there remains a far greater stigma around physical contact with opposition players than in most sports. Does that distort our view? Perhaps this is why even the inevitable bumps and brushes between bowlers and batsmen as they follow through and run still seem like a bigger deal than they probably are. Two thousand one hundred and fifty-six Test matches is a reasonable sample size from which to draw the conclusion that actual biffo is probably low on the agenda of most players.
In Test cricket, only one historical incident of violence stands out - Dennis Lillee and Javed Miandad's aforementioned display in the Perth Test of 1981. An awful sight? Definitely. "One of the most undignified events in Test history" was Wisden's disapproving verdict. Lillee ended up with a A$120 fine and two-game ban for his role.
Come with me for a moment though. Consider every awful act you've ever seen perpetrated on the fields of the various football codes of the world. Would Lillee-Miandad even make a Top 50 undignified altercations list? I'm not excusing it or suggesting it wasn't worthy of fuss, but the more I watch it the more convinced I am that Lillee's two other actions - his deliberate bump on Miandad as the batsman completes his run and then lastly using umpire Tony Crafter as a human shield - are far worse than the kick itself. If that was cricket at its worst - and remember that neither player was hurt - we're probably not a bad lot.
Stepping down a level to first-class cricket, the most high-profile example of on-field violence in recent eras was Rashid Patel's fracas with Raman Lamba during the Duleep Trophy final of 1990-91. Bowling to Lamba near the end of his undefeated 180 as North Zone compiled 729 for 9, a frustrated Patel hurled a beamer down at the batsman and then chased him to the boundary's edge with a stump. The crowd duly rioted and Patel and Lamba wore 13 and ten-month bans, respectively. Neither was physically hurt.
"Look," explained Patel years later, "cricketers are generally good guys, but things happen in the heat of the moment, when the pressure gets to you." More recently and strangely not the source of any notable debate beyond initial news reports, there was a near-identical incident in 2005 when Hyderabad's Arjun Yadav - son of current BCCI interim president Shivial - attacked Andhra Pradesh and now India batsman Ambati Rayudu with a stump during a Ranji Trophy match. You can only find half a dozen mentions of it online.
So what am I saying? High-profile professional cricketers have rarely lost control of themselves to the extent of physical violence and the suggestion that they soon will just seems dubious. Chappell's right - it would be a good thing if outright abuse and inane chatter disappeared from the game because they add nothing, but to suggest that the next step for sledgers is physical violence not only ignores history but misinterprets the motivations of modern players.

The emirate of Indian cricket and its subjects- Mukul Kesavan

Long-time observers of the BCCI know that it used to be cricket's answer to the medieval city state. No Medici controlled Florence as comprehensively as the BCCI controlled cricket in India. The Board of Control was an independent principality, located in India, surrounded by India, but not of India. Its jurisdiction over cricket in India was as absolute as the Vatican's over Catholicism; it brooked no interference in its affairs, not even from the nation state that enclosed it.
Its last pope showed his cardinals that he was the god of most things by turning conductor and orchestrating a symphony of conflicting interests. His orchestra pit was crowded with cricketers, ex-cricketers, captains, captains of industry, consultants, commentators, cooing starlets, all on the same page, bobbing to his baton. During his reign most living things in cricket's jungle became the board's creatures, bound by contract, muted by money and sworn to servility. Not everyone: the Great Indian Bedi, never a herd animal, wouldn't be corralled, but he was an exception. Most errant beasts that held out were forced back into the fold by the threat of excommunication. In the context of the godless present this meant not the eternal absence of the Lord's grace, but the permanent loss of the board's cash.
The board's independence was secured not by defying Leviathan but by co-opting it. Sharad Pawar, Arun Jaitley, Rajeev Shukla, even Narendra Modi, have all helped administer cricket in India. Unluckily for the BCCI, the Supreme Court couldn't be squared, and so this cricketing emirate with Dubai's soul and Abu Dhabi's reserves finds itself in danger of being regulated like a public sector undertaking.
The recent Supreme Court ruling got one thing exactly right: Indian cricket's original sin was the amendment of the virtuous clause in the BCCI's constitution that barred its office holders from taking a financial stake in any matches or tournaments organised by the board. It was this (retrospective) amendment that allowed N Srinivasan, then treasurer of the BCCI, to buy an IPL franchise, Chennai Super Kings. The conflict of interest that this created - especially after Srinivasan rose to become the president of the BCCI - was so enormous, so brazen, so perversely exemplary, that people involved with cricket's economy felt free to wallow in their own, smaller, conflicts.
One of the board's many apologists, appearing on a televised discussion of the Supreme Court's intervention, ingeniously cited the many conflicts of interest that Srinivasan's example had engendered, to normalise his own. If men like MS Dhoni and Rahul Dravid could hold sinecures at India Cements while captaining teams in the IPL, why were people so exercised about Srinivasan's double role?
The idea that cricket was news or even that it was an event in the real world that could be reported on, gratis, gave way to the idea that cricket was proprietary entertainment that could only be captured in pictures or the spoken word for a fee
The short answer to this is that a) Srinivasan's position as Indian cricket's primate and CSK's boss made his conflicts of interest a systemic threat to the health of Indian cricket, and b) Srinivasan's conflicts created an actual, not theoretical, crisis of credibility for Indian cricket. But it's worth taking the apologist's question seriously and supplying a longer answer to understand the cricketing culture that allowed these conflicts of interest to seem normal, even legitimate.
While trying to understand Indian cricket's deafness to the notion of a conflict of interest, it's useful to bear in mind a historical fact: the BCCI transitioned from an oligarchy of patrons to an oligarchy of rentiers and entrepreneurs inside 20 years.
Nominally, the BCCI presides over a pyramidal system of cricket administration based on indirect election. In actual fact most electoral colleges are owned by local grandees. Often a business family will dominate the local cricket association for decades. The elections that legitimise the present system have more in common with the politics of rigged pocket boroughs in 18th-century England than the broad democracy of republican India. Elections to the BCCI, the apex body of Indian cricket, are often accompanied by a chorus of allegations about rigging, gerrymandering and accreditation.
The BCCI is run by a cabal of colonial-style patrons. This self-perpetuating clique struck oil less than 20 years ago. It recognised the potential of revenue streams created by economic liberalisation and successfully connected an opaque club of amateur administrators with real money. The coming of cable television and the consolidation of a national television audience created the revenues that underwrote the first generation of endorsement superstars: Kapil Dev, Azharuddin, Tendulkar. Once, Doordarshan telecast cricket as a kind of republican duty to India's cricket-mad citizens; then private television channels learnt it was a privilege for which they had to pay vast sums.
The game was so comprehensively monetised that the BCCI began demanding fees to permit the photographing of matches and the broadcasting of radio commentary. The idea that cricket was news or even that it was an event in the real world that could be reported on, gratis, gave way to the idea that cricket was proprietary entertainment that could only be captured in pictures or the spoken word for a fee. ESPNcricinfo briefly stopped calling IPL teams by their franchise names because it was advised that these names were commercial properties that couldn't be used without payment.

With us or against us: the BCCI had the last laugh when Kapil Dev chose to side with the rebel ICL
With us or against us: the BCCI had the last laugh when Kapil Dev chose to side with the rebel ICL © AFP
The monetising of cricket occurred within an administrative culture where the BCCI's officials still saw themselves as "honorary" patrons. Before the boom these men had leveraged their status as cricket's patrons into social standing as city grandees. For ex-rajas and aspirational businessmen - traditionally, big business didn't bother with cricket - cricket was a way of being someone on the regional or national stage.
N Srinivasan's back story fits the model. He ran India Cements, he was genuinely interested in sport and he was a pillar of Madras society. For him, as for the Rungtas in Rajasthan or Dalmiya in Bengal, cricket was a route to social consequence and the public eye. In Madras, Srinivasan was preceded as patron by two other industrialists, AC Muthiah and his father MA Chidambaram, after whom the stadium at Chepauk is named. It's important to recognise that men like Chidambaram, Muthiah and Srinivasan didn't make money out of the game before the boom. They actually spent their own money subsidising cricketers and cricket because this was what patrons did.
In this way the men who governed Indian cricket came to see themselves as benefactors and the men who played cricket in India learnt to recognise them as such. Through the long shamateur epoch of Indian cricket, cricketers were supported by sinecures in private companies and public sector undertakings, and socialised into the role of dependent clients. It was a recognition forced upon them by the need to make a living in a sport that had no business model and generated no money.
These patron-client relationships survived the monetisation of Indian cricket, which happened, it's worth remembering, with bewildering speed. Even after successful cricketers became rich men, members of a sporting super elite, they went along with being infantilised as clients. There were three broad reasons for this.
One, gratitude. They remembered the hard times and were grateful for the support that patrons like Srinivasan had extended to the sport. India Cements had dozens of players on its rolls. It supported league cricket in Madras and helped players - not necessarily international players - make a living. (It wasn't alone in this. Sungrace Mafatlal supported cricket generously in Bombay; Sachin Tendulkar joined its Times Shield team in 1990 after his Test debut. It is something of an irony that this fabric brand didn't survive the economic liberalisation that helped make both Tendulkar and the BCCI fabulously wealthy.)

The judiciary has stepped in and taken charge of the affairs of the BCCI. It has dismissed the BCCI's claim of being a private body
Two, pragmatism. Players recognised that while the financial basis of the sport and their own financial standing might have been transformed by sponsorship, endorsements and television revenue, the men who ran this new money-spinning machine were the same patrons who had run the shamateur, shabby-genteel set-up in the earlier era. It made complete sense to say yes if a patron like Srinivasan wanted you on his rolls even if the money from the sinecure made no real difference to your net worth.
Three, fear. To annoy the BCCI was to be exiled from Indian cricket and its economy; it was much safer to acknowledge the power of these "honorary" patrons than to be your own man. Here the ruthless purge of the Indian Cricket League rebels was the cautionary tale. A board that could unperson Kapil Dev, arguably the greatest Indian cricketer of the television age, for daring to dabble in an unauthorised league, was not to be crossed.
Thus, administrators like Srinivasan, persuaded of their virtue because of their generosity as patrons, were consumed by a sense of entitlement that made the very suggestion of a conflict of interest an impertinence. And players, used to deferring to patrons who made their livelihoods possible, found it hard to break the habit of clientage even when they didn't need the money. The idea that a sinecure might constitute a conflict of interest must have seemed preposterous: how could something endorsed by Srinivasan, uber-patron and undisputed master of the cricketing universe, be wrong?
Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that he was wrong, that there is such a thing as a conflict of interest and that the amendment of rule 6.2.4 was illegal, Indian cricket's supple auxiliaries have started airing their doubts about Srinivasan. The ex-player, the ex-IPL franchise manager, the marketing consultant, the sports management agent, the plausible commentator, have begun shyly sharing their long-brewed conviction that something was amiss. Shyly, because it isn't yet clear that the sheikh is dead, and given Srinivasan's past resilience who can blame them?
Will Indian cricket be regulated into virtue by the Supreme Court? It's hard to tell. But we do know that a precedent has been laid down by the court: the judiciary has stepped in and taken charge of the affairs of the BCCI. It has dismissed the BCCI's claim of being a private body. It has amended the BCCI's constitution, instructed Srinivasan to either sell CSK or withdraw from board elections, and assigned the reform of the board to a committee of three retired judges. It'll be a nice irony if the crony capitalism of this cabal becomes the proximate cause of a creeping nationalisation of Indian cricket.
Mukul Kesavan is a writer based in New Delhi. This article was first published in the Kolkata Telegraph