India missing a bowling coach - MS Dhoni

dhoniIndian captain MS Dhoni has admitted that the absence of a specialist bowling coach is hurting the team’s performance. Dhoni said it was “tough” for the bowlers and especially head coach Gary Kirsten to perform at optimum levels, and that ideally he would like the vacancy to be filled soon.

“To some extent it does hurt not having a bowling coach. If you have a specialist coach he is always interacting with the bowlers and trying to get the best out of them,” Dhoni said on the eve of the Indian team’s departure to Bangladesh.

Match referee gives harshest assessment of Kotla pitch

The possibility of the Feroz Shah Kotla being disqualified from hosting the 2011 World Cup remains high after ICC match referee Alan Hurst classified the pitch as “unfit” in his official report to the ICC, which was forwarded to the BCCI. The report was submitted in the aftermath of the abandonment of the fixture between India and Sri Lanka due to a dangerous pitch.

The classification is the harshest among the six stated categories - very good, good, above average, below average, poor and unfit. The venue could have got away with a fine had Hurst classified the surface as “poor” but given his most critical assessment, the consequences could be much worse.

MS Dhoni eyes more Tests to maintain supremac

dhoniIndia’s captain MS Dhoni is confident that his side can hold on to the No. 1 spot in Tests for a long time, even though they are scheduled to play only two Tests - against Bangladesh in January - in the next 11 months.

A proposal to include two Tests during South Africa’s visit in February is under consideration by the two boards, and India are also slated to host New Zealand in October next year for a three-Test series according to the Future Tours Programme (FTP), which has been widely criticised by some teams for the disparity in series distribution.

Match abandoned because of dangerous pitch

dilshanIt was surprising it took them 23.3 overs to call off play because of dangerous conditions. On a Kotla pitch where the bounce varied from shin to shoulder in as short a spell as three deliveries, Sri Lanka had reason to be thankful that they got away with just two hits on the body that needed attention. At around 11.20am, one length delivery from debutant Sudeep Tyagi reared up to almost clear MS Dhoni behind the stumps. The Sri Lankan batsmen had had enough by then. Kumar Sangakkara, dismissed already, and Mahela Jayawardene, out because of a groin injury, were seen waving from outside the boundary, and lengthy discussions ensued.

Tendulkar opts out of Bangladesh tri-series

sachinSachin Tendulkar has opted out of the tri-series in Bangladesh starting on January 4. He will be replaced by Rohit Sharma in the 16-man squad. Yuvraj Singh has also been included despite a finger injury scare that kept him out of four ODIs in the five-match series against Sri Lanka.

Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar have been dropped and replaced by Sreesanth and Ashok Dinda, who made his Twenty20 debut for India earlier this month. Amit Mishra displaced Pragyan Ojha in an inexplicable game of musical chairs for the back-up spinner’s role. Ravindra Jadeja retained his spot as the lone allrounder.

Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli tons hand India series

Virtually chanceless centuries from Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir made sure they would go to their home ground, Feroz Shah Kotla, with the series in the bag. The ease with which they chased down 316 in 48.1 overs, with Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar out inside the first four overs, and the absences of MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh for this match, was remarkable. On a day that youngsters outshone the more familiar performers in the series, Upul Tharanga’s first ODI century in 53 innings and more than three years, along with Suranga Lakmal’s opening burst finished second-best to the 224-run partnership between the Delhi batsmen.

Sri Lanka see opportunity in India’s injuries

yuvrajMatch facts

Thursday, December 24
Start time 14:30 (09:00 GMT)

Big Picture

The 2-1 scoreline is not unexpected given the way India have pushed Sri Lanka to the brink in all but one game - a Twenty20 - played in the limited-overs leg of the tour. But now, with the home team missing two match-winners, a hurting Sri Lanka have a realistic chance of leveling the series.

This will be the first time since MS Dhoni’s debut in 2004 that India play an ODI without him and Yuvraj Singh. Dhoni has often said that missing Yuvraj is a big blow, so how India cope with the loss of their captain and best batsman in ODIs in addition to Yuvraj will be crucial.

Mashrafe Mortaza to lead Bangladesh in tri-series

mortazaMashrafe Mortaza has been named as Bangladesh captain for next month’s home tri-series featuring Sri Lanka and India. The BCB’s board of directors, who convened in Mirpur today, said the fast bowler would also lead the side during the home Test series against India which follows.

Mortaza, who picked up an injury in the West Indies soon after taking over as captain from Mohammad Ashraful, missed the home ODIs against Zimbabwe in October-November after failing to recover in time from a knee surgery. Shakib Al Hasan, who led the team in his absence, has been named as vice-captain.

Yuvraj Singh ruled out of series

yuvrajIndian batsman Yuvraj Singh has been ruled out of the ongoing one-day international series against Sri Lanka because of a finger injury. Yuvraj had picked up the injury while fielding during the second Twenty20 in Mohali and was subsequently unavailable for the first two ODIs.

He has been advised rest for the next two matches of the ODI series after aggravating the worrisome finger and his participation in the forthcoming tri-series in Bangladesh remains in doubt. Yuvraj returned to the starting XI for the third ODI in Cuttack yesterday and scored 23 from 40 balls as India took a 2-1 lead in the five-match contest.

Tendulkar and Jadeja give India 2-1 lead

sachinAfter Virender Sehwag had bludgeoned 44 from just 28 balls, an unhurried and unbeaten 96 from Sachin Tendulkar took India to a facile victory that gave them a 2-1 lead in this five-match series. Sri Lanka had dominated the early stages of the match, galloping to 165 for 1 from 22.2 overs but they then subsided in bizarre fashion, undone by a combination of Ravindra Jadeja’s spin, poor shot selection and two wickets in two balls from Ishant Sharma, who had gone for 46 in his first three overs. They lost the remaining nine wickets for 74 runs and slumped to 239 all out, which India eased past with 44 balls to spare.