Thursday, December 7, 2017

Cricket in "The Big Bang Theory"

I am a big fan of the Sitcom "The Big Bang Theory". However, found a very weird line in one of the recent episodes

Our favorite desi astrophysicist, Dr. Rajesh Koothrapalli, takes his friend Howard Wolowitz to a sports bar, where a cricket match is being telecast live. And while explaining the game to a bored Howard, comes up with this line."That's Ravichandran Ashwin, he is amazing. He makes Bhuvaneswar Kumar seem like Hardik Pandya!" A confused Howard replies with "thats too many syllables", while a confused me pauses the episode, rewinds and is clearly bamboozled by what the meaning of that line could be. A couple of attempts makes it clear that the statement has no meaning in the cricketing sense. 

However, the show goes on. And on the scene arrives Ruchi, who is equally cricket-crazy. And they get into a discussion on India's chances in World Cup (which one?) which solely rests on Kohli's form. (Now that is completely true). 

Ruchi meanwhile wants the bowler to break the batsmen's (who isn't mentioned) leg. I assume the over must have changed in the interim otherwise hollering Ashwin to bowl yorkers? And the duo discuss being present at the ground to witness Shoaib Akhtar's two consecutive yorkers in Eden Gardens to Dravid & Tendulkar (last few details assumed by me).

So three random names, Kohli's form being key to India's World Cup chances, yorkers, and their deadly use by Shoaib Akhtar in Eden Gardens (Video). Thats a whole lot of cricket in the Big Bang!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Ranji Trophy 17-18: Jharkhand vs Gujarat

Match Summary: Gujarat (411 & 16/0) beat Jharkhand (242 & 183(f/o)) by 10 wickets
Points: Gujarat 7, Jharkhand 0

And the terrible season ends with another big defeat, at the hands of the defending champions Gujarat. Jharkhand were never in the running in this game and were outplayed completely. Nothing really to write about except Kumar Deobrat's twin fifties.

Overall a very disappointing season especially after last year's run to the semi-finals. Too much chopping and changing went on. We suffered from the absence of Shahbaz Nadeem due to India A duty, during the initial games, then Saurabh Tiwary had a bad run of form. Ishank Jaggi got 3 consecutive centuries but not much beyond that. Overall, the team did not click as a unit except for one game. On the bright side, Nazim Siddiqui's debut season was solid. Should get a decent run.

Highlights
  • Playing XI:Changes - too many of them!
    • In:  Virat Singh, Ashish Kumar, Ajay Yadav
    • Out: Saurabh Tiwary, Sunny Gupta, Sonu Singh
  • Shahbaz Nadeem led the side in Tiwary's absence
  • 350 FC wickets for Nadeem
  • Kumar Deobrat recorded his highest FC score of 80.
Season Stats
  • Top Scorers: 
    • Ishan Kishan - 484 @44.00
    • Nazim Siddiqui - 474 @43.09
    • Ishank Jaggi - 448 @44.80
  • Top Wicket-taker: 
    • Shahbaz Nadeem - 18 @32.83
    • Sunny Gupta - 17 @25.47
    • Varun Aaron - 15 @29.93
  • Player Count: 20
  • Captain Count: 3
Points Tally - 8 after 6 games. Finishing 6th in the group

Coming Up Next
Vijay Hazare Trophy in mid-February. Let's see if any of the players make an appearance in the Rest of India squad for the Irani Trophy.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Ranji Trophy 17-18: Jharkhand vs Jammu & Kashmir

Match Summary: Jammu & Kashmir (376 & 265/9d) beat Jharkhand (292/9d & 243) by 106 runs
Points: Jammu & Kashmir 6, Jharkhand 0

After the highs of last season, we reach the lows! Jharkhand lost to Jammu & Kashmir by 106 runs, thus ending all hopes for a knock-out berth. But it was heartening to see them play for a win on 4th day when they could have easily settled for a draw. There were good opening partnerships in both innings but not much to follow after that. Have to give credit to the team for the audacious attempt at the 4th innings chase. But they were simply outplayed by the J&K team.

Too much chopping and changing going on in the team!

Highlights
  • Playing XI:Changes - too many of them!
    • In: Utkarsh Singh, Anand Singh, Kumar Deobrat (all in their first appearance of the season), Sunny Gupta
    • Out: Kaushal Singh, Ashish Kumar, Shasheem Rathour, Sumit Kumar (who was the star in the previous game!)
  • Utkarsh Singh makes his first-class debut and first taste of senior cricket. Had been part of India U19s earlier this year. Decent performance on debut!
  • Ishan Kishan crossed the landmark of 2000 FC runs in his 31st game.
Season Stats
  • Top Scorer: Ishan Kishan - 427 @47.44
  • Top Wicket-taker: Sunny Gupta - 17 @25.47
  • Player Count: 20
  • Captain Count: 2
Points Tally - 8 after 5 games. Drop down to 5th and out of contention of the Quarter-finals.

Coming Up Next
Jharkhand take a break in the next round before taking on defending champions Gujarat in the last round. They can play spoilport for others though!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Ranji Trophy 17-18: Jharkhand vs Saurashtra

Match Summary: Saurashtra (553/9d & 59/4) beat Jharkhand (270 &341 (f/o)) by 6 wickets
Points: Saurashtra 6, Jharkhand 0

Cheteshwar Pujara has had a lean patch in recent times and he chose this very match to come back into form! In the process shattering the record for the most double centuries by an Indian batsman. For some reason Ranji, after whom the Trophy is named is not counted as an Indian batsman!!

Jharkhand were simply outplayed by the Saurashtra side. Although there were some passages of play when they were on top. In the first innings after taking down the first 4 Saurashtra wickets quickly. And in the entertaining passage of play following-on when Nazim Siddiqui and Sumit Kumar were going at over 5 runs per over. Siddiqui was unlucky to miss out on a century by a whisker - out for 99 off just 75 balls! With the ball, they did knock off 4 Saurashtra wickets while defending a meager target of 59.

The result makes the task of qualifying even more difficult.

Highlights
  • Playing XI:Changes: 
    • In: Sumit Kumar, Sonu Singh, (both in their first appearance of the season), Ashish Kumar
    • Out: Jaskaran Singh, Sunny Gupta, Virat SIngh
  • Maiden first-class century for Sumit Kumar, who also kept wickets, while Ishan Kishan played as a pure batsman.
  • First-class century #18 for Ishank Jaggi, also his 3rd of the season.
  • 50 FC wickets for Ashish Kumar in his 15th game
Season Stats
  • Top Scorer: Ishank Jaggi - 399 @66.50
  • Top Wicket-taker: Sunny Gupta - 15@20.20
  • Player Count: 17
  • Captain Count: 2
Points Tally - 8 after 4 games. Stayed at 4th. However, the gap with Top 3 has widened quite a bit. Need outright victories in both remaining games to stay in contention.

Coming Up Next
Jammu & Kashmir who are in the 6th place.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Farewell Nehraji!

T20I #630: India vs New Zealand, Feroz Shah Kotla, New Delhi

It wasn’t just another game. This one had context - the increasingly elusive factor in the modern sport!. After all it was the farewell match for Ashish Nehra, more popularly known as Nehraji. 

He hasn’t had the greatest career of them. Over the course of his stop-start 18-year international career he missed more matches than he played (17 Tests in 18 years - thats a telling statistic!). Injuries being the prime reason for keeping him away especially from the longest format. His career was in phases. A sudden start with a one-off Test appearance. Followed by becoming a regular for a few years in both formats. Then a gap, followed by a regular limited overs spot. And then when it seemed all over, a T20 international career at the very fag end! The returns may not have been outstanding but they were rewarding. A World Cup Winners and runners-up medals. Not many players can lay claim to that! And he got a grand farewell at his home ground – something which has eluded many a cricketing great in India!

After a long career, bowling your last over from an end named after you (albeit temporarily) cheered on by tens of thousands of spectators and then carried for a lap of honour by your team-mates! Endings don’t come more fairy-tailish than this!

So what memories of Nehraji will be retained!
  • That awkward action! How did it keep going on for so long!
  • That spell vs England in Durban in the 2003 World Cup! Swinging the ball like a banana and then puking a banana on the ground. The best swing bowling display ever by an Indian bowling combo!
  • The now infamous video of abusing a newbie Dhoni for not going for Afridi’s catch. A very justified reaction!
  • That picture with a very young Virat Kohli, who would later on go on to captain him in his last game! The circle of life. 
  • There was a time when Nehraji was out of the national squad but playing in Ranji. I recall Cricinfo having a dedicated Ashish Nehra section in the regular roundup!
  • Nonchalantly hitting the ball away in the air when he is the last man on crease with a single required to win against New Zealand!
  • Those comical fielding attempts! Missing the 2011 World Cup Final due to an injury suffered while attempting to take a diving catch in the semi-finals against Pakistan!
  • The frank interviews especially in the last stages of his career! That endearing revelation that in today's time, he still did not use a smartphone!
Nehraji, may you give you body some peace now. He certainly wasn't the greatest (ignore all the sentimentalist feelings after the retirement), but he certainly was an entertainer! Thanks for all the wonderful memories.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Ranji Trophy 17-18: Jharkhand vs Haryana

Match Summary: Haryana (208 & 296) lost to Jharkhand (425/9d & 81/0)
Points: Jharkhand 7, Haryana 0

The return of Shahbaz Nadeem bolstered Jharkhand as they romped home to a 10 wicket victory over Haryana. They knocked out Haryana quickly after having lost the toss. The top order failed but the middle and lower order took them to a big lead. After knocking over the Haryana top order in the 2nd innings, Jharkhand must have started scenting an innings victory. But there was some stubborn resistance, which lasted well into the final session. But the young openers chased down the target with ease and also secured a bonus point. 

Highlights
  • Playing XI:Changes: 
    • In: Shahbaz Nadeem, Shasheem Rathour (both in their first appearance of the season), Varun Aaron
    • Out: Babul Kumar, Ajay Yadav, Ashish Kumar 
  • Saurabh Tiwary continues to captain the side
  • First-class century #17 for Ishank Jaggi which turned the game in Jharkhand's favour.
  • Ishan Kishan crosses the landmark of 50 catches in his 29th game.
  • 14th career 5-wicket haul for Shahbaz Nadeem
  • 50th first-class game for Sunny Gupta
Season Stats
  • Top Scorer: Ishan Kishan - 271 @54.20
  • Top Wicket-taker: Sunny Gupta - 15@20.20
  • Player Count: 15
  • Captain Count: 2
Points Tally - 8 after 3 games. Moved up 2 places to 4th.

Coming Up Next
Saurashtra who are in the top spot.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Ranji Trophy 17-18: Jharkhand vs Rajasthan

Match Summary: Rajasthan (423) drew with Jharkhand (262 & 332/6 (f/o))
Points: Rajasthan 3, Jharkhand 1

The terrible start to the season continues as Jharkhand managed a single point against Rajasthan. Centuries by Amit Gautam and Tajinder Singh helped Rajasthan build up a big total of 423. Jharkhand batsmen did not really get going in reply with only Saurabh Tiwary managing some resistance. Jharkhand were forced to follow-on but they performed much more creditably the second time around to limit the damage and come away with one point from the game.

Highlights
  • Playing XI:Changes: 
    • In: Jaskaran Singh & Ajay Yadav
    • Out: Varun Aaron & Samar Quadri
  • Saurbah Tiwary captained the side in Varun Aaron's absence
  • Nazim Siddiqui scored his maiden first-class 100 in just his second game and that too on his 23rd birthday! Not a bad birthday gift for himself!
  • First-class century #16 for Ishank Jaggi and a match-saving one at that.
Season Stats
  • Top Scorer: Ishan Kishan - 142 @35.50
  • Top Wicket-taker: Sunny Gupta - 9@19.44
  • Player Count: 13
  • Captain Count: 2
Points Tally - 1 after 2 games. Moved up 1 place to 6th. Need a couple of outright wins to secure qualification.

Coming Up Next
Haryana who are currently in 7th place with no points. However, they have a game in hand. Hopefully Nadeem's return from India A duties will boost the team.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ranji Trophy 17-18: Jharkhand vs Kerala

Match Summary: Jharkhand (202 & 89) lost to Kerala (259 & 34/1) by 9 wickets
Points: Kerala 6, Jharkhand 0

The worst possible start to the new season losing the opening game! In a low scoring encounter, Jharkhand were on the back-foot from the start. However, being routed out for 89 in the 2nd innings must have been really soul-crushing. They were done in by the all-round efforts of Jalaj Saxena who took 11 wickets and scored a half-century as well. 

Jharkhand certainly missed Shahbaz Nadeem, who is on India A duty.

Highlights
  • Playing XI: Babul Kumar, Nazim Siddiqui, Virat Singh, Saurabh Tiwary, Ishank Jaggi, Ishan Kishan, Kaushal Singh, Sunny Gupta, Varun Aaron, Ashish Kumar, Samar Quadri.
  • Varun Aaron was leading the side.
  • While most of his team-mates had an outing to forget, Sunny Gupta managed a 6-wicket haul in the first innings.
  • First Class debut for Nazim Siddiqui, also his first official game at the senior level.
  • Kaushal Singh reached the career milestone of a 1000 first-class runs
  • Babul Kumar returned to first-class cricket after nearly 4 years. Innings of two and a duck now follow his maiden game of a single and a duck!
Season Stats
  • Top Scorer: Ishan Kishan - 59 @24.50
  • Top Wicket-taker: Sunny Gupta - 6@16.50
  • Player Count: 11
Points Tally - 0 after 1 game. Placed right at the bottom of the table.

Coming Up Next
Rajasthan who are currently in 4th place with a solitary point form their opening game

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Jharkhand Domestic Schedule: 2017-18

As is wont with Indian Cricket these days, we finally have the schedule for the Domestic season less than a week before its start. And as is also the case, the Domestic tournaments have once again been tinkered with!

Ranji Trophy will be now played in 4 groups of 7 each with the top two qualifying for the knock-outs. Done away in the promotion-relegation system. In the process reducing the minimum number of games for each team from 8 to 6. Vijay Hazare Trophy retains the previous year's format.

Slipstream Cricket will be back in action covering all of Jharkhand's games. Below are Jharkhand's domestic fixtures.

Ranji Trophy
1. October 6-9, 2017, vs Kerala
2. October 14-17, 2017, vs Rajasthan
3. October 24-27, 2017, vs Haryana
4. November 1-4, 2017, vs Saurashtra
5. November 9-13, 2017, vs Jammu & Kashmir 
6. November 25-28, 2017, vs Gujarat (the defending champions)

The knock-out rounds will be played in December, with the the Irani Trophy to be contested in mid-January, 2018.

Vijay Hazare Trophy
1. February 16, 2018, vs Vidarbha
2. February 17, 2018, vs Hyderabad
3. February 19, 2018, vs Services
4. February 22, 2018, vs Saurashtra
5. February 23, 2018, vs Chhattisgarh
6. February 25, 2018, vs Jammu & Kashmir (we just seem to keep running into them!)

The knock-out rounds will be played in March, 2018.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Arbit Stats #67

India vs Australia, Eden Gardens

Hat-tricks - They are rare events. And somehow each manages to become unique in its own respect.

With the wickets of Matthew Wade, Ashton Agar and Pat Cummins in consecutive balls , Kuldeep Yadav became the first ever player to take a hat-trick in ODIs and U-19 ODIs. He has a hat-trick against Scotland Under-19s as well!

Early days, but looks like this Chinaman is here for the long run!