Friday, June 24, 2016

Ranji at Nets

Sometimes the internet can come up with gems. 

The black and white video depicts Kumar Shri Ranjitsinghji (better known as Ranji) practicing in the nets. The video was shot during the 1897-98 Ashes tour in Australia by Henry Walter Barnett. He made three more such films during the tour but those are now lost.


Although the video is not from any game, but it is probably the oldest cricketing action of any kind captured on film. The silent film depicts Ranji practicing an array of shots. We hardly see the bowler or any other player. Except for the gentleman standing behind the nets in a waistcoat and hat, watching the proceedings while barely moving.  

Observations from the film 
  • Players of earlier time wore different kind of clothes. The white shirt, cuffed to the wrists, wouldn't have looked out of place in formal gatherings.
  • There are no bails on the stumps

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Arbit Stats: Nervous 9990s

Test Match #2204: England vs Sri Lanka

Before the start of the series Alastair Cook needed 36 runs to become the first Englishman to reach the 10,000 career Test runs mark. However this seems to have become a big bugbear for him as he has fallen short twice in the pursuit. In the 2nd Test of the series, he has become the 3rd batsmen to be dismissed in the nervous 9990s in Test tally.

Previous members of the nervous 9990s club - Lara & Jayawardene. (Elite company).

So the wait becomes longer for Cook.

Nishant Kumar for DieHard Cricket Fans
Follow Nishant on Twitter @NishantSKumar

Monday, May 23, 2016

Virat - The new God of Cricket !


He taps the ball to short mid-wicket and sprints like a hare. He carves it wide of sweeper, races two and turns for a third while his partner will be panting to finish the second run. As the shock wave of the ball scorching the stitches on the webbing of his hand, he allows the nerves to absorb it without flinching. When long time aggressor Gautam gets unruly, he grins to himself and leaves Gambhir even more frustrated. When Morris tries to play mind game on Rahul, he doesn't ask him to cower but express positively and what we get is a six over fine leg by Rahul.


When Gayle, AB or Rahul is on song, he doesn't dance but plays the second fiddle to perfection. He doesn't compete with team mates playing well, he tries to complete them. He scores eighty and admits in post match conference that he took 10 balls too many. When boys his age are chasing girls and targets, he's chasing monuments. If you're playing against him and win the toss, don't bat first. You've lost it there, unless you pile up runs that a single human being can't chase.

Batting first, he piles runs and then hopelessly watches his bowlers leak runs like the municipality taps without anyone to bother. He comes back in the next match and scores even more. Winning is what matters to him as he seldom shows as much passion on personal achievement as he shows when he knows the team is winning. Given a choice between scoring a hundred and losing a match against scoring 99 and winning, he would choose 99, every single time. Very few have been where he is yet he admires Gayle and ABDV and backs Rahul to the hilt.

We have seen great players, match winners, record makers, record breakers, legends, absolutely selfless team players, God of the off side, the God and pretty much everything on the Cricket field. We have seen the Dravid tenacity. We've seen Tendulkar straight drive. We've seen the Sehwag upper cut. We've seen the Ganguly cover drive. We've loved the Laxman pull shot. We thought we have seen all that we could have hoped to see.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The 2016 T20 World Cup

Its less than a week since the final of the T20 World Cup and we have the IPL knocking on our TV screens. While we await the festivities to begin, there is just enough to time to recollect the lasting images from the World Cup.

West Indies Won. And provided their own highlights reel for the tournament - Darren Sammy tearing into the Board during the final presentation, Samuels talking with his bat and mouth, Brathwaite hammering Stokes for 4 sixes and finally the Champion song. It was West Indies all over.  And they also won the Women's World Cup

2. Afghanistan
They are the fairy-tale story which keeps giving happiness to all cricket fans. They cruised into the main rounds easily knocking out Zimbabwe. Then proceeded to give a scare to everyone of their Super Stage opponents. They also collected a victory over eventual champions West Indies. Such was their exuberance that even Gayle joined in their victory celebrations. 

3. England failing to collect a famous defeat
England had a great World Cup, Just when they had one hand on the Cup, they were knocked off by the Brathwaite assault. A great turn-around for a team which failed to reach the ODI World Cup quarter-finals. And this time they didn't collect their now customary famous defeat as has become their habit in World events. Though they did come close against Afghanistan.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Rally Around the West Indies


World T20 Finals: Last Over, 19 needed - Ben Stokes bowling to Carlos Brathwaite
6, 6, 6, 6 

The Champion song rang across the Eden Gardens as West Indies cricket soared. The men became the first team to win the T20 World Cup twice. Just hours earlier the women had won their maiden title. And a few weeks back the Under-19 team had won a world cup of their own. It was time for celebrations. Even the most partial cricket follower was soaking in the happy feeling of the West Indies’ victories. 

Everything seemed perfect in the West Indies Cricket world. Until their skipper, Darren Sammy dropped in a harsh reality check. In an emotional victory speech, he described the struggles his team had faced, mostly from their own board. 

"We started this journey … people were wondering whether we would play this tournament. We had a lot of issues, we felt disrespected by our board .... We had a new manager in this tournament in Rawl Lewis, he had never managed any team before. He came here, we were at a camp in Dubai, but we had no uniforms, no printed … he left Dubai, went to Kolkata, that's where he started. The trouble he went to, to get us in this uniform ……Lastly I really want to thank the heads of CARICOM, throughout this tournament they have been supporting the team, we've got emails, we've got phone calls,… and I'm yet to hear from our own cricket board. That is very disappointing......For today, I'm going to celebrate with these 15 men and coaching staff. I don't know when I'm going to be playing with these guys again because we don't get selected for one-day cricket. We don't know when we're going to be playing T20. So this win, I want to thank you my team, I want to thank you coaching staff … everybody know West Indies are champion!" [Full Text]