Wednesday, June 24, 2020

World Beyond the Cup - Tete-a-tete with Cricket Brasil

DHCF: For most people Brazil means Football but what they don’t know is that Cricket was introduced in Brazil before Football. Cricket has a rich history in this football obsessed country. Tell us a bit about it.

CB: Cricket in Brazil began in the mid-1800s in Rio de Janeiro, during a period when a portion of the city’s population was British or of British descent. By the early 1860s, a number of cricket clubs were in operation. Beginning in 1860, as part of a much-needed beautification programme for the city, Emperor Dom Pedro II created several new parks, including a large grassed area in front of his daughter Princess Isabel’s house, who is a big figure in our country’s history, and this space eventually became the country’s first proper cricket ground, and hosted cricket, tennis and bowls matches for many years. Princess Isabel and her father were frequent spectators, and often called upon to present trophies to the winners.

From that moment to this century, Cricket has been played in several capitals and a street Cricket game called “Taco” was created. You can easily see taco being played in small cities by children – and most of them will not even know that it is related to Cricket!

Coming to the new era of the game in Brazil, the national Associação Brasileira de Cricket (ABC) was founded in 2001, and Brazil became an affiliate member of the ICC in 2003.

We started grassroots projects for Brazilians in Brasilia and mainly Poços de Caldas in 2011. The projects have been a success and we  have more than 3500 children playing cricket on a weekly basis, and that has led to a U13, U17 male and female teams and a Senior Male and Female teams playing on T20I status since 2018.

DHCF: With Brazil now been granted T20I status and International cricket action on for the national teams, what does it mean for the future?

CB: It is already being a big change. Since 2018 we have invested more on our women’s team and 2020 they were the first team from Brazil to have central contracts.

That is part of the plan on improving the pathway on the female high performance side and taking this team to ICC tournaments.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Total Recall #2 India vs South Africa, 24th November 1993, Kolkata Hero Cup (First Semi-final)

In this second article of Total Recall series, we are going to relive one of the most iconic matches of the 90’s era, one which shaped a youngster into a man and made millions of Indian fans hopeful that their team is going to get a lot of success in the coming years.

The Backdrop

The CAB Jubilee Cup, known as ‘Hero Cup’, as Hero Honda were the sponsors, was organized from 7th November – 27th November 1993, to commemorate the diamond jubilee of Cricket Association of Bengal. It included host India, along with Sri Lanka, South Africa, West Indies, and Zimbabwe. Pakistan was also scheduled to participate, but they pulled out just four days before the start of the tournament. All the ten league games (each team played the others once) were held at ten different venues and the semi-finals and final were held at Eden Gardens, Kolkata.
Controversies

There was crowd trouble in the match between India and West Indies at Ahmedabad, which shortened the game, as well as a firecracker burst in the face of Keith Arthurton of West Indies in the final match against India (yes, even firecrackers were allowed to carry inside the stadiums in those days, imagine!).

This was also the first tournament to be broadcasted live on a satellite channel, Star TV. Until then, state terrestrial broadcaster Doordarshan had a monopoly of broadcasting cricket matches in India. Doordarshan even approached the Supreme Court in 1995, stating that the broadcast should be uplinked from India (Star TV did from Hong Kong), but this plea was rejected, which started the entry of multiple sponsors and broadcast rights bids in India.

Points Table (at the end of league stage)


Team
P
W
L
T
NR
Points
NRR
4
3
1
0
0
6
+1.055
4
2
1
0
1
5
+0.543
4
2
1
1
0
5
+0.082
4
1
3
0
0
2
−0.478
4
0
2
1
1
2
−1.260

The Match

India had defeated South Africa in the league stage, but that did not mean anything in a semi-final, which was a new experience for everyone involved. It was the first day-night ODI held at Eden Gardens (the first day night match outside Australia was held in Jawahar Lal Nehru stadium in 1984). So, it was not a very common experience for Indian team to play under lights. The fact that it was winter made things more tilted in favour of the bowlers with some swing and movement at offer. South Africa had been a force to reckon since their re-entry into cricket in 1991, and this was going to be a mouth-watering contest.

Md. Azharuddin won the toss and elected to bat first. By the 7th over, India was tottering at 18/3, with Manoj Prabhakar and Vinod Kambli being brilliantly run out by Daryll Cullinan and Ajay Jadeja out LBW by Fanie de Villiers. When Sachin Tendulkar got out for 15, India was reeling at 53/4. That is when Azhar resurrected the innings, along with the help of Pravin Amre, who scored a slow, but much needed 48 off 90 balls. Such was the domination of South Africa, that these three were the only batsmen to reach a double-digit score (the fourth highest contribution was from Extras, 13 of them!)


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Thursday, June 18, 2020

Tete-a-tete with Ryan Campbell, Former Australian & Hong Kong Player, Present Netherlands' Head Coach

DHCF:  Late 90s and 2000s was a time when people said that if Australia fielded 2 teams, they would be No. 1 & 2 in the world. The Australian XI was so hard to get into, that it deprived the World Cricket of some serious talent. How frustrating was it to keep performing in Domestic cricket and not making it to the national team?

Ryan: Of course it was frustrating but it was also the greatest time to play cricket in Australia due to the amazing competition that was going on. Our Test players (Gilchrist, Martyn, Langer, Katich etc) always said that coming back and playing Sheffield Shield was harder than playing Test cricket. It was an amazing period for Australian cricket and I feel very privileged to have been a part of it.

DHCF: You were known for your high octane game. Do you wish T20 cricket was invented a decade earlier? Atleast the world would have had a chance to watch you play in the leagues like BBL and IPL, a glimpse of which was seen in ICL.

Ryan: Yeah of course, I was lucky enough to play in the first ever T20 match in Australia, it was against Victoria and they had to close the gates at the WACA. We knew we were onto something then. I loved T20 but when I decided to retire I had made peace with my decision.


DHCF: How did the move to Hong Kong come about? How was your experience with Hong Kong cricket, having played multiple roles of advisor, batting coach and a player?

Ryan: When I retired from cricket it was due to my heavy workload outside of cricket. I was heavily involved in the media, hosted my own Travel show (Postcards WA) as well as being on morning radio, I actually said no to putting my name into the first IPL auction as I was hosting the coverage for Channel 10. But in the end, I missed the game and my good friend Charlie Burke (HK National Coach) had asked me to come up and work with the squad for a week. He knew I had my Level 3 Coaching certificate. An opportunity then came up at the Kowloon Cricket Club as Director of Cricket/Head Coach. I had just turned 40 and was single, I felt it was a chance for a great adventure and thought an year would be awesome. Little did I know that I would stay for 5 years, get married, have a son and play for the National team!! I love everything about Hong Kong and still miss it daily.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Total Recall - 1 India vs Australia, 21st October 1996, Bengaluru Titan Cup (Group Fixture)

Every journey is gradual. The pedestal on which Indian cricket rests today has been due to the years of toils of the players, and the business acumen of the administrators. If cricketers brought the spectators to the field, the administrators brought the sponsors and money into the game. The decade of 90’s saw both these factors gain more traction and get the ball rolling for Indian cricket.
In this special series of ‘Total Recall’, I will take you back to those memorable matches from yesteryears, so we can relive those numerous unforgettable moments again. The first segment in this series is the Titan cup match between India and Australia in Bengaluru.
Australia Innings
Having lost their opening matches against a strong South African team, both India and Australia were looking to get a win in this game and open their account in the points table. Opting to bat first, Australia got off to a slow start, and by the end of 10th over, they were struggling at 23/2. Steve Waugh joined his captain Mark Taylor in the middle and they forged a partnership of 92 before Steve Waugh departed in 31st over. Michael Bevan, who was yet to claim his fame as Mr. finisher, came to the middle and had a partnership of 82 runs with Taylor, before the latter fell for a laborious 105(144). This was Taylor’s maiden ODI century in his 98th match. 
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A late flourish from the lower middle order helped Australia reach to a modest total of 215/7, which was far lesser than what India managed against Pakistan in the World Cup quarterfinal at the same venue, just over 6 months ago. But from the start of the Australian innings, it was evident that this pitch far more sluggish from the earlier one. The chase was not going to be an easy one, against a competitive Australian bowling line up.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Tete-a-tete with Prasanna Agoram, Proteas Performance Coach

DHCF: How did it all start for you? Given its quite a niche career option, what challenges did you face?
Prasanna: It's everyone's dream to play for India, whatever level of cricket you play and I was no different. When I was playing state level cricket for Tamil Nadu in age categories like all other young boys, I wanted to play for my country. It didn’t happen as I felt there are guys who had more talent than me. Then I became a qualified umpire in BCCI in 2000 dreaming about walking in Eden Gardens and Melbourne cricket ground but unfortunately it was not as easy as I thought and I don’t want to elaborate on this. Then finally I finished my Engineering in Electronics and Communication and went on to do my post graduate diploma in Computer Applications and was employed as a software engineer in Bangalore. This is when I saw an article in Hindu stating that a software company is developing a software for match analysis for Indian cricket team in 2001. I thought look I have decent cricketing knowledge and when it comes to developing software not many can match my speed. So I started developing match analysis software all alone from that time which I demonstrated to the National Cricket Academy. NCA employed me as their technical head in 2003 and the rest is history. The main challenge I faced was when few of the top cricketers and coaches kept on asking me that I not being a certified coach,  am I qualified to talk so much of cricket. Then thanks to Cricket South Africa I did my level 3 coaching certification from CSA in 2014  and now with so much of experience not many question my credentials.

DHCF: How has cricket analytics changed over the years?
Prasanna:  A lot. The amount of data one can derive is huge now. But let me make it clear, with the

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Curious Case of Kieran Powell's Omission

Sri Lanka is known to produce mystery bowlers, West Indies is known to produce mystery Selectors. The tussle between the West Indies Cricket administration/selectors and the players is well documented. It has been frustrating for the players as well as the fans who have missed deserved players from action often due to inexplicable reasons. 

The latest casualty of the selection policies is Kieran Powell. 

Leewards Islands captain Kieran Powell has been left out of the provisional 29-man squad for the West Indies tour of England which might go ahead despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Cricket West Indies and England & Wales Cricket Board are working out plans to somehow carry forward this tour which has been delayed due to the pandemic. 

The provisional squad sees return of Shannon Gabriel, Veerasammy Permaul and Jermaine Blackwood and also includes quite a few new selectees in Preston McSween, Paul Palmer, Shane Mosely and Keon Harding. 

Given Kieran has scored heavily in regional cricket, his absence from a squad of 29 is surprising to say the least.  Powell has been the top scorer in the regional 50 over competition this season and also scored well in the 4 day format. Though he didn't top the charts in the 4 day competition, an as opener he played quite a few very solid innings when the team was under pressure.