Pratik Sarkar, Author at Sportzwiki

Pratik Sarkar

Late sleeper. Coffee drinker. Bathroom thinker. Overrated club cricketer back in the day. Manchester United fan, having a man crush on David Beckham.

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Five Controversies In IPL Over The Years

Five Controversies In IPL Over The Years. The IPL is the world’s richest and most famous T20 league. Right since its inception in 2008, the Indian Premier League has had his fair share of controversies to go with the quality cricket on display.

An abundance of the hullabaloo is perhaps a fitting way to describe Lalit Modi’s brainchild. While top-class cricket is no doubt at the heart of the billion-dollar brand, controversies knowingly or unknowingly have helped raise the IPL’s profile by leaps and bounds.

Five Controversies In IPL Over The Years

1. CSK, RR suspended from IPL for 2 years – spot-fixing scandal

MS Dhoni, CSK, Five Controversies In IPL Over The Years
Image: BCCI

Star-studded Chennai Super Kings and inaugural champions Rajasthan Royals were suspended from the IPL for two years by the Lodha Committee in July last year thanks to their key officials Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra taking part in spot-fixing activities. Meiyappan and Kundra were also banned for life in a bid to clean up the big-ticket tournament hit by a barrage of fixing controversies.

5 Unforgettable Moments From Past World T20s
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5 Unforgettable Moments From Past World T20s

With the tournament proper of the World T20 beginning this week, we look back on the previous five editions of the World T20 and pick five unforgettable moments from the showpiece event of cricket’s shortest and youngest format.

5 Unforgettable Moments From Past World T20s

Yuvraj Singh’s six sixes at Durban

5 Unforgettable Moments From Past World T20s

Yuvraj Singh set the inaugural World T20 ablaze as the dashing left-hander smashed England fast bowler Stuart Broad for six sixes in an over. Yuvraj pounded the young pacer to all corners of Kingsmead Stadium in Durban as he raced away to a fifty in just 12 balls, still the record for the fastest half-century.

The interesting story behind what drove Yuvraj is that he and Andrew Flintoff shared a rather heated conversation before that over and Yuvraj confesses that it was Flintoff’s provocation which spurred him and he unleashed it on poor Broad.

KKR v SRH
KKR v SRH
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IPL 9: 5 Turning Points of SRH vs KKR match

Kolkata Knight Riders produced a clinical performance to register an eight-wicket victory against the Sunrisers Hyderabad. Skipper Gautam Gambhir led from the front as he smashed an unbeaten 90 to ensure a comfortable chase for the men in purple.

Here are the 5 turning points from a one-sided encounter between the Sunrisers and the Knights in Hyderabad.

1. KKR dismissed Dhawan and Warner cheaply!

Shikhar Dhawan’s struggles with the bat continued as he edged a rising delivery from Morne Morkel to keeper Robin Uthappa, who reached out high to collect a difficult catch. David Warner departed moments later as he misjudged a cutter from Umesh Yadav and played it straight to the safe hands of Surya Kumar Yadav at cover. Sunrisers Hyderabad reeling at 23 for 2 after 3.2 overs, KKR have the ascendancy.

2. KKR bowlers squeeze the runs, SRH in disarray with 4 wickets down after 10 overs!

Umesh Yadav continued his merry form dismissing Moises Henriques leg before wicket in the 6th over before Andre Russell scalped Deepak Hooda in the 10th over. Sunrisers reeling at 50 for 4 and desperately in need of Naman Ojha and Eoin Morgan building a partnership to post a fighting total.

3. Ojha and Morgan fight back, SRH rally in the death overs!

Naman Ojha played a cracker of an innings, smashing 37 off 28 balls to build a much-needed partnership with Eoin Morgan to rescue the Sunrisers innings from deep trouble. Morgan continued the big hitting even after Ojha’s dismissal with a well compiled 51 in a pressure situation. Ashish Reddy hit a couple of lusty blows at the end to take Hyderabad to 142 for 7, well below par but something to fight with.

4. Gambhir and Uthappa provide a dream start to the Knight Riders!

Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa provided a composed start to the Knight Riders innings, scoring only 36 in the powerplay overs and rallying in the next 6 to bring the required run rate to just over 6 from the last eight overs. It was a brilliant display of sensible T20 cricket batting as both men ensured they kept the runs ticking without any risks.

5. Uthappa and Russell depart but Gambhir steps up two gears!

Uthappa was trapped lbw by Ashish Reddy before Mustafizur Rahman uprooted Russell’s middle stump with a lethal yorker. But skipper Gambhir ensured it was only a mini-stutter as he took boundaries inconsistent intervals to ensure the Knights reach the target with 10 balls to spare. An unbeaten 90 from the captain supported by Manish Pandey at the other end. KKR win the match by 8 wickets.

Robin Uthappa
Robin Uthappa
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5 IPL performers who missed out on deserved India chance

Although the IPL has been a springboard for many Indian team regulars – Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Hardik Pandya, Jaspreet Bumrah to name a few, there are also those unlucky men who missed out on national team opportunities despite performing well in the cash-rich league. Here, we look at those IPL stars who did not get their deserved chance in the Indian team despite good performances in the IPL.

Let’s take a look at the Top 5 IPL performers who missed out on deserved India chance.

Top 5 innovations in IPL
Top 5 innovations in IPL
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Top 5 Innovations in IPL

If you think the IPL is merely India’s domestic T20 tournament, you can’t be more wrong. Lalit Modi’s game-changing billion-dollar baby is the perfect marriage of cricket and glamour – a complete package for a country which loves their cricket as much as their Bollywood. Despite India being a latecomer to the T20 phenomenon, the IPL has revolutionised the way we look at cricket and has captivated the imagination of a billion cricket crazy Indians by providing the ideal mix of glamour and entertainment.

Let’s take a look at the Top 5 Innovations in IPL that make the cash-rich league stand out from T20 international cricket.

1. The Cheerleader effect!

If the United States can import Cricket, then we are allowed to import the cheerleading phenomena, aren’t we? There was much hullabaloo about the introduction of cheerleaders in cricket, but India has warmed up to them surprisingly well. The girls are as much an attraction as the match itself, dancing to Bollywood numbers when there is a boundary or a wicket to cheer for. Of course, the self-righteous moral police have created much noise about their skimpy clothing or dance moves, but that is for another day.

2. Strategic time-outs, or should I say, Squeeze-more-ads-in break?

When the IPL moved to South Africa in 2009, Mastermind Lalit Modi decided to compensate for the loss in revenues by squeezing more advertisements in timeouts of seven and a half minutes each after 10 overs of each inning. Now, the timeouts are two and a half minutes long and the bowling and batting sides can choose when to use them in each inning. So, ten minutes of extra ad time and more eyeballs for advertisers. Yo IPL, so rich!

3. Microphones to get into the thick of things!

Last night, it was rather interesting to have Kevin Petersen talk about the mood in the Royal Pune Supergiants camp and his observation of leg-spinner M Ashwin. It is rather engaging from the audience point of view to have umpires or players wired up and have a chat with the commentators during the heat of the moment. Like, Umpires asking “Are you ready batsmen? Are you the ready bowler? Mumbai, are you ready?’ before he declares the start of play, or commentators catching up with players to get their take on the match situation. As a cricket lover, it can’t get better than this.

4. Sponsor’s name written all over commentary

“And Dhoni has just dispatched that delivery for a DLF Maximum,” that’s something you must be quite used to listening to on the IPL broadcast. No, not the fact that Dhoni hit a six, but the fact that the six in IPL is referred to as a DLF Maximum. Then there are the Karbonn Kamaal Catches that get awarded at the end of each game. It is as much preparation on the part of the commentator to research about players and their form as it is to make sure they add Karbonn or Vodafone to any notable event on the field.

5. The IPL late night parties!

These parties include everything from fashion shows to music to booze and continue until the wee hours of the morning. Cricketers, businessmen, models, Bollywood celebrities and those associated with television and fashion are all in attendance. Want to party with the likes of Gayle and KP? Shell out 40 grand for a ticket to watch the match from the corporate box and attend one of these late night parties.

5 things we learnt from the World T20 final at Eden Gardens

What an absolutely magnificent game of cricket! A fitting end to an exciting tournament with Carlos Brathwaite smashing 4 consecutive sixes off Ben Stokes in the final over to send the West Indies into ecstacy in a packed Eden Gardens.

Anyone who was there last night witnessed one of the great cricket matches – a glorious tribute to the evolution of T20 cricket from a hit-and-miss version of the Gentleman’s game to one that takes skill and temperament to master.

Neither side deserved to lose in a game of such fine margins. England put on a brilliant show of their ability and character while the West Indies shone through with their brute force complementing their fearless brand of cricket.

Let’s take a look at 5 things we learnt from last night’s World T20 final.

1. West Indies are anything but a one-man show

If you thought the West Indies were heavily reliant on the big-hitting Chris Gayle to carry their batting, you have been made to eat your words. Lendl Simmons and Johnson Charles stepped up in a tough run chase against India at the Wankhede with Andre Russell pummeling the Indian bowlers at the death, while Marlon Samuels took control in the final with an unbeaten 85.

And big money IPL recruit Carlos Brathwaite wasn’t going to miss out either – steering the team to victory against South Africa in the Super 10 before writing history in the final over of a World Cup final last night. A team of match winners all over!

2. Samuels – the man for the big occasion

The only man to score two fifties in World T20 finals, Marlon Samuels once again proved his mettle with an unbeaten 85 at Eden Gardens off 66 balls. West Indies lost three top order batsmen in the first three overs, but Samuels kept his nerve and built a handy partnership with Dwayne Bravo before unleashing at the death with a range of shots, particularly those brutal sixes down the ground.

Talk about a way to answer critics with the bat!

3. Brathwaite is going to be one special player in the future

Carlos Brathwaite raised many an eyebrow when he was purchased by the Delhi Daredevils for 4.2 million dollars in the IPL auction in February, but you can see what the hype was all about!

The big-hitting allrounder hit Ben Strokes for 4 sixes in the final over to snatch the game away from England in a thrilling climax. Back in the day, a West Indies side would have a Curtly Ambrose or a Mervin Dillon strolling out at No. 9, but matches like these are never over when you have a power hitter like Brathwaite lurking in the lower order. And this, despite Ben Stokes barely doing much wrong with his yorker deliveries!

4. England have the all-round ability and character to shine in white ball cricket

Despite the West Indies’ heroics, the 2016 World T20 will be remembered for the English changing their approach to the shortest format of the game. England played an attacking brand of cricket with the likes of Jason Roy and Alex Hales at the top, and Buttler and Stokes coming in the middle order and of course with Joe Root around, England have an absolute superstar in their ranks.

They have an excellent fielding unit and a bowling unit which has diversity and a range of options, and particularly impressive was the death bowling from Jordan and Stokes, up until Brathwaite went berserk in the last over of the final.

But more importantly, Eoin Morgan’s side displayed great character to triumph against South Africa, get themselves out of a hole against Afghanistan at 70 for 7, and likewise, in the final when they were reeling at 23 for 3.

5. T20 cricket is becoming more about power-hitting

The final, much like the rest of the tournament, turned out to be a simple lesson – six hitting ability will win you matches in T20 cricket. It wasn’t surprising that England and West Indies were the two sides who hit the most number of sixes in the tournament.

And while England have the likes of Roy, Hales, Buttler and Stokes, West Indies have their fair share of big hitters in Gayle, Charles, Russell, Sammy and Brathwaite and it wasn’t surprising that brute force won them the final, thanks to the blazing Carlos Brathwaite. Required run rates go out of the picture when you bowl to these batsmen, you either send them back or they will smash you away.

 

Sam Ferris MS Dhoni
Sam Ferris MS Dhoni

How an Aussie journalist became a trending topic for uttering retirement?

Sam Ferris is a writer for cricket.com.au. He started in 2011 as a Big Bash League correspondent and has been reporting for the official Cricket Australia website in the World T20. But a man who admits to never being called ‘trendy,’ became a Twitter trend and an unwitting media spectacle for bringing up the R-word in MS Dhoni’s press conference last night after the semifinal defeat against West Indies.

But the Australian journalist, who shared a press conference table with MS Dhoni last night and ended up on every news channel across the country, says that it was something out of the blue from the Indian skipper for a question he thought was ‘pretty standard’.

“And it’s not like at 34 years old hasn’t achieved anything in white-ball cricket; he won the inaugural World T20 in 2007 in South Africa, hit the winning runs, a six no less, to win the 2011 50-over World Cup on home soil, and to complete the trifecta, took out the 2013 Champions Trophy in England,” Ferris wrote in the cricket.com.au website.

Ferris says that the Indian press contingent was going to ask the Indian skipper about his retirement plans anyway, but he became the scapegoat thanks to a rotation system that prevails in press conferences.

“Press conferences operate on a rotation system, so when my turn rolled around, the question still had not been asked, and I went for it. For the record, I never asked if he was going to retire, just how keen he was to play on. I’m not trying to retire one of the greats.

I even prefaced it with “You’ve achieved pretty much everything in cricket” to soften the blow and try to make me not look like some blood-thirsty mosquito looking for a headline (which I most definitely was).”

And Dhoni, who has been known to pounce on journalists uttering the R-word, invited Ferris to join him at the press conference table.

He was welcomed with a warm embrace, a sympathetic arm around the shoulder and the trademark Dhoni smile, but what followed was something the journalist would not have imagined in his wildest dreams.

“Hello, sir?”, Ferris said.

“Do you want me to retire?,” Dhoni gets to the point, smile intact.

“Ahh, no, that’s what I was going to ask you,” Ferris blurts out nervously.

“Do you think I’m unfit, looking at me running?”

“No, you were very fast”

“Do you think I can survive till ’19 World Cup?”

Ferris goes on to narrate his thought process on being asked the question: “ow do I answer this? I don’t know? He can still clearly bat, his ‘keeping is still sharp. But he’s 34, with Virat Kohli waiting in the wings and a troop of elite young batsmen. Better answer quickly!”

“Umm.. yes! sure,” he replies.

“Then you have just answered the question”

Ferris explains that he probably took a bullet for his Indian colleagues in the Press, who would have faced more stick with Dhoni in that kind of mood.

“Word has it Dhoni hates that question and was ready to pounce on an Indian journalist who was going to ask it. Even though I fired the wrong ammunition, it seems I took a bullet for my Indian colleagues.”

England vs New Zealand Player Ratings: How the English players fared

As England marched on to the final with a 7-wicket victory over New Zealand, it was a disciplined bowling display and superlative hitting from opener Jason Roy that took the English into the showpiece finale at Eden Gardens. Lets run the rule over the England players and rate their performance from last night at the Feroz Shah Kotla.

Jason Roy – 10

“I just went out there and gave it a crack mate,” Roy said after he took the match away from New Zealand in the powerplay itself with a cracking display of strokemaking. Four boundaries from the first over from Corey Anderson got England off to a flier, and the opener looked severe down the wicket and square of the wicket as he dispatched the Kiwi bowlers with disdain in a blistering knock.

Alex Hales – 7

Played a supporting role as Roy was going berserk in the opening few overs, but managed better than a run-a-ball 20 as England killed the Kiwi pressure in the powerplay.

Joe Root – 9

Nothing wrong about this guy’s technique, an absolute top-notch player. Carried England over the line with a calm head and deft touches with the occasional big shot to ease the pressure. A vital asset for England in the final at Eden Gardens.

Eoin Morgan – 6

Another first ball duck, and the England captain would be gutted with that. But England have the batting depth to make up for his indifferent form. The skipper was proactive on the field with his bowling changes and field settings, and has led the team with gusto in the World T20.

Jos Buttler – 8

Restored calm to the situation after two wickets in consecutive deliveries and built a partnership with Root to shepherd England home. Hit a few lusty blows at the end and finished the match without any fuss.

Ben Stokes – 9

Excellent in the death overs with superb yorker-length bowling. Picked up three wickets in his second spell to restrict New Zealand to a mere 154, with just 20 runs coming off the last four overs.

 

Moeen Ali – 7

Took a superb return catch off Williamson to begin New Zealand’s slide. Fired the ball in on a pitch which provided little help for the spinners and was economical.

Chris Jordan – 8

Nailed the yorkers brilliantly and has to be credited for bowling a consistent line with pace and accuracy. Very crucial in the final for Eoin Morgan’s side.

David Willey – 8

Hammered by Guptill in his first over, but came back to scalp the dangerous Kiwi opener. Excellent bowling effort.

Adil Rashid – 7

You only learn from mistakes, and that’s exactly what Adil Rashid did since that hammering from Angelo Matthews a few days back. Bowled a flatter trajectory, did not give the ball as much air, and bowled a good line.

Liam Plunkett – 8

Bowled fast and an attacking line and stuck with his wide yorkers to left handers to induce a mistake from Chris Munro.

 

Stats: Most sixes in World T20 2016
Stats: Most sixes in World T20 2016
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Stats: Most sixes in World T20 2016

Despite the pitches in the ongoing World T20 offering the bowlers an opportunity to settle scores with the batsmen, this World T20 has seen a staggering number of sixes. With the T20 format developing over the years into a playground for the specialists, this World T20 has seen the big stroke makers bringing their abilities to the fore. Lets take a look at the five players who have hit the most sixes in the ongoing World T20.

Tamim Iqbal

Tamim Iqbal might not be rated highly, but he is a quality player in his own right. The explosive Bangladesh opener looked in sizzling touch at the World T20, albeit in a losing cause for the Tigers. Tamim Iqbal struck a blistering 103 not out against Oman and hit a total of 14 sixes in the competition. Iqbal helped Bangladesh enter the main draw of the World T20 and was looking dangerous against hosts India before Ravindra Jadeja scalped the dangerous left-hander.

Mohammad Shahzad

Hailed as the ‘other MS’ after his impressive performances in the World T20, Afghanistan’s batting mainstay has earned admirers among the cricketing fraternity for his uninhibited batting style. Ranked 12th in the world in T20I cricket, and being Afghanistan’s pre-eminent batsman in all formats with 1000 runs in both ODIs and T20Is, Shahzad displayed the temperament and his ammunition of shots at the World T20 as he struck 12 sixes in 7 matches, with a highest score of 61 against Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens.

Chris Gayle

Chris Gayle hit a massive 11 sixes against a hapless England bowling attack at the Wankhede Stadium to give West Indies the vital winning start to the World T20. It was an innings in which he pounded arguably the best seam bowling attack in the world with such disdain – a fitting reminder that Chris Gayle is still the most dangerous batsman in the world. Darren Sammy’s men went on to win their opening three games on the back of that confidence to advance to the semifinals. With 11 sixes, Chris Gayle is at the third spot, but he could well go top on Thursday if the Indian bowlers give the Jamaican enough room to flex his muscles.

AB de Villiers

Someone who would be extremely disappointed with his own batting performance at the World T20 is AB de Villiers. Despite 9 sixes in the tournament, most of which came against Afghanistan in a quick-fire knock of 64, the 360-degree man looked a shadow of his best as he failed to deliver against England and more significantly, West Indies, in a do-or-die encounter. Overall, it has been a difficult and disappointing campaign for a batsman rated as one of the very best in all formats. Nevertheless, his six hitting ability takes him to 4th in the Most Sixes stats column for the World T20.

Martin Guptill

With question marks being raised over his ability to negotiate the added turn and bounce on Indian wickets, Martin Guptill has given a fitting reply to those who chose to ignore him at the IPL Auction – smashing 125 runs in 3 innings with a highest score of 80 at Mohali against Pakistan and has been a crucial contributor in a New Zealand team staking a real claim for the title. The big hitting Guptill, who is known to send the ball into the 2nd tier, has hit 8 sixes in the tournament so far, and few would bet against the fiery New Zealand opener hitting a few more at the Kotla on Wednesday.

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Sachin Tendulkar pleased with MS Dhoni’s form

Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar was all praise for Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and said that the ‘sound’ that came off his bat during the Asia Cup was a reflection of his positive mindset. Tendulkar said that Dhoni’s cameo roles in the Asia Cup augers well for Team India, whom he considers the favorites of the World T20.

India’s limited overs captain Dhoni had a patchy year in international cricket and his tag of the best finisher was under immense scrutiny but he redeemed himself with some very fine cameos in the recently concluded Asia Cup.

“No player in the world has ever been in good form throughout his life as he is not a machine. When I heard the sound of the ball meeting Dhoni’s bat, I felt that it was a different sound. That was the sound that tells you that the batsman is in different mindset,” the Master Blaster was quoted in a television channel.

Tendulkar praised Dhoni’s ability to absorb the pressure and not panic under any circumstance.

“The biggest asset of Dhoni is his ability to absorb the pressure which has made him a good captain. He has matured over the years. He does not show when he is tense, which is a good sign. Often a captain who is short-tempered or nervous can create panic among ranks which is not the case with Dhoni.”

The 42-year old legend was all praises for Yuvraj Singh who has looked in good touch in recent games.

“During Asia Cup, I found his mindset changing, which is good for India. Again, like Dhoni, that feel of the bat hitting the ball was important for me but the most important thing has been Yuvi’s footwork.”

Tendulkar lauded the recent performances of pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah, whom he mentors at Mumbai Indians. The Master Blaster said that Bumrah could be the game-changing bowler for Team India in the World T20.

“As far as the ‘game changer’ tag is concerned, I feel Jasprit Bumrah can be that man for India in the World T20. He has a deceptive action and may look slow but hits the bat harder than you can think,” said the 42-year-old Tendulkar.

Tendulkar seems to think the Indian team are favorites to lift the World T20 crown and believes MS Dhoni’s side have the strongest quality for the shortest format of cricket – flexibility.

“The biggest strength in our team is that there is no predictable pattern in our team strategy. We have seen Yuvraj and Dhoni being shuffled in the batting order. Similarly, Ashwin has opened the bowling for India. The balance in our side is fantastic. So I feel, in terms of celebrations, April 3, 2016 in Kolkata will not be different from April 2, 2011,” Tendulkar said.

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