Legends

APRIL 30, 2014

Women's cricket

The remarkable arc of women's cricket in England

ESPNcricinfo staff

Joe Wilson in BBC Sport traces the remarkable arc of women's cricket in England, comparing the times in which former allrounder Enid Bakewell and current England captain Charlotte Edwards have played their cricket. Of the many memories Bakewell has in her rich career, one is of playing a Test against Australia at Lord's in the 1970s, when the famed Long Room was open only to men.

"It wasn't until 1976 that Lord's let us have a televised match there, and when we first went there I don't think they were going to allow a woman in the scorebox," she says.

"We didn't know if we could use the changing rooms, and we certainly didn't know if we could go through the Long Room. The Aussies didn't know about the tradition of the Long Room, so they walked through - and we followed them."

APRIL 06, 2014

Sri Lanka cricket

Sanga and Mahela, a partnership for the ages

Two of Sri Lanka cricket's greatest batting talents bid their farewell from T20 internationals at the end of the World Cup. Anand Vasu, in Wisden India, encapsulates the impact Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara have had in moving cricket forward in the country.

Off the field, the Jayawardene-Sangakkara combine has had bigger battles than anything they faced on the field. The two had a vision for cricket in Sri Lanka, one that Sri Lanka Cricket did not always agree with. At different times they have had to negotiate, plead, insist, argue, cajole, even scheme without malice, to get things done. To use a cringe-worthy word that is so popular with the young of today, the Jayawardene-Sangakkara bromance is one with few parallels in cricket. And Sunday is important for it signifies the first step in the winding down of the careers of two modern greats.

APRIL 05, 2014

Indian cricket

Wadekar's shoes and a Karnataka triumph

In the Telegraph, historian Ramachandra Guha reminisces about Karnataka's semi-final against Bombay in March 1974, en route to their first Ranji Trophy title. Guha writes that Karnataka beat Bombay in that game (on first-innings basis) due to two human errors - the first an umpiring decision that went in favour of Gundappa Viswanath off the first ball he faced; and Ajit Wadekar's slip, which resulted in his run-out and allowed Karnataka to take a lead.

Some 20 years after I watched Karnataka defeat Bombay for the first time, I met Ajit Wadekar at a reception in New Delhi. I reminded him about the match and how he had got out, adding that had he not slipped he would still be batting at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. His answer, offered with a laconic shrug of the shoulders, was: "New shoes."

MARCH 31, 2014

Indian cricket

The conflicts of interest that hamper Gavaskar

Sandipan Deb, in the Mint, writes that Sunil Gavaskar can only maintain his personal authority in his role as the interim BCCI chief if he resolves his own conflict-of-interest issues.

So, Gavaskar is an administrator, commentator, possibly BCCI's covert representative on TV, and agent of Indian cricketers, all at the same time. If this not conflict of interest, what is? In addition, he is an NRI based in the United Arab Emirates, where, coincidentally enough, the first phase of IPL7 is going to be played. The choice of the UAE as venue has been controversial, since India has avoided playing there for years because the region is the global headquarters of cricket betting, and IPL6 was hit by a huge betting scandal which led to the whole Supreme Court business.

NOVEMBER 18, 2013

The Ashes 2013-14

England a fading force

The resumption of Ashes cricket is drawing nearer and there is a sense of a change in mood: England standing as clear favourites has been eroded somewhat by their tricky build-up and the form of many of the Australia squad. In the Sunday Telegraph, Scyld Berry says that England's batsmen, with the exception of Ian Bell, are beginning to fade which sets up the prospect of a shared series.

Some Australians, emboldened by signs their team have bottomed out, are predicting 3-1 - conceivable, if injury strikes a major England player. For instance, if Alastair Cook broke a finger and Matt Prior had to take over as captain; or if Kevin Pietersen's knees give way again and England lose their capacity to score quickly and give their bowlers extra time; or if James Anderson, heaven forfend, proved mortal at last.

Many England supporters are predicting 3-1 in their favour which, again, is possible if injury intervenes. Australia's batting would be lost without Michael Clarke, whose back ruled him out of the Champions Trophy last summer. Or if Ryan Harris, their attack leader, is injured - and he has managed only 16 Tests in his 34 years - they are down to the reserves of Ben Hilfenhaus and the uncapped Nathan Coulter-Nile.

Michael Vaughan, in his Daily Telegraph column, argues that both Alastair Cook and Michael Clarke have work to do on their captaincy - Clarke needs to win a few Tests and Cook needs to come out of his shell

I will be interested to see Cook in the field in Australia because I think he will have been damaged by what Warne has said. The environment in this England team is to try and improve every day and that means you also have to be open to feedback. If I were Cook and Andy Flower I would be saying: "OK, some of Warney's stuff has been out of order but we could be more proactive and aggressive in the field."

The Brisbane Test will mark the 100th of Kevin Pietersen's England career, a period of time studded with breathtaking batting and a fair few controversies. In the Observer, Vic Marks says that the landmark shows how durable Pietersen has been

Now Pietersen is in the autumn of his career. The body is creaking. When he sets off for that first single it is not only the non-striker who looks on with trepidation; so does the physiotherapist. Often it takes longer for him to acclimatise at the crease. Yet to the Australians he surely remains the most coveted of England wickets in this series.

And in the Daily Mail, current and former team-mates discuss Pietersen's impact

OCTOBER 22, 2013

Indian cricket

A day with Dravid

Rahul Dravid might have retired from all forms of cricket, but his desire to assist players at the grassroots level is as undimmed as his appetite for runs. The former India captain turned up for a club side in Bangalore as they looked to qualify for the next stage and Arjun Dev Nagendra, who was part of the opposition, presents a few highlights from the game in Wisden India

He did not disappoint. He scored a century. When his partner, who also scored a hundred, was cramping a little, Dravid walked down and helped him stretch. He had a go at the umpires a couple of times as they were missing out on no-balls. Yes, Rahul had a go at the umpire in a club game because they missed out on no-balls. And you thought club cricket might not be important to him. I told him in between overs that in our innings as well they had missed a few. He was really angry and made a gesture with his hands suggesting that they were missing huge no-balls

SEPTEMBER 02, 2013

Pakistan cricket

The mechanics of the slower ball

Former Pakistan seamer Wasim Akram first encountered the slower ball in England during a county season and thought "I am a fast bowler, why should I learn it?". However, with experience, he realised the potency of the delivery which has now become an indispensable variation for every quick bowler. Akram took Osman Samiuddin of the National over the important aspects involved in bowling the perfect slower ball.

"The key thing I learnt is that you have to toss it up, give it flight. If you throw it straight, it just skids on. The faster you run in, the shoulder should rotate as fast, but it's just the fingers and wrist. Some bowlers, when they try to bowl it, psychologically become a bit slower in their run-up, their shoulder rotation is a bit slower and batsmen read it. So you have to do the opposite - the shoulder will go around as fast, but you use the wrist to kind of twist the ball and get that dip."

JULY 03, 2013

The Investec Ashes 2013

McGrath's bittersweet memories of 2005

Third on the list of leading wicket-takers in the Ashes, Glenn McGrath knows a few things about winning matches for his side. In an interview with Donald McRae of the Guardian, the former fast bowler, who dismissed Mike Atherton a record 19 times in the Ashes, rubbishes Ian Botham's prediction of a 10-0 England sweep, and remembers the impact of the 2005 series.

"The thing that stands out for me was walking down the street and people coming up to me saying they'd never watched cricket before and suddenly they couldn't miss a ball. I remember Old Trafford on the last day when so many people couldn't get in. That atmosphere, and especially the cricket, made it the best series I ever played in."

Defeat was galling, but McGrath suggests, "we became a better side while England, having achieved what they wanted, fell away. We won the next Ashes, which was the last series for me and Warnie, 5-0. It was the perfect way to bow out."

MAY 10, 2013

Interviews

'My greatest innings was not going to South Africa'

In an interview with The Times of India, Viv Richards speaks on a range of topics, including swagger, bluff, the right time to retire, Alex Ferguson, apartheid, Tony Greig, and more.

South Africa -- for no fault of the cricketers themselves --was a big issue. Any serious thinking person, anyone who is passionate about his colour, his race, would certainly have turned his back on South Africa. It's nice to hear about my great innings but the greatest innings that Vivian Richards played was not going to South Africa.
'

MAY 03, 2013

Cricket writing

Notes from editors, past and present

The longest-running sports annual in history, The Wisden Cricketers' Almanack has remained steadfast through wars and global crises and even technological revolutions. In Wisden India, six editors of the Almanack share their thoughts on what it means to be a Wisden editor.

APRIL 03, 2013

Cricket history

CLR's wife remembers Beyond a Boundary

There are few books on cricket that have had as powerful and as lasting an impact as CLR James' Beyond a Boundary. Fifty years after its publication, it is still regarded by many as the greatest book on the game. Writing in the Guardian, Selma James, wife of CLR, shares her insights into a book that her husband "had to write".

Establishing early the interconnection between cricket and race and class divisions opens the way for Beyond a Boundary to fulfil its author's full purpose: to draw out other startling connections - cricket and art, life in ancient Greece, even rewriting English social history with cricket's great WG Grace as a crucial figure. As startling as his connections is the light he sheds on each - not only cricket but every subject benefits from shattering boundaries. We are invited to reject the fragmenting of reality, and to see its diverse interconnections without which we are prevented from ever knowing anything fully - including our own reality. What do they know of cricket, or anything, if it is walled off from every other aspect of life and struggle?

MARCH 11, 2013

Indian cricket

Inheriting a legacy

In Open, Rohan Gavaskar talks about life as Sunil Gavaskar's son and imparts advice to Arjun Tendulkar on handling the expectations that come with a legendary surname.

"I would say that just be the best you can be (irrespective of what your father achieved). Put in the hard work. From what I've seen, he doesn't shy away from [hard work]. You can see his enthusiasm for the game, so that's a plus. Look, you've got to do more than what the other guy is doing. And it applies to everybody, not just him. See, when he's out there on those 22 yards, the ball doesn't become slower or faster or turn more or turn less just because his last name is Tendulkar."

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