SEPTEMBER 03, 2014

Usain Bolt seals last-ball victory against Yuvraj XI

ESPNcricinfo staff

Usain Bolt outhits Yuvraj Singh in a six-hitting competition. Yuvraj Singh outruns Usain Bolt in a 100m dash. Both share the honours in a bowl-out, hitting the stumps three times apiece.

That was just some of the 'action' witnessed by the fans who turned up to watch an exhibition match at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Tuesday. While some of it was clearly not authentic, the 6000-strong crowd present at the Puma event didn't seem to mind.

The highlight of the day, of course, was the match itself, a four-overs-per-team, seven-a-side affair. There were other big names on show too: Yuvraj's team included Zaheer Khan, while Bolt had Harbhajan Singh.

And it was a thriller: with 10 needed off two balls, Bolt hit a six off the penultimate ball - sent down by full-time keeper, part-time offspinner Aditya Tare - but missed the next one. In keeping with the entertainment-first theme, umpire Ajay Jadeja called no-ball, and Bolt duly smashed the final one for six more to finish 45 not out off 19 (both captains were allowed to bat through the innings, even if dismissed in between). Wonder if Royal Challengers' scouts were around?

Yuvraj Singh and Usain Bolt put on quite a show at the Chinnaswamy © AFP
JUNE 23, 2014

24-carat Tendulkar

The London-based East India Company has released a limited-edition legal tender coin commemorating the career of Sachin Tendulkar. The 24-carat gold coin weighs precisely 200g - to mark the 200 Test matches that Tendulkar played - has the number 187 on it - to mark his Test cap number - and only 210 of them - for unspecified reasons - will go on sale for £12,000 each.

"We had been talking to Tendulkar since last December as we thought it would be the best way to immortalise an exceptional career spanning over 24 years," said Sanjiv Mehta, CEO of the East India Company, speaking to Gulf News. "There were some delays in the way as we had to secure the rights for producing it from the Commonwealth currency issuing authority but it was worth the wait."

Mehta added that the company would also mint coins in "one ounce, one-fourth ounce gold and half-an-ounce silver".

Apart from an autographed bat and a helmet, the coin face also features the Gateway of India to symbolise his hometown Mumbai.

"All my life, I have had a dream of playing cricket for India," Tendulkar said. "I am very fortunate to have lived this dream for the last 24 years. I am honoured to be recognised with the issue of these special coins, which have been impressively designed with a lot of thought."

JANUARY 08, 2014

The Sunil-Rohan Gavaskar partnership

We've all heard or read about the pressure on famous cricketing sons to live up to their family names on the field. But what happens when a son finds himself in same commentary box as his famous father? If you happen to be Rohan Gavaskar, be ready for a bit of ribbing. Sitting in on his first television commentary stint with father Sunil, at the Ranji Trophy quarter-final between Mumbai and Maharashtra, Rohan was asked about his lack of Ranji titles - he played for Bengal, while his father used turn out for Ranji giants Bombay back in the day.

Speaking about the experience, Sunil joked: "For a change I could actually pull someone's legs and get away with it. Generally when I am doing it at the international level, my fellow commentator can come back at me. Over here that was the big plus. I started by saying that he has not been a part of the Ranji Trophy winning team, but thankfully he didn't come back to me saying he has scored more runs at Eden Gardens [Bengal's home ground] than I have."

Batting tips apart, Rohan also gets commentary advice from his father. "Sometimes we do talk about little things, like the things I have learnt from Richie Benaud and by observing other commentators," Sunil said. "I haven't heard much of him [commentating] because of my travels, but the feedback that I get, generally, has been pretty good. That is good to hear."

APRIL 27, 2013

Indian cricket

Tussauds hands Tendulkar wrong t-shirt

Sachin Tendulkar has the honour of having a wax model of himself on display at Madame Tussauds in London. It doesn't need telling that his contributions to cricket have elevated him to 'godlike' status, not only in India, but across the world. So it is not very often that a goof up regarding him is made. Such was the case though, when his second wax likeness - this one at the SCG in Sydney - was unveiled by the iconic wax museum; the jersey that the figure sported was India's kit from the 2012 World T20, a tournament Tendulkar wasn't part of, Mid-Day reported. It has been almost seven years since Tendulkar suited up for a T20 international, his only such game being India's maiden T20I, against South Africa in December 2006. Madame Tussauds has admitted to the rather embarrassing gaff and will change the figure's kit to reflect Tendulkar's crowning glory with a 2011 World Cup India jersey.

DECEMBER 11, 2012

Australian cricket

Bradman on film, in Canada

Every so often we get a glimpse of how Don Bradman batted and now the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia has released previously unseen footage of "The Don" playing on a privately organised tour of Canada in 1932.

The film, which you can watch a segment of courtesy of the Daily Telegraph, shows Bradman in action against an All-Toronto side. During the match in question, he made 52 (after Toronto had been dismissed for 80) but a title card informs the viewer that he went on to break the Canadian record by scoring 260 against Western Ontario. The footage is thought to be the only in existence showing Bradman in action outside Australia or the United Kingdom, the two countries where he made all of his 52 Test appearances.

The Toronto leg was part of the 51-match "Goodwill Tour" of north America, which also served in part as the recently married Bradman's honeymoon. However, while Bradman would lead his "Invicibles" around England 16 years later, on this trip the Australians were beaten - Vancouver the team to blemish their record.

NOVEMBER 02, 2012

Indian cricket

Muesli, the secret of Tendulkar's energy?

Remember Sachin Tendulkar's brief but brutal attack against Glenn McGrath in the quarter-final of the Champions Trophy in 2000? Ever wondered erm … what he ate for breakfast that day? He had muesli, it turns out. Tendulkar revealed as much at a book launch in Mumbai on Thursday: "Muesli; the aggression builds up gradually."

He also said that he loves Japanese cuisine, snails are not quite to his taste and he fancies barbequing in the wild - as he did with the rest of the Indian team on tour to Zimbabwe in 2001. Talking about the outing, Tendulkar said: "We went to a game reserve and we cooked for ourselves in the middle of a jungle. It was a beautiful barbecue. That experience of being in the middle of a jungle, making your own food and mingling with your team-mates … it was an experience."

And yes, if you've heard the story of Tendulkar only eating ice cream mid-innings during that India-Pakistan clash at the 2003 World Cup, we can confirm it's true. "I had a big bowl of ice cream and nothing else. I had my earphones on and I didn't want to listen to anyone as I knew what was needed," Tendulkar said of the match. "I just informed the ground staff to let me know when the umpires walk out. When they did, I just removed my earphones and walked out. In the meanwhile, the ice cream was quite good."

Tendulkar does dabble in the kitchen at home, and seafood seems to be on the menu a lot when he cooks. "Sometimes I do cook breakfast for [daughter] Sara, [son] Arjun and [wife] Anjali," Tendulkar said. "Earlier it was on a regular basis, but now it's only on special occasions. I cook various things like prawn masala and stuff that I learnt from my mother. At times I have tried cooking fish curry for Anjali using [his mother's] recipes, and Anjali told me it's the best fish curry she has had in her life."

Of course, if you play professional cricket for over two decades, you must know a thing or two about eating right, and Tendulkar spoke about his routines: "As soon as you come in to the dressing room, you must eat carbs within 45 minutes, as the muscles are tired and that's when the absorption takes place. Protein for dinner is ideal. That's the route I fellow.

"But it also depends on the conditions. I remember during the World Cup, we played against Australia in Ahmedabad and it was really, really hot. For two three days before the match, I went on a vegetarian diet and had bland food like curd rice and coconut water. I wanted to flush out all the spice from my system."

Lastly, if you happen stop by his restaurant, be sure to try the Lamb Curry and Rice. Tendulkar explained how the dish came to be on the menu: "I was in Jamaica and I ordered Lamb Curry and Rice, and it was simply delicious. I ended up eating it four days in a row. I told the chef, 'Can you please share the recipe; I can't leave Jamaica without knowing the recipe and every time I want to have it, I can't come to Jamaica.'"

JULY 22, 2012

Australian cricket

Is sledging for winners?

When a team wins as much as Steve Waugh's Australia did, you can't really question their captain's strategies. But Kieren Perkins, Australia's Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer, doesn't quite believe in Waugh's famed 'mental disintegration' tactics, and has said as much.

Waugh and Perkins, both athlete liaison officers who are involved in the mental conditioning of Australia's athletes at the Games in London, voiced their contradictory views at Australian Olympic Committee press briefing on Saturday.

"There's always a role for sledging," Waugh said. "Cricket is a bit different to most sports because you're out in the field for seven hours, but most of the sports here [at the Olympics] are a lot shorter than that. [But] I'm sure there are mind games, body language, the way you carry yourself, which can have a huge effect on your opponents."

Perkins disagreed: "The people doing the sledging aren't good enough, so they have to find other ways to slow the rest of us down. Those of us that are good enough couldn't care less, we just get on with it. There's not much sledging at all, there's no time."

Maybe that's an instance of mental disintegration for Waugh to contend with right there.

FEBRUARY 26, 2012

Indian cricket

Tendulkar's SCG tribute

Top form, team successes and that century might elude Sachin Tendulkar on his trip down under, but seldom does the celebrated batsman complete a tour without being, well, celebrated. On Sunday, Tendulkar was conferred honorary life membership at the Sydney Cricket Ground, ahead of India's one-dayer against Australia at the venue. Alongside the membership, Tendulkar was presented with a bust of Sir Donald Bradman.

Tendulkar is only the second cricketer, after Steve Waugh in 2003, to be extended the honour, and the first overseas sportsman. "Cricket fans have been treated to many splendid innings by Sachin at the SCG, including his innings of 241 in 2004 where he shared a magnificent partnership of 353 with VVS Laxman," the SCG trust chairman, Rodney Cavalier, said on the occasion. "Sachin has also conducted himself with grace and dignity throughout his career. I'm sure all members and cricket fans would welcome him back to the SCG at any time."

New South Wales premier, Barry O'Farrell, who presented the award, was all praise for Tendulkar as well. "Sachin is one of the greatest cricketers ever and it's only appropriate we honour him with life membership of one of the world's greatest cricket grounds. The batting legend has said the SCG is his favourite ground outside of India and it's no wonder when you look at his record at this ground." Tendulkar averages 157 in five Tests at the SCG, with three hundreds.