APRIL 05, 2014

Indian cricket

Wadekar's shoes and a Karnataka triumph

ESPNcricinfo staff

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 21, 2014

The Tendulkar-Brearley conundrum

Samir Chopra: The stereotype of the hero-worshipping Indian fan ignores evidence that seemingly skewed fandom is also present in supposedly more rational settings
MARCH 20, 2014

The what-ifs of Wasim Akram's captaincy

Hassan Cheema: His stats, and the list of great players who flourished under him, indicate he ought to be up there with Imran and the rest. But is he?
FEBRUARY 15, 2014

The golden trio of Pakistani captaincy

Hassan Cheema: Misbah has been a terrific leader but it's still not enough to knock off Imran, Mushtaq and Kardar off their lofty perch
JANUARY 31, 2014

From 'sarong Johnnie' to national icon

Janaka Malwatta: By refusing to back down, Arjuna Ranatunga proved to the opposition and his own team that Sri Lanka had earned the right to compete as equals
JANUARY 27, 2014

'A captain should be judged on how he influences the side'

Interview by Subash Jayaraman: Mike Atherton, the former England captain, talks about the pressures of leadership, the demands of TV and print journalism, and the problems with the ICC's revamp plan
JANUARY 12, 2014

The Ashes 2013-14

How Clarke outwitted Cook

Australia's dominance of the Ashes was clear at every term - except, perhaps the top-order batting in first-innings - and you don't need many numbers to show why they won 5-0. However, in the Sydney Morning Herald, Malcolm Knox has dissected how Michael Clarke used his bowlers to never allow England a foothold in the series.

The Australians talked a great deal about bowling in partnerships, but the most productive of them was an unexpected one. Johnson and Harris captured more than half the English wickets, but not necessarily while bowling together. Johnson took 20 of his 37 wickets, in fact, while Nathan Lyon was working from the other end. Lyon took 14 of his 19 wickets in tandem with Johnson. The England collapses in both innings in Brisbane, in the first innings in Adelaide, and in the second innings in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney, all occurred while Johnson and Lyon were operating together.

JANUARY 09, 2014

The Ashes 2013-14

Give Flower all the power

Andy Flower likes to tap into the knowledge of other sports, and their coaches, as he decides on the best way to go about his job. That job has now become very tough in the wake of the Ashes whitewash and there are suggestions he will walk if he doesn't get his way over Kevin Pietersen. Sir Clive Woodward, who guided England to the 2003 Rugby World Cup, writing in the Daily Mail, provides an view from outside the cricket world about how the ECB need to go about rebuilding.

No matter the sport, the head coach must be the only man who is unequivocally in charge, yet even Flower's job title of 'team director' muddies everything. In our national set-ups both in cricket and rugby, too many key decisions are being made by committee. That in turn leads to popularity contests and allows compromise to come into play. When things go wrong reports are commissioned -- the 2006-07 Ashes whitewash sparked the Schofield report -- but nobody fronts up to take the blame.

JANUARY 06, 2014

The Ashes 2013-14

The worst implosion ever?

The UK media are picking through the bones of England's Ashes skeleton, partly trying to work out where it all went wrong and partly assessing where it ranks among sporting thrashings. Paul Hayward, in the Daily Telegraph, argues the 5-0 whitewash has to rank at the top of English humiliations given that they came off the back of winning 3-0 just a few months ago.

This time, after a reasonable first day of the series in Brisbane we saw England assailed by technical, intellectual and emotional chaos, with no one able to stop it. Recent Ashes history makes no sense. The swing from the summer is too great for us properly to comprehend because it takes us beyond mere sporting factors into a vast realm of psychology, team spirit and character. Flintoff has spoken of his depression on the 2006-07 tour. One wonders at the private thoughts of captain Cook and his men now and how they will suffer with the results from these five Tests slung permanently around their necks.

In the Daily Mail, Paul Newman writes that the rebuilding for 2015 - the next Ashes - has to start now and that five players who appeared in this series should never play for England again

The senior players have let England down. Graeme Swann will be the hardest to replace. Jonathan Trott will have to convince England that he is well enough not to leave a tour again if he is to come back but Matt Prior will return, possibly as early as the first Test of next summer. But there will be those who should never play Test cricket again after this -- Monty Panesar, Tim Bresnan, Chris Tremlett, Michael Carberry and Jonny Bairstow.

In the Guardian, Vic Marks assess the performances of Boyd Rankin and Michael Carberry on the third (and last) day in Sydney

We have seen plenty of Carberry already on this tour. He has impressed by his swift-footed valour against Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris at the start of the innings. Then, so often he would stagnate. Perhaps he felt he was doing his duty as wickets fell at the other end. Then he would be dismissed, a victim of his own inertia.

In his column for the Daily Telegraph, which was also published in the Sydney Morning Herald, Geoffrey Boycott does not think England will take the tough decisions that are needed.

Over recent years England have employed more backroom staff believing it makes them more professional. In fact, they have over-complicated professionalism. We have coaches for everything. Psychologists, team analysts and an 82 page diet book that made us a laughing stock. It is time they got into the real world and stopped wasting money on frivolous luxuries that do not make any difference when Mitchell Johnson is whistling it around your earhole. The players have stopped thinking for themselves.

DECEMBER 31, 2013

Is Misbah one of Pakistan's best captains?

Ahmer Naqvi: If you go by the numbers of wins and individual performances while in charge, he hasn't done too badly
NOVEMBER 13, 2013

Warne, Watson, and the importance of emotional intelligence

Michael Jeh: A certain famous legspinner has shown he does not quite get leadership - in contrast to the two captains in the upcoming Ashes series
OCTOBER 24, 2013

Time for a declaration treaty (and, no, I wasn't asleep on TV)

Andy Zaltzman: South Africa's remorseless progress towards complete domination, and the lack of a contest, made for tough viewing but I managed to stay awake
OCTOBER 09, 2013

Indian cricket

Dhoni faces defining challenge

MS Dhoni enjoyed a brief respite from international cricket as India toured Zimbabwe and before that, during the West Indies tri-series when he broke down with injury. Though he has the advantage of home conditions to tackle the immediate challenges of Australia and West Indies in November, G Unnikrishnan of Deccan Herald predicts Dhoni's legacy is on the line as India get back on the road again

If that [South Africa] tour happens, then it will mark the beginning of a year that will see India visiting New Zealand, England and Australia - places that offer not much comfort for visiting teams. Here, Dhoni's skills as captain, batsman and man manager will come under harsh assay. It's a possibility that India may not have the towering presence of Tendulkar on those tours, leaving Dhoni in charge of completely new-look Test team

OCTOBER 07, 2013

'Lack of exposure is hurting our domestic players'

Interview by Subash Jayaraman: Misbah-ul-Haq talks about leading Pakistan, the team's batting weaknesses, future leaders, and his scoop shot from the 2007 World Twenty20 final
SEPTEMBER 02, 2013

'Good players make the most of the fortune that comes their way'

Interview by Subash Jayaraman: Former Australia captain Steve Waugh talks about his new book, the leadership styles of Border and Clarke, the Argus review, and his brother Mark
AUGUST 27, 2013

The Oval regales

V Ramnarayan: Memories, close-in cordons, and tactical prophecies: the joys of Test cricket in England
AUGUST 20, 2013

Do nasty guys finish first?

Michael Jeh: Snarls and frowns can never guarantee success. Only the right combination of players can. So why criticise a captain for being gracious?
JUNE 25, 2013

Dhoni's feel for cricket

Jon Hotten: India's captain has an instinctive sense of the rhythm of the game; he hears its heartbeat acutely
JUNE 23, 2013

The Investec Ashes 2013

Australia need to learn to love the coach

An unsettled Australian team has historically never done well in England and with problems regarding the team surfacing on this tour, questions are being asked of Australia's ability to match England in the upcoming Ashes. How they counter these problems, according to Tim Lane in the Age, will depend on team unity and the backing that the coaching staff - specifically Mickey Arthur and Pat Howard - can provide to Michael Clarke.

Australian cricket took a long time to accept the concept of a coach. Bob Simpson was the first and he was eventually forced out for being too interventionist. Ian Chappell, who profoundly influenced Australian cricketers over more than one generation, always said coaches were for transportation from hotel to ground. Shane Warne, whose level of influence needs no elaboration, was similarly dismissive. These two are archetypal figures of Australian cricket and their views resonate. Right now, though, it's hard to avoid the view that Clarke needs all the support he can get from off the field. And if that involves tough love, so be it. Those who are causing trouble need to be confronted with the type of coaching discipline footballers expect to receive if they wilfully step out of line.

JUNE 11, 2013

An international joke

Kamran Abbasi: The performance of a majority of Pakistan's batsmen, and of the people who pick them, has become laughable