|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Games||Mobile|
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.'
Matthew Hayden, in an interview with the BCCI, reflects on the historic 2001 series against India, and how integral the tour was to him and his Test career with Australia.
In 1995-96 a small unit of Australian batsmen were selected to practice at the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai. During the same time, there was also a small spin-bowling camp that was going on under Bishen Singh Bedi and S Venkatraghavan. I wasn't picked for that. I rang the chairman of selectors and said, 'Look, if there's any way I can go on this tour, please consider me for selection.' As it turned out, Greg Blewett pulled out of the tour and I was called up.
That trip wasn't about batting in India. I don't even remember picking up my bat and having a net. I was more a witness to the subtleties of the strategy of spin - where those two gentlemen would set fields, what their bowling plans would be, how that will impact me as a batsman and how I can manipulate the field to score runs. It was more about understanding the captaincy moves and the mind of a spin bowler. It was then for me to take that information away and start to generate some scoring options, form an attacking game plan against spin and develop the ability to bat for a long period of time and sustain the pressure of spin bowling. It was an incredibly valuable experience, one that I really cherish and will never forget.
Jonny Bairstow can't find a way into the England side at the moment, not least because of the emergence of his fellow Yorkshireman Joe Root, but the memories of his early exploits, including 95 against South Africa at Lord's last summer, still burn bright. While he bides his time on the sidelines in New Zealand, he has spoken to Vithushan Ehantharajah in All Out Cricket about adjusting to the attention after hitting a ballistic 41 off 21 balls on ODI debut to secure victory over India in 2011:
"I was thrilled to win the game but the next couple of days were pretty special; people were suddenly taking an interest in me and asking me for interviews. It was a nice feeling. The flipside was that my profile rose and people who didn't know too much about me started to pay a bit more attention to how I was playing for Yorkshire. That in turn brought more comment on what I was doing for the Lions as well. It's more noticeable when you make the step up to play internationally; I mean, this was all from one knock. In any instance you can suddenly be shunted into the spotlight."
Greg Chappell, the former Australia captain and India coach, talks to the Telegraph's Lokendra Pratap Sahi about his relationships with Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, and his philosophies in cricket.
The role [of a coach] is highly misunderstood [in India] and the expectations are very high... When I took over, the expectations were such that nobody could have achieved what was expected. One must realise that, at times, you need to risk losing in order to set things up for the future.
Dravid showed courage because, for everyone else, it was we can't do this, for if we get beaten, the media would tear us apart... Dravid did a magnificent job, because he bought into the philosophy of taking risks, making changes and looking ahead. As I've said, you don't stand still in sport... We wanted to take risks because we wanted to get better as a team.
Hemang Badani, the former India batsman, talks to Subash Jayaraman on the Cricket Couch about how Tamil Nadu players tend to go a "bit soft" after debuting for India, his belief that the ICL spawned the IPL, and how he played a part in the legendary Laxman-Dravid stand in the Kolkata Test.
We had India and Australia at Eden Gardens, in the series India won 2-1, and Laxman scored 281. It was the 4th day where Laxman and Dravid played for the whole day. You can go back to the video evidence, there was only one man who took them drinks and water and gloves the entire day. That was me. Laxman and Dravid insisted that only I come in every time. I would bring in water, gloves or banana or whatever they wanted. I was the only one to bring it, they asked no one else to come inside. The entire day. I was the only man to help them out. I actually felt a part of the partnership that day.
I was told by Dravid, more than Laxman, "Tu hi aana, aur kisi ko bhejna mat", which means 'only you come, don't send in anybody else". I kept running in, it didn't matter to me, there was no hard work in it. It was just one of the things cricketers do. It feels nice to be the someone that they wanted to be there and find some comfort levels that they were okay with.
On the eve of his comeback to international cricket, Yuvraj Singh, in a chat with the Telegraph's Lokendra Pratap Sahi, talks about facing up to cancer and how he coped during his treatment.
What kept you going?
The doctors’ message — that once I’d finished the chemotherapy, I’d walk out of the hospital as a man who never had cancer... Of course, there were more bad days than good, but I’d try and keep myself in a nice frame of mind ... I had to go through it all to be alive.
Former Pakistan fast bowler Waqar Younis on being handpicked by Imran Khan for a national camp, how he perfected the reverse-swinging yorker, and winning a Test alongside Wasim Akram with the bat. All that and more in an interview with Shoaib Naveed in the Dawn.
"I wasn’t ever taught to bowl line and length, and feel like coaching is sometimes bad for you as a budding fast bowler. Raw is always good. I remember I bowled extremely waywardly in my first few games, but Imran never told me to hold back, or asked me what I was doing. These days the captain will easily get frustrated and say 'What are you doing?…I didn’t pick you for this.' But Imran told me 'I picked you to bowl fast' and that’s what I did."
Ian Bishop, on the Cricket Couch, talks about starting out as an opening batsman, a being timid kid, the mental attributes needed to be a quick, and how tough it was for him to quit cricket early.
"I have to admit that saying goodbye to the game was little bit difficult because it was all that I’d known. Ever since I was 18, I was a professional cricketer in north of England. The back injuries and back problems that I had caused so many technical deficiencies. Every day of the last 3 years of cricket was a struggle. To try to correct my action, to try to find the right rhythm to bowl every single day seemed different. It wasn’t so much physical pain as much as it was just knowing what I wanted to do, knowing where to put the ball, knowing how to get the batsmen out, but being incapable of executing it, because I couldn’t put the ball where I wanted to."
Ravi Shastri made his debut for India in 1981 when he was 18. After a successful career in international cricket, Shastri has spent 18 years as a commentator. As he turns 50 on May 27, Shastri talks to Clayton Murzello in the Mid-Day about his life where he has never been too far from the spot lights.
Someone asked me what will you do for your 50th (birthday) and I said, ‘just knock one into the gap, quietly take a single because you have had enough 50s as a player, and make sure you lift your elbow 50 times instead of the bat. In life, the hundred is when you turn 60. Hopefully, you reach there and when you do, one must celebrate it like a hundred.
Pragyan Ojha, who took a career-best 7 for 109 in the Delhi Test against West Indies, speaks to Sai Mohan in Mid-Day about making a successful comeback to Test cricket and his goal of becoming one of the leaders of India's bowling attack.
You've developed a slower version of your arm ball which has been getting you good rewards...
Yes, it is basically one of my biggest weapons now. I have to keep varying my pace, otherwise batsmen will get used to my bowling. I don't have too many major variations from the back-of-the-hand or fingers. I realised that you cannot experiment too much. I am a very simple bowler and person. Most of the great left-arm spinners, my heroes, were all simple left-arm spinners. If you see Bishanpa (Bedi)... he told me one day that the main things for a left-arm spinner are perseverance and accuracy. If you have these two things, only then you can try and bring in variations and do other things. I want to learn more about great left-arm spinners.
Belinda Luscombe, from Time, has a brief chat with Imran Khan on his links with cricket and politics.
If political success meant getting into government, I could have done that 20 years ago, the first time I was offered ministership. But I want change in Pakistan. The whole idea was to fight the political mafias ... I was successful as a cricket captain because I had killer's instinct. I knew when the opposition was in my grasp. For the first time in 15 years, I feel that now. So my whole concentration is on politics.
Muttiah Muralitharan talks to Mihir Bose, writing for the London Evening Standard, about his career, who he thinks are the best batsmen, umpire Darrell Hair and, among other things, his fondness for Galle.
"Statistics-wise he [Sachin Tendulkar] may be but there are better players such as Ricky Pointing while Brian Lara is the best player that has ever been. When I bowled, I always found Brian Lara difficult." For Murali, no English batsman comes near Lara but he singles out Graham Thorpe, who retired from the international game in 2005 after scoring 6,744 runs in 100 Tests. "When I started, English batsmen did not play spin much, then they were not good enough. Nowadays English players play spinners better: reading spin from the hand, not playing off the pitch. Graham Thorpe was the best English batsman, he read my spin and played me well."
Shahshank Manohar, who has been the President of the BCCI for the past three years, looks back at his tenure, as he prepares to step down from the post. He talks to Sumit Mukherjee in the Times of India.
It must have been tough to suspend Lalit Modi? What convinced you that he has to go?
It was a conscience call. The situation called for a corrective decision. There was no personal issue involved. Once I was convinced about the wrongdoings on part of Modi, it was a fairly simple decision. I sat in the BCCI office for four days (April 20-24, 2010) and examined each document pertaining to IPL contracts. What prompted me to check the documents was the dispute with regard to Kochi franchise and Modi’s refusal to sign the franchisee agreement days after their bid was accepted. Team Kochi owners had also called me to inform that they were being threatened to surrender their franchise rights. After poring over the documents I was convinced that it was time to act.
In the Indian newspaper DNA Vijay Tagore interviews former England opener Dennis Amiss, who also has plenty of experience as a cricket administrator - 12 years as Warwickshire chief executive and several as the ECB's deputy chairman.
You have to have some other skills to be a successful administrator. I was very lucky that I had both cricketing and business backgrounds. I could bring that into administration that I’ve done in Warwickshire and England and Wales Cricket Board.
It is not easy because here they are looking for business-oriented people to run the counties. There is so much pressure to make money in the game. If you don’t, your club is going to suffer. The chairman and chief executive have to have these backgrounds.
Bishan Bedi talks to Spin magazine’s George Dobell about his concerns over the modern game and reveals his optimism for its future.
"Bowling should come from the shoulder and involve the fingers and wrists, but too many of today’s bowlers use their elbow. There’s also too much emphasis on dot balls. It seems to be they are the holy grail for spinners and the urge to bowl wicket-taking balls is dying. But a wicket-taking ball is a dot ball automatically."
Bob Willis talks to the Independent about his devastating spell of 8 for 43 in the 1981 Ashes at Headingley that resurrected his career, and looks ahead to the England-India face-off this summer.
In the summer of 1981, with the nation racked by industrial unrest and inner-city riots, it seemed entirely if dispiritingly consistent that the England cricket team should also be mired in haplessness. After leading the team to defeat at Trent Bridge, and then bagging a highly publicised pair in a draw at Lord's, Ian Botham resigned the captaincy of which he was about to be relieved anyway. Mike Brearley was then persuaded out of Test cricket retirement to skipper the team at Headingley, but at the end of that third day, with England already a wicket down following on, Willis can hardly have expected, to put it mildly, to be dining out three decades later on the story of the match and the rest of the series.
Marcus Trescothick talks to Donald McRae, in the Guardian, about the illness that ended his England career and his enduring determination to be the best.
No song, and no string of words pieced together in his head, can help Trescothick when "the shiver" returns with inexplicable force. Then, he feels himself being pulled towards that terrifying vortex which once left him sobbing on the floor of Dixons at Heathrow. Trescothick has long been open and brave in detailing the extent of his past traumas; and yet it is a shock to hear his response after he is asked when last he felt the "shiver".
"Last week," he says. In the midst of his imposing form, with Trescothick batting as impressively as he ever did in his 76 Tests for England, you might expect the beast within to be muzzled. But his answer is a jolting reminder of how vigilant he needs to remain ... "You're always only one step away from it and that's why you need to maintain the good things in your life."