Friday, August 31, 2012

August 31, 1968: 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6 - Gary Sobers blitzes his way into history

Forty four years ago, Malcolm Nash of Glamorgan bowled the most famous over in the history of First-class cricket. Arunabha Sengupta does a ball by ball analysis of the day Gary Sobers launched into an explosive exhibition of his genius.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Openers passing the baton of captaincy to their opening partners

Alastair Cook succeeding Andrew Strauss as captain marks a rare event – one half of a successful opening partnership taking over the reins from the other. Arunabha Sengupta looks at the very few examples of prolific opening partners following each other as skipper in Test cricket.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August 29, 1882 - Giants clashed, sparks flew, which resulted in The Ashes

130 years ago, the on-field gamesmanship of WG Grace so incensed Fred ‘Demon’ Spofforth that it produced a bowling spell that scorched The Oval. As the English batting was cremated in the fire, The Ashes came into being. Arunabha Sengupta looks back at the day that gave birth to the most famous and enduring of all cricketing rivalries.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

August 28, 1995 - Anil Kumble's little-known miracle for Northamptonshire

Seventeen years ago, Nottinghamshire won the toss, piled up 527 and still managed to lose by an innings. Arunabha Sengupta looks back at one of the lesser-known miracles worked by Anil Kumble.

Monday, August 27, 2012

August 27, 1908 - Birth of The Don

104 years ago was born the best-ever batsman to have played the game of cricket. There is very little one can add about Don Bradman, yet Arunabha Sengupta makes an attempt.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Numbers prove why VVS Laxman was master at shepherding the tail

VVS Laxman was known to be a batsman who excelled in shepherding the tail and making it wag. Arunabha Sengupta puts his record with the lower order under statistical focus.

August 26, 1921 - The day a batsman got dismissed by getting lost on the way

Ninety one years ago, Tom Sidwell, the Leicestershire wicketkeeper, got hopelessly lost in the London tube network and could not resume his innings. Arunabha Sengupta looks back at the unique day in cricket history when a batsman was absent-out because he could not find his way to the ground.

The many men whom Sir Don Bradman rubbed the wrong way

Former Australian cricketer Gary Cosier recently made headlines by saying that the 1970s Australian cricketers hated Don Bradman. Arunabha Sengupta says that it is not surprising and lists a number of men Bradman rubbed the wrong way during his long career as a player, captain and administrator.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

August 25, 1952 - The day Sri Lankan heavyweight Duleep Mendis was born

In the first Test match Sri Lanka played against India, Duleep Mendis had identical scores of 105 in each innings. Arunabha Sengupta looks back at the career of the wristy batsman who turns 60 today.

Read more on cricketcountry›

Friday, August 24, 2012

August 24, 1957 - Last day the Three Ws appeared together in Test cricket

Fifty five years ago, Frank Worrell, Everton Weekes and Clyde Walcott appeared together for the last time in Test cricket. Arunabha Sengupta looks back at the three very special men linked by greatness, runs and a letter of the alphabet.

August 24, 1971 - The day when India ended England's home rule

Forty one years ago, climbing the web spun by Bhagwat Chandrasekhar, India reached a new high by winning their first Test and series in England. Arunabha Sengupta looks back at the final day when the drama unfolded, spectators sat on the edge of their seats and captain Ajit Wadekar slept through all of it.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

August 23, 2009 - Harry Potter casts his spell on cricket at The Oval

Three years ago, Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy watched a day’s cricket at The Oval, even spending some time on the Test Match Special. Arunabha Sengupta takes a look at the cricketing connections of Daniel Radcliffe.

Sachin Tendulkar's challenges in the post Dravid-Laxman era

After 16 long years, Sachin Tendulkar will take field without Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman flanking him in the batting order. While he has done this in 39 Test matches before the arrival of the stalwarts, Arunabha Sengupta takes an apprehensive look at the diverse darts of caustic criticism that is sure to relentlessly hound the greatest Indian batsman.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

August 22, 1912 - Hurtling end to a long-drawn out Triangular Test Tournament

Exactly 100 years ago, the long two and a half month tedium of the first Triangular Test Tournament drew to a hurtling end at The Oval. Arunabha Sengupta looks back at the day when sixteen wickets tumbled on a rain affected pitch.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

India's first tentative step in the post Rahul Dravid - VVS Laxman phase

The long dreaded moment  finally on Thursday when India went into a Test match without Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman in their ranks.. Arunabha Sengupta takes a look at the Indian batting line up and wonders about the best combinations for now and the future.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

August 19, 1952 - Rain comes as saving grace on India's disastrous tour of England 1952

60 years ago, the final day at The Oval was rained off, saving India from the humiliation of a 0-4 whitewash. Arunabha Sengupta looks back at the horrid tour and how it came to a conclusion.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

August 18, 1876 - Eight days in which WG Grace shook the cricketing world

Arunabha Sengupta looks back at the amazing exploits of WG Grace during one of his most celebrated purple patches, 136 years ago. It stunned the cricketing world, even in those days of limited communications.

Friday, August 17, 2012

August 17, 1976: When Michael Holding decimates England by taking 14 wicket

36 years ago, on a slow, amiable track Michael Holding ran in to produce one of the fastest and most brilliant displays of pace bowling ever.  Arunabha Sengupta looks back at the day the famed ‘grovel’ series concluded with the Jamaican picking up 14 wickets.

Steven Lubbers reveals the funny side of Joel "Big Bird" Garner

Steven Lubbers had been the skipper of the Netherlands World Cup squad of 1996 and was the first Dutchman to take a wicket in One-Day Internationals. Now aged 59, Lubbers was taking part in a competitive game against a Swiss national cricket team in when Arunabha Sengupta caught up with him to be regaled with sparkling anecdotes about Joel Garner.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

August 16, 1982: Chris Tavare's crawl and Mudassar Nazar's golden arm

30 years ago Chris Tavare went on a strokeless spree, that drove bowlers to despair and sometimes teammates to religious contemplation. Arunabha Sengupta recalls the celebrated crawl the day Mudassar Nazar was running through the English side.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

August 15, 1877 - The day when broomsticks took on bats

135 years ago, with a First-class game ending early, Gloucestershire cricketers armed with broomsticks took on a local team with normal bats. Arunabha Sengupta revisits that singular day in cricket history.

Kevin Pietersen - the latest among a long line of big names dropped by England

Kevin Pietersen’s axing came against the run of play, just after the mercurial batsman had scored a thrilling 149 in the Leeds Test match. However, Arunabha Sengupta looks at various instances to find that English selectors have been known to make such bold decisions – some of which have turned out to be wise and some that have backfired.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

August 14, 1990: Sachin Tendulkar's first of the many Test hundreds under p

Twenty two years ago, as India stared at the face of defeat at Old Trafford, a 17-year old stood firm, scoring his first Test match hundred and saving the day. Arunabha Sengupta looks back at the hundreds of Sachin Tendulkar, trying to determine the veracity of myths and fables associated with his batting.

Monday, August 13, 2012

August 13, 1855: An unbelievable scoreboard - all out for zero!

157 years ago, in the estate grounds of Shillinglee in West Sussex, a weird cricket match took place between the home eleven and the 2nd Royal Surrey Militia. Arunabha Sengupta looks back at the day when the scoreboard took a pristine form, with not a run on display!

Commentators in cricket history 8: Alan Gibson's genius and other demons

Alan Gibson was perhaps the most learned man ever to hold the microphone as a cricket broadcaster, someone who brought classical knowledge into his reporting. In the eighth part of the series on cricket commentators, Arunabha Sengupta looks back at the life and career of this man in whom flair and erudition forever battled with whimsy and the bottle.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

August 11, 1977: Geoff Boycott gets his 100th First-class century

35 years ago, Geoff Boycott drove Greg Chappell for four to bring up his 100th First-class century in what was only the second Test since his self-imposed banishment. Arunabha Sengupta looks back at the day that saw the talismanic Yorkshireman get to his much-awaited landmark.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Srikkanth may be Gavaskar's favourite opening partner, but best?!!!

Sunil Gavaskar has been quoted saying that Krishnamachari Srikkanth liberated him as a batsman. While there are indications to believe so, Arunabha Sengupta wonders whether the reports of his identifying Srikkanth as his best opening partner were somewhat misconstrued.

August 10, 2007: The day Anil Kumble scored his only century in Tests

Five years ago, Anil Kumble’s superlative career scaled that one peak that had eluded him for 17 years. Arunabha Sengupta remembers the day when India’s greatest match-winning bowler enjoyed perhaps his happiest moment at the batting crease ever – scoring his only century in Tests.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

August 9, 1992: Farewell to grace and grandeur - David Gower's final innings

20 years ago, David Gower shouldered arms to be bowled by a Waqar Younis delivery, marking the end of 14 years of ethereal run-making. Arunabha Sengupta looks back at the day which saw the most princely of batsmen walked back to the pavilion the last time.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Measuring the magic - a statistical retrospective of VVS Laxman

One cannot measure VVS Laxman’s genius with numbers. Yet, figures do matter. Arunabha Sengupta provides a comprehensive analysis of his career, his record against the best teams, his match-winning abilities and where he stands against his contemporaries and all-time greats.
Read more on cricketcountry›

Cricketers who made their presence at the Olympic Games

Cricket was granted a weird appearance in the Olympic Games way back in 1900 and has never since made a comeback. However, there have been quite a few cricketers who have reached Olympian summits. Arunabha Sengupta lists the magnificent men across the years who managed to emerge faster, higher and stronger beyond the limits of the 22 yards.

Hashim Amla is the first bearded batsman to score 300 in Tests!

Hashim Amla’s supreme innings, etched with elegance and equanimity, was a movable feast for the eyes of the Test cricket lover. Arunabha Sengupta uncovers further curious delights for the true addict of the game that passed almost unnoticed during his marathon knock.

Monday, August 6, 2012

VVS Laxman's retirement brings curtain down on magical artistry at the crease

Whenever he performed his art at the wicket, VVS Laxman came across as the magician. And hence, even as he announces his last vanishing trick, we yearn for him to reappear, to bedazzle us for one final time. Arunabha Sengupta recounts what makes this esoteric artist a very, very special man in the history of cricket, and why never again may we see one of his kind.

August 6, 1911 - The oldest ever surviving Test cricketer is born

Norman Gordon, survivor of the last timeless Test of 1939, turns 101 today. Arunabha Sengupta looks back at the oldest surviving Test cricketer ever.

August 6, 1997 - Heartbreaking for Jayasuriya, backbreaking for Indians

15 years ago, Sanath Jayasuriya had started the last day of a Test match on a farcical wicket with 50 required to set a world record. Arunabha Sengupta looks back at the day that saw an agonising heart break for Sri Lanka and some excruciating torture for the bowlers. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

August 4, 1975: The first streaker at Lord's cricket ground

On August 4,1975, the fourth day’s play at Lord’s between England and Australia was held up for a while by a pioneering intruder, the feats of whom have been repeated often in future. Arunabha Sengupta revisits the antics of the first streaker in the history of Lord’s.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

August 2, 1982: When Garner and Marshall inflicted fear of God in batsmen!

Thirty years ago, a furious battle of raw pace was fought under the hot sun of Bournemouth. Arunabha Sengupta looks back at the day that saw Malcolm Marshall of Hampshire take on Joel Garner of Somerset in a contest of unparalleled speed and skill. 

The hook - a stroke of romantic adventure fast disappearing from cricket

The hook is perhaps the most adventurous of strokes, combining skill, physical danger and flamboyance. Arunabha Sengupta fears that with the advent of protective gear, this thrilling facet of the game is fast becoming obsolete.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August 1: The birth of Mohammad Nissar and Yajurvindra Singh

August 1, 1910, saw the birth of India’s first express pace bowler – Mohammad Nissar, who perhaps still stands as the fastest-ever produced by the country. Forty two years down the line, on the same day, Yajurvindra Singh was born – a man who on Test debut equalled two world records. Arunabha Sengupta looks at the careers of these two unique Indian cricketers.

Why it's totally incorrect to say that only Indian players are record conscious

When Smith closed the South African innings with Kallis on 182 in the first Test of the ongoing series against England, it immediately fit the fashionable pattern of putting the team above individual. However, Gavaskar had carried out exactly the same gesture years ago, but that had not managed to dislodge him from the throne of alleged selfishness now bequeathed to Tendulkar. Arunabha Sengupta tries to look deeply into the “Individual vs Team"

Brothers-in-arms 5: Hammond & Chappell - linked by divine drives & dexterity

In Part Five of the series, in which we look at two cricketers who could easily be mistaken for siblings in the way they went about their game, Arunabha Sengupta compares Wally Hammond and Greg Chappell - two men related by their majesty, grace and curious unpopularity.