A Sachin Tendulkar Classic : 2003 World Cup

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Sachin Tendulkar smashed a fearless 98 ruining the morale of Pakistani bowlers on this day. 16 years ago he sent back Pakistan from the World Cup after an intense battle with the likes of Wasim, Waqar, and Shoaib.


It was the 36th match of the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup at Centurion. The sub-continental neighbors India and Pakistan were scheduled to play their last group league match on this day among lots of tension and anticipation.

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Sachin Tendulkar (Image- Getty Images)

The Clash Of Arch Rivals

The last India-Pakistan match was played almost three years back and being a World Cup match, the fans were looking forward to this match immensely. Also, India won all three previous encounters in the World Cup and was determined to carry on the trend.

Led by Sourav Ganguly and Waqar Younis both the teams had legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Virendra Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Wasim Akram, Saeed Anwar, Shoaib Akhtar, and others. It was a legendary clash and both the fans and media hyped the match to the highest degree.

On the morning of March 1, 2003, Waqar won the toss and decided to bat to set a target for India’s strong batting line up. Most likely he had immense faith in his world famous bowling attack to defend any score.

Pakistan Set A Decent Target

Anwar and young Taufeeq Umar started cautiously before raising the tempo. Umar was gone in the 11th over to Zaheer. Abdul Razzaq, sent to number three as pinch-heater, did not last long, neither did Inzamam who was run out once again and did justice to his reputation. Pakistan lost 3 wickets before reaching 100. Yousuf Yuhana (Mohammad Yousuf) built a partnership with Anwar who was playing beautifully. He already passed his half-century and added 73 runs with Yousuf when the experienced Srinath came and took care of Yousuf. Anwar got a well-deserved 100 in the 40th over but any plan of him accelerating was damaged when Nehra came back to peg back his off-stump.

Afridi could not bat longer on his 23rd birthday and loft a very slow one from Dinesh Mongia to be caught by Anil Kumble. Younis khan along with wicketkeeper Rashid Latif tried to add some quick runs but Indian bowlers also maintained their control and managed to restrict them to 273.

The Chase Began

The first two overs of India’s chase was one of the most talked about match situations during an India-Pakistan clash. The fans from both the nations, especially the Indians still can visualize those 12 balls even today. 

Wasim Akram started the proceeding and was in control from the first ball. However, Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag were not in a mood to restrict. The third ball of the over was driven through cover for four by Tendulkar whereas Sehwag fetched another boundary in the last ball. From the other end, it was Shoaib Akhtar on his pomp. He was on top of his form and Waqar trusted him with the new ball and held himself back as first change.

Shoaib looked tensed. He started with a wide. His first three legal deliveries went for four runs and Tendulkar was back on Strike.

The Unstoppable Sachin Tendulkar

The fourth delivery of the over was a wide raising delivery outside the off stump, Tendulkar went for it. It was sweetly timed and the ball flew over the third man boundary for a massive six. It was an iconic shot that changed the mood of two nations in two completely different directions.

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Sachin Tendulkar (Image- Getty Images)

But Sachin Tendulkar was not going to contain easily. Shoaib changed his line but his next delivery on the middle stump was flicked by Tendulkar for Boundary through the square leg fence. The last ball of the over, a very similar line, was driven back between the bowler and mid on for another boundary and suddenly India were 27 for no loss in two overs and the target was already below 250.

India continued to chase with enough dominance and reached 50 in the fifth over. But Waqar then gave two back to back blows as he got Sehwag and Sourav Ganguly on back to back deliveries. But Tendulkar got good support from Mohammad Kaif who was surprisingly sent at number four before Rahul Dravid.

Kaif held on one end with a sedate 35 when Tendulkar kept playing his shots. All the Pakistani bowlers faced the same fate that day and looked like he was in an unstoppable mood. But if not by the bowlers, he was stopped by his hamstring. He started having cramps. Although after a few moments of treatment he resumed and hit Razzaq for four in no time.

Kaif finally went with the score at 155 for three. Dravid joined Tendulkar who by that time was severely impacted by the cramps and still kept running by himself as he did not prefer taking a runner. But with the team’s total score of 177 and his personal score of 98, Tendulkar could not take it anymore and Sehwag appeared as his runner. This was the first instance of Sachin Tendulkar taking a runner in international cricket.

But Shoaib was also back as a last-ditch effort from Waqar and delivered a vicious well-directed bouncer. A fit Tendulkar might have evaded. But this time the ball took the shoulder of the bat and a diving catch was taken by Younis Khan in the point to get the little master out. His 98 of 75 balls played against Pakistan on this day is one of the top performances in a World Cup match.

India Won 

In 1999, India could not win the Chennai test match when Sachin was dismissed post getting troubled by a bad back. This time close to 100 runs more were required. Tension and nervousness were creeping into Indian fans’ minds. But the young confident Yuvraj Singh arrived to rescue.

He started positively and soon with his stroke play the momentum was back to India. Even Dravid was also looking tired after keeping and batting on a hot day. Yuvraj anchored the chase and reached his 50 with only a few runs to get. In the 46th Over, Dravid (44 not out) pulled one from Waqar to the boundary for the winning runs and rejoiced the glory along with Yuvraj and other team members.

The entire nation was celebrating. After not a strong start in the campaign, India turned out to be one of the strongest teams to qualify for the next round. Pakistan had to return home among lots of controversies and retirements.  

Also Read: On This Day – 28th Feb

Mitchell Starc produced a World Cup Thriller against Tasman Neighbours

Mitchell Starc was the reason of a thriller between Australia and New Zealand on this day. Thanks to him that a comfortable chase became almost impossible for the kiwis. 


On February 28, 2015, Australia and New Zealand played one of the most thrilling World Cup ties at Eden Park, Auckland. Both the teams had a good start to the tournament and the tournament was moving towards the business end as the league positions and qualifying scenarios were taking shapes. New Zealand won all three of their matches since then whereas Australia after winning their first match against the old enemies had to content with shared points as their match against Bangladesh was abandoned without a ball being bowled.

The Beginning

Michael Clarke won the toss and decided to bat. They reached 24 in the first two overs. Third over of the match from Tim Southee saw the first ball going for a six and second ball claiming the wicket of Aaron Finch. Shane Watson came and built at 50 runs partnership with David Warner. Australia reached 80 for one when Daniel Vettori and Southee stuck on back-to-back deliveries. 80 for one suddenly became 80 for three. New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum brought back Trent Boult and then a procession towards the pavilion started for the mighty Australians. Boult’s swing was too much for the Australian middle order and they had no answer. They lost 8 wickets for 26 runs in this phase and quickly was at 106 for nice. Supported by the vociferous home crowd Boult’s second spell read 5-3-3-5. Brad Haddin showed some fight for Australia and added valuable 45 runs in the last wicket where his contribution was 37. His thick edge went to short third man’s hand and Australian innings was closed at 151.

Image Source – PTI

The Chase

New Zealand came to bat after a 10-minute break as Australian innings was over in the 33rd over. Their response was based on the extreme quick start provided by the skipper McCullum. The chase started with a run rate of 10 runs in the first few overs. McCullum blasted his way to a 21-ball 50. Mitchell Johnson was severely punished as his first 4 overs bleed 52 runs. By the end of seventh over, Kiwis were 72 for one. Almost most half of the required runs were completed and yet it was not a time for the break. Pat Cummins gave the key breakthrough to his team when he got McCullum caught by Mitchell Starc. Starc himself came back to bowl the next over and got Ross Taylor with his first ball. The teams went to break with New Zealand on 79 for three.

It was 79 for four after one ball once the match was resumed. Starc got Grant Elliot right after the break. New Zealand replicated a similar collapse and the match was again on balance. The crowd was on their toes and all the hopes were on the calm stature of Kane Williamson. Williamson got an ally in Corey Anderson and added 52 runs in the fifth wicket. Anderson played a peculiar inning. His first five runs came in 20 balls. At this point, Mitchell Johnson returned for a spell and his first three deliveries were hit for Four, Four and Six by Anderson to take himself to 19 off 23. Then again once he reached 26 of 29 he could not score in the next 12 balls he faced and on the 13th ball he was out trying to slog Glenn Maxwell.

Another 21 runs were required to score with five wickets in hand and plenty of overs to spare, a comfortable scenario for most of the matches.

Twist In The Tale From Mitchell Starc

The comfort was soon gone as Mitchell Starc’s nasty bouncer got rid of Luke Ronchi. Vettori hit one straight to mid on in the next over. With just six runs to go, Starc brought another twist. He bowled Milne and Southee on back to back deliveries and now it was anyone’s game. The hero of first innings Boult came to bat and his first job was to survive two deliveries of Starc who already had six wickets in his name and almost breathing fire. Boult managed to survive with thunderous cheer and it was all depending on Williamson. Will he try to do it himself or will he trust his partner and rotate strike to get these six runs was a million dollar question.

Cummins was the bowler and Kane did not wait. The first delivery of the 24th over was hit for a straight six and with that New Zealand won one of the most thrilling encounters between these two countries. Kane remained not out for 45. Boult was given the man of the match award for his decisive spell in the first innings but McCullum’s innings was also no less important. Australia’s wait for revenge was less than a month when they got the big prize of the World Cup Trophy by beating New Zealand in the final at MCG.

Also Read: On This Day – 27th Feb

India And Pakistan World Cup Face Off- Virat Kohli’s Unique record

India And Pakistan World Cup Face Off- Virat Kohli's Unique record

India and Pakistan World Cup Match, 2015 saw a unique record by Virat Kohli. 


India and Pakistan cricket matches are infrequent nowadays due to the ongoing tension and restrained political relationship.  But with the intensity of a battle, these matches live up to its billings more often than not. Nowadays, these two countries generally meet only during multi-national tournaments like the World Cup and Asia cup. Although India has the upper hand in recent times, it was not the case always and time to time, both teams deliver some memorable encounters.

Indian And Pakistan World Cup Encounters

In the first four World Cups, India and Pakistan did not get a chance of face-off. They were the joint organizers in 1987 and when they qualified for the semi-final, the fans from both the countries hoped a final showdown between them. But both India and Pakistan faltered and Australia played England in the final in the Eden Gardens.

India and Pakistan first met in a World Cup game in 1992 and since then there is an India-Pakistan clash in every World Cup except 2007 when both the teams were relegated from their respective groups. Most of the Indian fans proudly cherish the fact that in 50-over World Cup India has a 6-0 scoreline against Pakistan, which was hyped more before the 2015 World Cup with the famous ‘Mauka Mauka’ ad by the official broadcasters in India.

In 2011, they faced each other in the semi-final in Mohali which India won by 29 runs and went on to play the final against Sri Lanka in Mumbai.

Once the grouping of the 2015 World Cup was announced cricket fans were delighted to see, India and Pakistan placed in the same group. Similarly, arch-rivals England and Australia were placed in the same group. On February 15, 2015, India started their campaign against Pakistan.

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                      Virat Kohli Amazed All (Image- Getty Images)

Virat Kohli Amazed All

There were few changes in the teams especially for India but still, there were players like MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Misbah-ul Haq and Shahid Afridi who were part of their 2011 clash. MS Dhoni won the toss and as was the norm in such pressure matches opted to bat first.

After a solid start by Rohit and Shikhar, Kohli replaced Rohit in the 8th over. After an early chance, Kohli was set quickly and looked in sublime touches and kept rotating the strike with few exceptional shots in between. However, Kohli understood the importance of him staying in the middle and mostly played risk-free cricket. Shikhar was in good touch and the duo added 129 runs in 23 overs. Once Shikhar was gone, Suresh Raina came and helped India to get the big push around 40th over. He scored a 56-ball 74 with 5 boundaries and 3 sixes. Kohli, on the other hand, grew on his innings and reached his well-deserved hundred in the 43rd over.

Unique Record

With this Kohli became the only batsman to score centuries in his country’s opening matches in two consecutive World Cups. He also scored a 100 against Bangladesh in India’s first match during the 2011 World Cup. This also made him the only Indian to have a century on World Cup debut. The century came at Adelaide Oval, Kohli’s lucky venue. 

Pakistan tried their best but Mohammad Shami ensured that they were never in the hunt. Shami’s four wickets included Younis Khan, Misbah, Afridi and Wahab Riaz. India ended up with a comfortable 76 runs win to open their World Cup defense.

Four years have passed and the legend of Virat Kohli has grown further. Now he is the Indian captain and world’s best batsman in all formats. With another World Cup in a few months, when India will start their campaign against South Africa at the Rose Bowl in Southampton, India fans all over the world will hope for an encore from him and wish him to complete his hat-trick of centuries in World Cup opening matches.

Also Read: OnThisDay – 14th Feb

When Australia Won Their First Cricket World Cup

When Australia Won Their First Cricket World Cup

Australia has been the undisputed champion in the world of cricket for decades. Be it male, or female cricket Australia has proved themselves always. On this day Australian women’s cricket team won the very first cricket world cup, male or female. 


The first women’s world cup was held in 1973, two years before the version of male counterpart began. The next was scheduled to be held in 1978 but women’s cricket was going through serious financial trouble. Following that West Indies and Holland withdrew their names from the world cup just before the announcement of tournament dates. So finally it was a clash among four teams- Australia, New Zealand, England the previous champion and India the debutant. Only India had some sort of chance of pulling audience for the women’s world cup and hence India was declared to be the host of the tournament.

Also Read: Why The Ashes are seen as Cricket war 

Due to a very few numbers of teams, the tournament was decided to be played in a round robin format without a final where each team meets all the contestants and winner is chosen based on the numbers without a final, unlike elimination format. However, the last match played between the two strongest teams, England Women and Australia Women.

Margaret Jennings (Image; www.cricketcounty.com)

Australia Women began their journey in an easy win over New Zealand. Wendy Hills helped Aussie to set a target of 177 and bowlers like Sharon Tredrea and Raelee Thomson defended the total very well and the Kiwis could only score 111 for 8. The host on the same day began their journey of women’s world cup began in a very unfortunate way against the defending champion.

Australia continued their victorious journey throughout the tournament and Sharon Tredea delivered with bat also against India and Peta Vecro with a brilliant bowling figure of 9-3-9-3 bundled India for just 79. Elsewhere on the same day England thrashed New Zealand and won easily by 7 wickets with 57 balls remaining.

As expected the finalists from the previous season were scheduled to meet on 13th January 1978 in the second women’s cricket world cup final. Electing to bat first England Women produced a miserable performance against the yellow women. Sharon was on fire. Her 4 wicket spell with assistance from Verco in no time made England crawl at 28 for 6. Only Thomas and Watmough could add a meticulously slow 21 for the second wicket. Thomas was joined by Shirley Hodges, the wicketkeeper and the two added another 22 for the seventh wicket. Hodges and Glynis Hullah survived till the last ball to put on a score of 96-8 for 50 Overs.

Despite that easy target, Australia were soon on 6 for 2. Thanks to Hullah for quickly sending Lorraine Hill and Hills back to the pavilion. The Aussies were in a tough situation but it was still under control. Janette Tredrea, sister of Sharon and the skipper Margaret Jennings approached the target with absolute calm. They were in no hurry. The goal was not to lose wickets anymore. Both remained unbeaten, Jennings on 57 and Janette on 37; and won the first ever world cup by 8 wickets for Australia, male or female.

England began their world cup journey in 1978 with a bit of controversy. Rachel Heyhoe- Flint, arguably the first great female cricket was dropped from the England squad. It had been rumored that her popularity wasn’t going well with the administration. Once they lost it in 1978, it took another 16 years for England to win it in 1993. For Australia, it was just the beginning of their dominance in the world of cricket. They went on to win the women’s version for three consecutive times starting from 1978 and eventually became the most successful team with 6 world cups.

Romesh Kaluwitharana Sets A Trend During 1996 World Cup

Romesh Kaluwitharana

9th January 1996. It was the 9th match of the Benson & Hedges World Series in Melbourne between Australia and Sri Lanka. Australia batted first and scored a modest 213 for 5 thanks largely to a century from young Ricky Ponting.

Sri Lanka, who were thrashed by West Indies in their last match, started their chase and when the openers came out there was a surprise for everyone as regular opener Sanath Jayasuriya was partnered by their little, feisty wicket-keeper Romesh Kaluwitharana


Romesh Kaluwitharana, playing his 34th ODI, had the highest score of 31 till then. Interestingly, he opened for Sri Lanka in his first innings in international cricket in his second ODI, but post that he batted mostly in number 6, 7 or 8 and never opened. Never opened till 9th Jan 1996, when the team management took that inspiring decision to promote him to utilize the fielding restriction in place for the first 15 overs. And what a decision it was! Kaluwitharana blasted a 75-ball 77 with 12 boundaries and gave Sri Lanka a great start which finally resulted in a win for them.

 

Romesh Kaluwitharana (Image Source: Getty Images)

Romesh Kaluwitharana scored two more 50’s, one each against West Indies and Australia in next one week and a trend was set; a trend of sending a pinch hitter in the top of the order. Something which Martin Crowe briefly started with Mark Greatbatch during 1992 World cup but did not catch in till then. Kaluwitharana made the pinch-hitting opener fashionable and built a great partnership with Sanath Jayasuriya.

The 1996 Cricket World cup started just a month after the Australia tour was over. The world cup was scheduled in the sub-continent and matches were distributed between India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. However, Australia and West Indies refused to play in Sri Lanka due to the ongoing political unrest and hence forfeited their matches. Kaluwitharana played some quick-fire cameos in the tournament like 16-ball 26 against India and 18-ball 33 against Kenya and provided ample support to Jayasuriya who was in a murderous form.

Although Kaluwitharana did not score many in the knockouts, this strategy of pinch hitter did create confusion among certain teams which finally resulted in Sri Lanka getting the grand prize. They won their first World cup and their coach Dave Whatmore was credited for executing a new strategy perfectly.

Kaluwitharana mostly opened in rest of his careers for Sri Lanka which spanned for 189 matches till 2004. His highest score of unbeaten 102 came against England in 2001. He also had an unbeaten 95 against Australia in 1999.

This strategy of pinch hitter was replicated by all the teams with varying degrees of success. However, by late ’90s lots of other teams started playing with attacking batsmen at top of the order. Players like Adam Gilchrist and Virender Sehwag followed the path shown by Romesh Kaluwitharana and retired as legends.

Hence, it will be safe to say that the events of 9th January 1996 had an everlasting impact on One day cricket and was a key reason for its enhanced popularity from the ’90s till now.

 

ICC asks BCCI to pay Rs 160 crore or lose 2023 World Cup

ICC asks BCCI to pay Rs 160 crore or lose 2023 World Cup

The ongoing tax issue between ICC and BCCI could be the reason of India might not hosting the 2021 Champions Trophy and 2023 50-over World Cup.


The fight between the International Cricket Council and the BCCI over the tax issues have taken another turn as The ICC asked BCCI to pay US$23m (nearly Rs 160 cr) after suffering a loss in revenue while the Indian government refused to free the tax for the 2016 World Twenty20 tournament which was held in India.

 

Shashank Manohar, the former BCCI President who headed the game’s global governing body, expected that the BCCI will pay the money before December 31 or they will lose the opportunity to host the 2021 Champions trophy and the 2023 50-over World Cup, which are scheduled to be played in India. Though ICC still did not get the waiver for tax deductions from the central or state ministry, they are hopeful that BCCI will fulfill the demand. As per the report in TOI, BCCI, governed by Committee of Administrators (CoA), has only a few days in their hand to pay the amount.

Moreover, The ICC threatened that if BCCI fails to compensate in aforesaid time, then the amount will be deducted from India’s current financial year’s revenue share. For the World T20, Star TV, which is the official broadcaster of all the ICC tournaments, had already deducted all the taxes before paying the ICC. But now the global body wants BCCI to pay back the money.

On the other, BCCI had asked ICC about the record where they had agreed to the tax waiver, according to the news on Cricbuzz. However, they are convinced that they wouldn’t have to pay the tax if ICC fails to share the details and if the governing body deducts money from India’s revenue share, BCCI can also take legal actions against ICC as well.

 

Luka Modric wins Ballon d’Or 2018 in Paris

Luka Modric wins Ballon d’Or 2018 in Paris

Winner of the Champions League and the finalist of the Russia World Cup, the Croatian midfielder Luka Modric wins his first Ballon d’Or France Football. He finished ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann. 


After ten years of reign shared between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo (5 trophies each), the 2018 edition of the Ballon d’Or marked an end with the coronation of Luka Modric. Under the light, the elegant master of Real Madrid got the prize who looks like an ‘old-fashioned’ player, with his frail pace and gestures combining grace and efficiency. 

The first player in his country, Croatia, to win this distinction, Luka Modric has done better than Davor Suker. Suker, the only Croatian who has already been on the podium of the Ballon d’Or with his 2nd place in 1998, the former Real Madrid striker won the Champions League that year and played a major role in the third place of the Croatia at the World Cup, during which he finished top scorer (6 goals) and third place of the event.

Also Read: Modric – Golden Ball Winner | FIFA World Cup

He also won the Champions League that year with Real Madrid, but Luka Modric has raised the flag on the checkered flag at the World Cup, opening the doors of the final, lost against France (2-4). Author of a sparkling performance – punctuated by a sublime goal – during the correction imposed on Argentina in the group stage (3-0), the 33-year-old then showed his notch in knockout matches.

Also Read: UEFA Men’s Player Of The Season: Luka Modric

While missing a penalty in overtime against Denmark, Luka Modric met his responsibilities by turning his shot on goal against the Vikings, then against Russia, the host country in quarters. Elected player of the competition, Luka Modric took advantage of the premature eliminations of Ronaldo’s Portugal and Messi’s Argentina to receive the most prestigious individual competitions.

Seventeenth in 2016 (tied with Kroos and Payet), fifth in 2017, Luka Modric was ahead of the five-times winner Cristiano Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann, world champion and winner of the Europa League. In his acceptance speech,

Modric said: “It’s a unique feeling. I am happy, proud and honored. I have sensational emotions at the moment that are really hard to describe in words. First of all, I would like to thank my team-mates and coaches at Real Madrid and all the people who work for Real Madrid, all my coaches at team-mates with the national team, all those who voted for me and of course, my family, my wife, and kids. They are fulfilling me as a person and helping me in all aspects to be successful as a professional. As a kid, we all have dreams. My dream was to play for a big club, to win important trophies. I dreamed about it, but the Ballon d’Or was more than a childhood dream for me and it’s a real honor and a privilege to hold this trophy tonight.”

 

Women’s Ballon d’Or

Ada Hegerberg of Lyon and Norway became the first ever winner of the female Ballon d’Or. Hegerberg joined Lyon in 2014 and since then she has helped the club complete three domestic doubles and win the Women’s Champions League in each of the last three seasons.

The striker has scored 157 goals in 125 appearances for Lyon and 38 goals for Norway in 66 games. In 2016 Hegerberg was voted as Europe’s best female player. There was a collective intake of breath from the crowd when French DJ Martin Solveig asked Ada Hegerberg if she would twerk just moments after she received the award. The question was beyond inappropriate, it was an absolute disgrace.

 

Kopa Trophy

Kylian Mbappe has won the inaugural Kopa Trophy, a new award given to the world’s best male footballer aged under 21. The Paris Saint-Germain striker was one of the stars in France’s triumphant World Cup campaign as Didier Deschamps’ squad emerged victorious at the Russia 2018 tournament.

Also Read: Kylian Mbappe – Young Player Of The Tournament | FIFA World Cup

With 32 goals in 56 games in all competitions for club and country in 2018, Mbappe beat fellow nominees including Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold and Borussia Dortmund’s United States international Christian Pulisic.

“I am very happy to receive this award, This rewards a great year, which I realized thanks to all my team-mates at PSG and with the national team. I will never forget the adventure of the World Cup. It’s a good time to thank them. And it’s an extra motivation to keep working.”

Mbappe said at Monday’s ceremony.

“My next goal? It is to win everything. It will be with hard work and help from my team-mates.”

Jhulan Goswami: Living Legend From Chakdah

Jhulan Goswam Cricket

Jhulan Goswami. The name needs no introduction. The name reminds of some legendary and memorable performances to the cricket fans.


The cricket fans who have closely followed the women’s game during the early 2000’s before the recent buzz know the real value of the name. The living legend of women’s game have achieved some enviable records and provided Indian women’s cricket team some truly successful moments to cherish. Born in a middle-class Bengali family at Chakdah in West Bengal Jhulan Goswami is one of those influential names that pushed fans to realize the worth of the women’s cricket since last few years.

jhulan 1
Jhulan Goswami (Photo: Getty Images)

It was Belinda Clarke’s double century at Eden Gardens in 1997 that inspired Jhulan to consider cricket as a serious career option and her first Coach Swapan Shadhu was an instrumental force to turn her dreams into reality. It was Mr. Sadhu who convinced Jhulan’s parents and insisted Jhulan to focus on her bowling more rather than batting. Jhulan’s career graph is now a testimony why he did so.

Like her idol Cathryn Fitzpatrick from Australia, Jhulan was also the fastest bowler in the world during her peak. Most fittingly, Fitzpatrick’s record of highest women’s one day international wicket was broken by Jhulan with her 181st wicket. Jhulan did not stop there and till date she has 207 wickets in ODI.  In the process she became the first women cricketer ever to reach the 200 wicket milestone in ODIs. Combining Tests, ODIs and T20 internationals, Jhulan’s tally of 1700 plus runs and more than 300 wickets are unique. This shows her consistency and indicates how she has led the bowling for Indian women’s team for last 15-16 years.

India’s tour of Ireland and England in 2006 was a memorable one as it was India’s first test series win in England. And in both the matches key contributions were made by Jhulan. In the first test at Leicester Jhulan led the bowling attack and took 5 wickets combining two innings. Not only that, in India’s first innings Jhulan came as a night watchman and scored a gritty 69 consisted of four 4s and ensured that India took a lead over England’s first innings total.

Jhulan did even better in the second test at Taunton. After India’s first innings was over for 307, she came all guns blazing and after a magnificent bowling performance ended at 5 wickets for 33 runs. The strong English team with players like Claire Taylor, Sarah Taylor and captain Charlotte Edwards was rolled over for just 99 runs and forced to follow on. Although England did much better in their second innings, highlighted by a wonderful century from Edwards, Jhulan again picked up 5 wickets to finish the game with 10 for 78. With target of 98 to chase Indian eves reached there with 5 wickets to spare and won the test and the series. It was an immensely proud moment for the players and surely would have been celebrated more if this would happen in current scenario.

Jhulan ended with the player of the series award. Not only that, bigger awards were waiting for her as she was recognized in 2007 ICC awards as the ‘Best Women’s Cricketer’ of the year. She was the first Indian cricketer to win this prestigious award and grabbed quite a few eyeballs then.

Jhulan has served the nation for last 16 years and been a part of a transitional period. From more of an unprofessional structure with minimum benefits and logistic arrangements when she began to the current state when BCCI has launched contract for women players and taken care of the infrastructure more keenly, it was a long journey.

She was part of two world cup finals in 2005 and 2017. She witnessed how audience has changed in between those two world cups. She has seen how they have also started making differences for the cricket fans. In 2005 the cricket fans were hardly aware of Jhulan and co. playing the world cup final. In 2017 they shed tears for the team. She has seen this transition closely. Jhulan has not won a world cup yet and she is not sure about playing 2021 world cup. According to her, for medium pace bowlers things become uncertain due to injuries. Recently she has retired from Twenty 20 cricket just before the world cup in England; and it is clear how much India missed her experience in the tournament. The leading wicket taker in ODI women’s cricket will probably not win a world cup ever but no award can ever be enough for the performances delivered and success achieved by greats like Jhulan, Mithali Raj, Anjum Chopra amidst all the struggles since they have played the key role to bring in the much needed change that women cricket deserves.

 

Suzie Bates, The Olympian Waiting For World Cup Glory

Suzie Bates, The Olympian Waiting For World Cup Glory

She represented her country as a basketball player in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She was star struck by US basketball superstars LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. As a shy 20 years old from Dunedin, it wasn’t easy for her to interact with them. Ten years down the line and she is ruling the T20 World of Women’s Cricket. She is Suzie Bates.


One of the finest white ferns of all time, Suzie Bates always wanted to play basketball and cricket and eventually turned her dreams into reality.

Suzie Bates (Photo: ICC/Solaris Images)

In a family with a strong sporting background, Suzie learned cricket while playing with her brothers Tom and Henry. Her priority was only to compete with her brother. She had a passion for both basketball and cricket. But she never thought of making a career in sports. Sarah Ulmer is the name why Suzie took sports seriously. During 2001 Sarah was becoming a household name in New Zealand. A workshop interaction at the school with Sarah while Suzie was just 9 made her realize her actual dreams. The cycling champion went on to win gold in Athens Olympic, 2004, and Suzie went on to live her life out of sports.

Suzie was first spotted as a cricket talent during a national event for Otago Girls’ High School. By the age of 15, she was representing the Otago Sparks in New Zealand’s national women’s cricket league. It was her blistering 183 off 152 balls gave her the attention and she was picked up to play for New Zealand against India in 2006. Her first T20 match was against South Africa in 2007. The right-handed batter scored her first ODI century at the age of 19. From the very first day she gave a good account of her skill and became a key player for the white ferns in the limited over matches.

The best part about Bates is she always takes her game to the next level in the big matches. The attacking top order batter always gives the White Ferns the much-awaited push right from the beginning. In 2009 Suzie was one of the vital faces in New Zealand’s world cup campaign, and she did justice to that. She took 4 for 7 against South Africa in the group stage and displayed her bowling skills. But it was the smashing 168 that stole the show. She scored it in just off 105 balls against Pakistan in the semi-final, the third highest by a woman cricketer at that time, and took the team to the final against Australia.

Although she was doing extremely well, Bates took a permanent break from basketball in 2011 when she was offered captaincy of New Zealand women’s cricket team. It was her dedication towards the sports that made her one the first four New Zealand women to earn a professional contract that made her a full-time cricketer officially.  One of the noteworthy aspects of her captaincy that it had no negative effect on her batting and 2013 world cup is the biggest testimony of that. The team finished at fourth but Bates shined.

The player of the Tournament at the 2013 World Cup went on to win ICC’s one-day Player of the Year. She won the ICC one day player again in 2015 and claimed T20 award along with it.  Bates is currently leading the chart of most runs in T20 women’s cricket with 2913 runs in 105 matches with a blazing strike rate of 111.99. She scored 124 not out off 66 balls this year against England that is also the highest by any New Zealand woman cricketer. No wonder Suzie Bates is an easy pick for the Women’s Big Bash League in Australia and Kia Super League in the United Kingdom. Her all round effort of attacking batting and medium pace handy bowling is what a balanced team always desires.

In her long journey, she has battled against depression and anxiety. During her Olympic days, a national basketball coach told her how unfit she was for the international level. She could either leave the sports or work on her fitness. She chose the second. She worked hard and found her name among the legends like Debbie Hockley, Sara McGlashan, and Amy Watkins as one of the few women cricketers who played 100 ODIs for New Zealand.

In this long journey, Suzie Bates battled against depression as well. She herself went on record to say how cricket affects mentally. According to her cricket is probably the worst sport for mental health. It is not really easy to cope up with expectations and busy schedules but Suzie is balancing it pretty well. Her successful careers in two different sports show how she is skilled to walk in the odds.

In such a successful career the only missing part is a World Cup triumph. Suzie Bates has not yet won a world cup in any format. T20 World Cup 2018 is certainly a good chance for the White Ferns as 2021 will be a little too far for Suzie. For a legend like her who deserves every bit of the biggest victory, it is kind of a do or die situation and her team must understand that. Although White Ferns did not have a good start thanks to the blistering 100 from Harmanpreet Kaur, Bates still shone and got a 50 during the chase giving some early hope to chase down the mammoth 194. In the process, she also passed Charlotte Edwards as the highest run scorer in Women’s World T20. She would certainly like herself and team to do slightly better to reach the Semi-final spot from this group of death.

5 UMPIRES TO BE REMEMBERED IN CRICKET HISTORY

5 UMPIRES TO BE REMEMBERED IN CRICKET HISTORY

Umpiring in cricket is a critical job. You just do not have any option to fail. Accuracy and swift decision-making ability make good umpires. The game has seen quite a few good umpires since the inception.


Here we have listed five umpires who have taken the skill of umpiring to a different level.

Frank Chester

Frank-Chester
Frank Chester (Photo: Getty Images)

Wisden mentioned him as the “youngest professional regularly engaged in first-class cricket’’ in 1913 when Frank Chester was playing for Worcestershire in first-class cricket. He was an all-rounder and played 55 first-class matches from 1912-1914. During this time he scored 108 against Somerset and became the youngest player at that time to score a county century, a record unbroken till 1950’s. Chester volunteered in the first World War and lost his right arm in 1917. This ended his cricket playing career but his love for cricket made him choose to umpire. He debuted as an umpire in 1922 in a first-class county match. He used an artificial arm to make the necessary signals during umpiring. His first test match was in 1924 between England and South Africa. By the time he retired in 1955, he stood in over 1000 first-class matches and 48 test matches which was a record till Dickie Bird broke it. Don Bradman went on record to honor Chester as the best umpire he had played under.

Dickie Bard

Veteran umpire Harold 'Dickie' Bird
Dickie Bird (Photo: PA)

His autobiography named ‘My Autobiography’ went on to sell more than a million copies. He was given ‘guard of honor’ in his last test in 1996 at Lord’s by Indian and England cricket team. He is Dickie Bird. Born as Harold Dennis Bird, ‘Dickie Bird’ failed to continue his first love football due to an injury and started to play cricket at county level. Finally, he took to umpiring and became famous for the numbers. He debuted in 1973 as an umpire and officiated in 66 Tests which was a record at that time; 54 of those were in England. Bird was awarded the Member of the Order of British Empire in 1983 and Order of British Umpire in 2012.

David Shepherd

david
David Shepherd (Photo: Getty Images)

David Shepherd began as a first-class cricketer and played county cricket for 14 years for Gloucestershire. A member of the 1983 World Cup umpiring panel, David Shephard debuted as an umpire in the 1985 Ashes. This bubbly umpire was famous for his fun-loving nature. He was widely known for his posture of standing on one leg whenever a team reached 111. He umpired in 92 test matches and 172 ODIs, which included World Cup finals in 1996, 1999 and 2003. He was nominated to the elite panel of umpires by the ICC in 2002, and that was the first time of such a proposal implemented by the council. He retired from umpiring in 2005 and dies at the age of 68 after suffering from lung cancer.

Simon Taufel

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Simon Taufel (Photo: Getty Images)

One of the best cricket umpires of all time, Simon James Arthur Taufel moved to umpiring after his failed career as a fast bowler due to a back injury. His progress had been impressive since the beginning. At 24 he was umpiring at the Australian first-class cricket, and in just three years time he made an international debut. His first ODI was in 1999 between Australia and Sri Lanka at Sydney and he appeared for his first test umpiring on the Boxing Day in 2000 between Australia and West Indies.  It was his accuracy and decision making ability that won him five consecutive ICC Umpire of the Year award between 2004 and 2008. He got chance to appear as one of the on-field umpires during the 2011 World Cup final. Taufel retired from international cricket in 2012 and took the role of ICC’s Umpire Performance and Training Manager. He umpired in 74 tests, 174 ODIs and 34 T20s.

Aleem Dar

aleem dar
Aleem Dar (Photo: Getty Images)

As a first-class cricketer of Pakistan Aleem Dar couldn’t do justice to his playing career. But as an umpire, he is arguably one of the best of his generation.  Aleem Das started umpiring at the age of 32 in 2000 and debuted in an ODI match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. His test debut was in October 2003 between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. His performance made him an early entrant to the ICC elite panel. His flawless accuracy was recognized in 2011 world cup when he made 15 consecutive correct decisions. He won ICC Umpire of the Year award repeatedly thrice in 2009, 2010 and 2011.  Aleem Dar has stood in more than 350 matches including matches of 2003, 2007 and 2011 world cups. Statistically, he holds the record of supervising the most number of international matches. No wonder that he did a hat-trick and won three consecutive ICC Umpire of the Year awards in 2009, 2010 and 2011.