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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Will CSK make the cut ? Chennaikku visil podanama ? Pujara - Who ??

Some update from South Africa and something on a 22 year old consistent batsman who has made news back home. Cheteswar Arvind Pujara born in Jan 25th 1988 could not have been ignored after prolific scores in domestic and in tours. In 2006 U19 WC, he was the highest scorer with 349. He is touted to be a classical player with good technique.

At South Africa the 2010 Champions League is entering a crucial phase after some absorbing tussles. This featured 10 teams – 3 from India, 2 each from Australia and Southafrica and 1 each from Sri Lanka, West Indies and Newzealand. The last 2 matches of the preliminary round is on today, which will determine the entrant to Semi from Group A where Chennai Super Kings have a stake.

This is a cash rich statement with the total prize money @ US $ 6 million (27 crores !) ; the winner gets 2.5 M$ and runner up gets 1.3M$. The winner, runner and the third team from the previous version of IPL (CSK, MI & RCB) were in fray. In a complex situation some players who had helped their team qualify for the tournament were part of another team also. The rule in such a scenario was that the player can play for his home team and if he plays for any other team, that team must pay the home team US$200000 as compensation. Royal Challengers Bangalore paid compensation for Jacques Kallis, Cameron White and Ross Taylor.

In Y day match RCB won convincingly thanks to good knocks by Manoj Pandey and Virat Kohli after good bowling performances of 2/23 by Vinay Kumar and 1/13 by Kumble. They have qualified for the semi stage though they won only two of their matches. South Australia is the other qualifier from Group B. Group A is wide open with the last match involving CSK Vs Warriors and Central Dist playing Wayamba in a match of no significance.

Warriors have won all their games thus far. If they beat CSK, they would qualify without using a calculator. So also would Victoria. But if they lose, they need to ensure that they do so by a small margin (approx less than 30 runs or more than 16.3 overs) to maintain a higher NRR than Victoria.

CSK are in a must win situation ; need to beat Warriors – CSK has the best NRR as of now. The Bushrangers have reeled off 3 straight wins but would require Warriors beating CSK for a sure berth. Wayamba and Central Dist have not won a single match and are already out of semis.

Back home, the Team to play the touring Aussie did not contain great surprises. The Squad is : MS Dhoni (capt. & wk), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Suresh Raina, Cheteshwar Pujara, M Vijay, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Pragyan Ojha, Sreesanth and Amit Mishra

The punter’s men are already here and would play two tests : 1st at Mohali (Oct 1 – 5); 2nd at Bangalore (Oct 9-13).. They would also play 3 one dayers : Oct 17 – Kochi; Oct 20 Visakhapatnam; Oct 24 at Margao.

The dropping of Yuvraj Singh was on the cards and the heavy scoring Saurashtran Pujara is in the squad. He is unlike to play the Test as the no. 6 spot would go to Suresh Raina after his ton at Lanka. Abimanhyu Mithun has been dropped as Zaheer and Sreesanth make comebacks. Bhaji would continue to be the spinhead backed by Amit Mishra or Ojha. 

Pujara has been averaging more than 50 and during the tour to England socred a double. He has 14 first class centuries and is a big hundred player. Surprising he was part of the Kolkatta Knight Riders T20 squad also. At one point of time, he scored two triple centuries in CK Nayudu U22 and then completed one more against Orissa in Ranji becoming the first Saurashtran to make a triple ton. His stand with Ravindra Jadeja was worth 520 becoming the second best partnership in Indian cricket after Vijay Hazare and Gul Mohammed’s 577 for Baroda against Holkar in 1946-47.

How far he goes from here remains to be seen as Test cricket could be a different cup of tea…

Regards – Sampathkumar S


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