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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Shikar Dhawan in; Border-Gavaskar Trophy squad

Away from the glitzy and mad World of  IPL, there exists for the connoisseur, the longer version, nay not the 50 overs a side, but the Test Matches and the Series between countries not clubs… this is Border Gavaskar Trophy and the Australians are touring India for a 4 match Series.  There is more pride playing for the Nation and lesser money than playing for a club side, a franchisee of IPL.  Indians who reaped rich in IPL auction, the likes of Abhishek Nayar, Jayadev Unadkat will be nowhere closer to the National side, but does that really matter ?

The visiting Aussies would play in 4 Tests :  First one at Chennai from Feb 22-26; 2nd at Hyderabad – Mar 2-6; Third at Mohali, Chandigarh Mar 14-18; and the final Test at Delhi Mar 22-26.  So keen contest between the bat and ball or perhaps between Indian spin and Oz pace is expected.  The Indian squad for the first  two tests has been announced,

•        MS Dhoni (capt.), Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, M Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, R Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Ashok Dinda

After the not so impressive performance against England, the main change is the leaving out of Gautam Gambhir and fortunately, Selectors have not gone in for the ‘talented’ Rohit Sharma. Delhi's Shikhar Dhawan has replaced Gambhir and M Vijay has been retained.  Harbhajan Singh replaced Piyush Chawla, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar earned a first Test call-up ahead of Parvinder Awana as the third change.  Dhawan, Murali Vijay have been scoring runs but the man who scored them most Wasim Jaffer could not earn a place though.  Harbhajan,  was dropped from India's Test squad for the fourth match against England, but is back again, possibly because of lack of options.  Bhuvneshwar seems to have benefited from his impressive run in the limited-overs formats against Pakistan and England. Ishant Sharma and Ashok Dinda are the other two pace-bowling options.

Jaffer last played for India in 2008 but going by domestic performance has everything in him.  Recently, he took the record for most centuries in the tournament. Jaffer's hundred against Saurashtra on the second day of the final at the Wankhede Stadium was his 32nd, taking him past former Delhi batsman Ajay Sharma's tally. During the innings Jaffer also reclaimed the record for most runs in the Ranji Trophy, moving ahead of his former Mumbai team-mate Amol Muzumdar, who had overtaken Jaffer earlier this season. Muzumdar was on television commentary when Jaffer broke the record for most runs, as he had been when Jaffer went past him for the first time in 2011.  Jaffer has 9155 runs while Muzumdar, who never played for the Nation has 9105 runs. 

Thinking of Indo Aussie rivalry, one test that would readily come to mind is the one in Oct 1986  ~ it ended in an unusual ‘Tie’; the second of its kind in the history of Test Cricket, it was played at Chepauk, Chennai; Gavaskar and Alan Border, both played in that test.  The score card would read Australia 574 for 7 dec and 170 for 5 dec:  tied with India 397 and 347 ~ that will never represent the drama and tension when Maninder Singh was given out lbw to Greg Matthews as the Match became a historic one.  India were fortunate to be in any sort of winning position, Australia having declared their first innings at 574 early on the third day, while a generous second declaration left the home side 348 to win on the final day, in front of a large, excited crowd of over 30,000.  Indians with the lusty cheers opened with Sunil Gavaskar, playing his 100th consecutive Test walking along with Krishnamachari Srikkanth.  Chandrakant Pandit, a wicket keeper played as a specialist batsman while Kiran More was the keepter; at one stage Indians were 331 for 6, with 17 needed.  when Maninder walked in 4 was needed off the last over.  Shastri managed a two, followed by a single to level the scores. Maninder had three balls to play but was out leg before off the 5th ball, with scored equal and result being a Tie. 

The Nations now play for ‘Border–Gavaskar Trophy’ from 1996-97 season. Overall, India have played 82 Tests against Australia of which almost 50%, 42 of them are at home.  Of  the 20 wins, 15 have come at home, with a Tie and 23 draws totally.
Ind Vs Aus
At home
Alan Border was a classy left hander  who played between 1978 to 1994 and captained Aussies; He played 156 Test matches in his career, a record until it was passed by fellow Australian Steve Waugh. Border still retains the world record for the number of consecutive Test appearances of 153 and the number of Tests as captain. He was primarily a left hand batsman but also achieved sporadic success as a part-timeleft arm orthodox spinner. Border amassed 11,174 Test runs (a world record until it was passed by Brian Lara in 2005). He hit 27 centuries in his Test career.

The legendary little Master - Sunil Manohar Gavaska, whom you see as a good commentator was a grand opener with an impeccable defence and unsaturated appetite for scoring runs.  He played between 1971 and 1987 and slammed    34 Test centuries which stood as a record for almost two decades before it was broken by Sachin Tendulkar in December 2005. He was also the first batsmen to break the 10000 run barrier

with regards – S. Sampathkumar
10th Feb 2013.

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