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Thursday, February 26, 2015

celebrations in Afghan after WC win ..... who is the fielding Coach of India ?

Do you know who the fielding coach of India is ?

Afghan has long been known to the World for military activities and gets wrong coverage  for suicide bombing and the like.  Kandahar is the second-largest city in Afghanistan; formerly called Alexandria Arachosia, named after Alexander the Great, who founded it in 329 BCE.   The Arghandab River runs along the west of the city. Kandahar is one of the most culturally significant cities of the Pashtuns and has been their traditional seat of power for more than 200 years. It is a major trading center for sheep, wool, cotton, silk, felt, food grains, fresh and dried fruit, and tobacco. Kandahar has an international airport and  Indians would like to forget that fateful incident of IC 814.

 In the first official sign that the Pentagon plans to keep a U.S. military presence in southern Afghanistan after this year, the Army is sending the 7th Infantry Division headquarters from Joint Base Lewis-McChord on a year-long deployment to Kandahar Province this spring. The deployment follows Defence Secretary Ashton Carter’s weekend visit to Kandahar, where he acknowledged in a meeting with soldiers that the Obama administration was reconsidering the pace of its planned withdrawal of the 10,000 U.S. troops who remain in Afghanistan. The deployment is small, fewer than 100 soldiers. But it’s significant because it shows that the U.S. military wants to maintain a presence in Afghanistan’s Pashtun heartland while continuing to reduce its footprint in the 14-year-old war.

Away from all the melee, hundreds of jubilant Afghan cricket fans flooded onto the streets of major cities Thursday, dancing, waving flags and firing AK-47s in celebration at their team's historic World Cup win over Scotland. The "Blue Tigers" had slumped to 97-7, but a brilliant 96 by Samiullah Shenwari took the Afghans to the brink of a sensational victory.  For the second time in two days the Associate head-to-head produced a magnificently compelling contest, a finish filled with tension and drama as Afghanistan's last-wicket pair hauled them to a famous one-wicket victory in Dunedin following an epic innings by Samiullah Shenwari.

Scotland set a target of 211 which looked remote and close to impossible as Afghans lost their 4th wicket at 88 and soon they were 97/7…. At 34.6 they were 132/8 – 79 runs away with only 2 wickets in hand.  Hamid Hassan, provided priceless support for Shenwari in the ninth-wicket stand of 60; he and Shapoor Zadran were left needing 19 off 19 balls. Every delivery was a minor epic. Ultimately it was a maiden World Cup victory for Afghans. 

In the 2 matches, India have batted and bowled well – Indian fielding generally is ordinary with some to be hidden all along.  We have seen and heard of Derek Randall, Jhonty Rhodes – none  other than Eknath Solkar and perhaps the old timers Ajit Wadekar, Abid Ali, Venkat presented good fielding side – in between we have had Brijesh Patel, Yahspal, Azhar, Kapil Dev, Robin Singh,  Kaif, Raina and a few more.   In Australia, most grounds are big – especially the Melbourne – the space can shrink radically. India, in their two World Cup fixtures so far, have showcased that quality with an electric battery of fielders holding on to their catches and affecting game changing run-outs.  If Mohammad Shami held on to a catch to dismiss Hashim Amla and made it look easy, it was Mohit Sharma’s speed and agility that ran AB de Villiers out at a crucial juncture of the match.

Both dismissals brought a smile to India’s fielding coach  who like any other day, was making notes and keeping a close tab of his troops on the field. Much of credit for India’s fielding success goes to Hyderabadi R.  Sridhar who has been tirelessly working with the team to get better in a skill that India is not traditionally known for.  Recall that Kings XI Punjab roped in former Hyderabad spinner R Sridhar as fielding coach for IPL 2014. Sanjay Bangar, B Arun and R Sridhar are part of India's coaching staff until the World Cup. The trio were part of a rejig of the backroom personnel after the 3-1 loss to England in the Tests ~ and  Ravi Shastri's is the team director.   

Yesterday, I had posted about Kerala’s Krishna Chandran playing for UAE.  He is not alone.   In his early days at Mumbai,  Swapnil Patil had only one passion and that was to play cricket. Patil dreamt big ever since he held a bat in his hand but he knew he had to be patient and take small steps towards success. Runs in inter-school cricket and club cricket became a regular feature during his budding days and soon he was a part of the probables in the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team. After three years of being in the probables list without a game under his belt, Patil’s patience finally gave in and he decided to make a move to UAE. Cut to 2015, UAE’s wicket-keeper batsman, Swapnil Patil, is living a dream that he claims to have never pictured ‘in the wildest of his dreams’.  Then there is Asanka Manjula Guruge who hails from  Ambalangoda in Srilanka.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

26th Feb 2015.

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