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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

WC 2015 - Gayle 200; Moin Khan in Casino and Craig Wallet in gallery !

Nearly a month ago, India were playing their final group fixture in the 2015 Cartlon Mid Tri-series here against England, where they went down by three wickets. They did not make it to the finals of the 3 Nation Competition and was criticised severely. 

The other team England had a win against Scotland.  Moeen Ali's all-round performance (128 & 2/47) and Steven Finn (3/26) helped England defend their strong total of 303 against Scotland, bowling them out for 184 giving  Eoin Morgan their first points of the World Cup 2015. At the same time, comprehensive  victories over Pakistan and South Africa  has  given India the unlikely top spot in a tough Group B of the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup, and - as they quietly trundle into Perth for their next two matches - it has left the team's management with the pleasant headache of looking at players who have warmed the bench so far.

So far only Indians have made double hundreds in ODI and today came the fastest ODI double 100 from ‘who else’ Chris Gayle.  This was the fifth double-century in ODIs, and it came exactly five years after Sachin Tendulkar first reached the landmark on 24th Feb. Once a year is too frequent a rate for the milestone to be special any more, and since it was Gayle, it answered the question of when rather than if.  Gayle finished on 215 from 147 balls. He hit 10 fours and sent 16 sixes flying over the straight boundary or into a group of fans dressed as a coven of witches beyond the midwicket boundary. At the other end, unnoticed, Marlon Samuels made his highest ODI score and played second fiddle in a partnership of 372, the highest for any wicket in ODIs.

Reports confirm that  PCB has asked Moin Khan, Pakistan's chief selector and a member of the tour selection committee, to return home after he was reportedly seen in a casino two days before the team's clash against West Indies in Christchurch. The board has also launched an official investigation against him.The  PCB chairman, said strict action will be taken against Moin should he be found guilty.

You don’t see players outside the player’s enclosure -  but Scotland's reserve wicketkeeper Craig Wallet was doing just that as his team was playing England at the Hagley Oval on Monday .  TOi reports that he was seen in a Tui beer orange tee-shirt, looking to catch the ball with one hand and win a pie of the million New Zealand dollars that are on offer throughout the tournament.  He wasn't sitting with the team because he is not a part of the 15, but he is training with the team and will also travel to Dunedin on Tuesday for the Afghanistan game.  Just that his teammates didn't give him the chance through the afternoon to become a millionaire!

Sachin Tendulkar has backed the cause of Associate nations' participation in the Cricket World Cup. ICC (International Cricket Council) has proposed a 10-team World Cup in 2019 unlike the 2015 edition where 14 teams are participating. The 2019 edition will have the top eight teams qualifying directly while two more teams will join them after a qualifying round. The move has met with a lot of criticism from supporters of nations like Ireland, Afghanistan amongst others. Tendulkar, the brand ambassador of ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, was of the view that playing against top teams regularly would only help the smaller teams.

ICC sees the change in number of teams as a way of making the World Cup more competitive and ensuring that each match remains competitive. On the flip side, there has been argument that it would actually discourage the smaller teams. Tendulkar was keen on the top teams playing against Associate nations on a more regular basis.  The minnows have so far made good impact in this World Cup.

The Chappell-Hadlee Trophy returns in the ICC World Cup encounter between New Zealand and Australia to be played at Auckland's Eden Park on Saturday. The ODI trophy, named after the legendary cricket families in Australia and New Zealand, was last played during the 2011 World Cup in Nagpur. Both teams have played just one ODI since then - in the 2013 Champions Trophy - but due to an "oversight", as admitted by New Zealand Cricket CEO David White, the match, which eventually ended in a washout, wasn't given the status of the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
24th Feb 2015.

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