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Monday, September 10, 2018

Ending Career in style ~ Alastair Cook bows out with a ton !!

At Kia Oval, the day ended with Alastair Cook after  161 Tests, had  England waiting with bated breath.  His career statistics stood at   12254 runs in 289 innings (160 tests) 32 centuries;  ~ and a lot was to happen today !

Ending Career in style and going out when on top is rather difficult to achieve ! ~ Vic Richardson was a noted all-round Australian sportsman for, besides taking part in 19 Test matches between 1924 and 1935, represented his county at baseball and played for South Australia at cricket, baseball and golf. He also won a State tennis title, was prominent at lacrosse and basketball and was a first-rate swimmer.  Richardson played in all five Test matches of the body-line tour of Douglas Jardine's England team in 1932-33.  Not many would know that his grandsons played for Australia and they were the illustrious Ian Chappel, Greg Chappel & Trevor Chappel.

At Sydney in Test no. 974 on Jan 1984, Greg Chappel retired.  He scored 182 and was easily the man of the match.  With a century in his first and last Tests, 22 others in between, and a career average of 53.86, Greg Chappell was the foremost Australian batsman of his generation.  Could well remember that match – 5th Test against Pakistan at Bangalore in Mar 1987 – the young Maninder Singh spun viciously bowling Pakis for a paltry total with magic figures of 18.2-8-27-7 !!

Not many would remember that he played his last Test against Zimbabwe – India won by an innings, Vinod Kambli made 227, Vijay Yadav the wicket-keeper debuted and played his only Test.  Andy Flower made 115; Grant Flower made 96 – Maninder took 3/79 and in the 2nd took 4/66 – yet that was to be his last Test.  Getting back to that Bangalore test, Pak won by 16 runs – Imran khan did not bowl – only 3 bowlers Wasim Akram, Iqbal Qasim and Tauseef Ahmed used on a vicious turner, where Sunil Gavaskar made 96 brought India much closer to the victory – but team faltered too close to the end.  That was Sunil’s last test innings !!

Yesterday, Alastair Cook had walked out to a rapturous standing ovation from a full house at The Oval for his final international innings and by the close was within touching distance of making twin fifties in the match - with the fairytale finish of a century still on offer.  Alastair Cook had passed 20 the afternoon before, made a 50 – then it was  Kumar Sangakkara's position as fifth on the Test run-scorers' table: Cook needed to reach 76 for that. He got there driving, not cleanly, but an inside edge was enough for a single and the title of highest scoring left-handed batsman in Test history.  And then, of course, the century. Cricket has been cruel to many of its greatest proponents. Few get to name the day of their final stand, let alone write the bit about riding off into the sunset and living happily-ever-after. Cook had scored a half-century and a century on his debut against India in Nagpur; surely, 12 years and 161 Test matches on,  he made another  symmetrical ton, too perfect.

Alastair Cook's emotional wife was overwhelmed with joy today as the England cricket star scored a century in his final match on the day she is due to give birth. Former model Alice Cook, who is nine months pregnant, sat alongside their daughters Elsie, four, and Isabelle, one, who also went wild as they watched their 33-year-old father make history at the Oval in south London today. The former England captain enjoyed a fairytale end to his international career by scoring a century in his final match for his country. And with Alice due to give birth to their third child any moment, there will be even more cause for celebration in the Cook household in the coming days.

With India's tour of England coming to an end, there's now a buzz around their tour of Australia in November, where they will play four Tests and a limited-overs series. If Adam Gilchrist, the Australian great, is to be believed, the tour may be shaped up by how Australia's replacements for David Warner and Steven Smith, who are in the middle of a year-long ban for the Newlands ball-tampering scandal, can step up and perform. He's seen Australia adopt the revolving door policy since Brad Haddin's retirement in 2015. Australia have tried Graham Manou, Matthew Wade, Peter Nevill and Peter Handscomb, before eventually recalling Tim Paine. It's a mistake he hopes India don't make, calling for them to instead be patient with Rishabh Pant. The 20-year old wicketkeeper so far has scores of 24, 1, 0, 18 and 5 in five Test innings. "It may take some chopping and changing, but if you churn through players too quickly, it can leave a psychological scar on their minds," Gilchrist said.

The ICC will grant all matches in multi-team one-day tournaments ODI status when they include teams with and without international status, beginning with the Asia Cup in the UAE this month, amid a wider review of the application of status in one-day cricket. The decision will also extend to World Cup Qualifiers in the future. Hong Kong, who don't hold ODI status, booked their place in the Asia Cup by beating UAE in the qualifying final and it raised the potential of some matches in the event being ODIs and others not. Hong Kong is the only team among the six participating teams without an ODI status.

There was significant criticism when not all matches at the World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe earlier this year were handed ODI status. That led to a confusing mix of classifications for fixtures during the event and included the scenario where Netherlands, who joined the 16-team ODI rankings after the tournament, were not playing ODIs in the qualifiers.  Dave Richardson, the ICC chief executive, also confirmed a review of ODI status is being undertaken with an outcome expected in the next few months.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
10th Sept 2018.


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