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Sunday, November 1, 2020

opportunities do not come easily ~ when they come, make best use !!

Long ago, in 1970s – Tamil Nadu Ranji openers were V Sivaramakrishnan & V Krishnaswamy ~ they made runs playing for the State perhaps never got the fame or money that modern day Cricketers enjoy .. .. life was different those days – IPL catapults young guys to fame and more importantly ‘money’

B u t  .. .. even in modern times, life is not all that easy, success does not come that easily and even most talented do not get their due – to me, one of the shining examples is Kieron Pollard, the towering Cricketer from West Indies who generally comes when 20 odd balls are left and scores 3 or 4 sixers – good that he is leading MI in the absence of Rohit Sharma – he is one of the most underrated captains too ! .. .. not many would have noticed that the Caribbean all-rounder Kieron Pollard created history on Sunday (25th October) night as he became the first fielder to take 300 catches in T20 cricket history.

The 33-year-old Trinidad cricketer Kieron Pollard is already holding the record of most matches in T20 cricket history as he is still the only cricketer to appear in 500+ T20s. Captaining  Mumbai Indians (MI)   in the 45th match of the IPL 2020 against Rajasthan Royals (RR) at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium (Abu Dhabi), it was the 523rd T20 match for Pollard.  The big burly six hitter,  Pollard reached another milestone in his T20 career as he became the first fielder or non-wicket-keeper to take 300 T20 catches.  

He captured everyone’s admiration with his measured words and gestures.  Following the loss against Rajasthan, Pollard  credited that Rajasthan’s top order complimenting Stokes and Sanju for playing  really well, and stating  Pandya’s innings gave them a good enough total. Mumbai Indians' loss against the Rajasthan Royals has not hampered Mumbai's chances of qualifying for the playoffs. They still need to win just one of their remaining three matches to make the final four. The Royals, however, are now at sixth place with 10 points, and can reach a maximum of 14. By beating Mumbai on Sunday, the Royals have also knocked the Chennai Super Kings out of the playoff race for the first time in the history of the competition. Despite the heroics by Ben Stokes to help get the Royals over the line, their playoff spot will still depend on how the Kolkata Knight Riders, the Kings XI Punjab and the Sunrisers Hyderabad go in their remaining fixtures.

Yesterday night it was big chase well organized - Ben Stokes played so well making an unbeaten 107 off 60 balls as the Rajasthan Royals chased down Mumbai Indians' 195 for 5 with relative ease in the end in Abu Dhabi.  Earlier, Hardik Pandya's 60 not out off 21 balls, studded with seven sixes and two fours, had lit up the evening. But that didn't prove enough as Stokes and Sanju Samson added 152 off 82 balls in an unbroken third-wicket partnership to take the Royals home with ten balls to spare.  The first flame came from Quinton de Kock who has  scores of 53, 78*, 53 and 46* coming into this game. He pulled a 149.6kph Jofra Archer delivery for a six to get off the mark. Archer, however, pitched the next ball a little fuller and a bit wider, and de Kock chopped on with an angled bat.

Moving away, India has done remarkably well in ICC U19 WC but not in 2014 edition where they finished 5th.  That was the  tenth edition of the tournament. Sixteen nations competed: the ten Test-playing teams, the United Arab Emirates as hosts, and five additional associate and affiliate qualifiers (Afghanistan, Canada, Namibia, Papua New Guinea, and Scotland). India entered the tournament as defending champions, having won the title in 2012 in Australia under the captaincy of Unmukt Chand. In the final, South Africa beat Pakistan by six wickets to win the tournament. South Africa captain Aiden Markram was awarded Man of the Series.

Not many would know or remember that Monu played in that edition.  Hailing from Ranchi like his CSK skipper MS Dhoni, Monu has represented Bihar and the Indian U-19 teams as well. He's taken 25 wickets in the shortest format at an economy rate of 6.90. Monu had travelled to the United Arab Emirates with the junior India cricket team for the 2014 U-19 World Cup. He claimed four wickets in three matches back then, and was part of an outfit which included the likes of Shreyas Iyer, Kuldeep Yadav and Sanju Samson. He even featured in India's quarterfinal loss to England that year. Twelve wickets from eight games during Jharkhand's run to the 2018 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy's Super League got Monu an IPL contract with CSK.

Monu Kumar was picked up by the Super Kings in the mega-auction in January 2018. He has been part of the side since then without ever getting a game, as the Super Kings won the title in 2018 and finished runners-up in 2019. He began IPL 2020 in his now familiar role on the bench, but the worst season that the Super Kings have endured meant they were more open to changes in the playing XI, and Kumar finally got a go, having been on the bench for 44 matches: 16 in 2018, 17 in 2019 and 11 in 2020.

He ended up bowling only two overs and conceded 20 runs, including three wides and a no-ball. Off the free hit that came via the no-ball, Kumar nailed a leg-stump yorker to de Villiers to keep him to a single. Super Kings bowling coach Eric Simons said the yorker was a delivery Kumar had great confidence in.

Life does not present great opportunities for every one but when one comes on the way, one must make best possible use of it.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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