yuvraj-dravid

New Delhi: In Mohali two men will have a contrasting view of the future after what happened in Chennai. Yuvraj Singh proved that he belonged to the Test arena but Rahul Dravid failed to overcome the ghosts of an unusually long run of failure and now faces an uncertain future.

For Yuvraj his unbeaten 84 on Monday was a moment of reckoning. He joined his childhood idol Sachin Tendulkar with the target still 163 runs away and victory rested on how well he supported his mentor. The southpaw passed the test and when they walked off the park, Yuvraj Singh knew he had been part of an unique moment.

“I thought if I could ever win a Test match with him (Sachin Tendulkar) and today that dream has come true,” said Yuvraj after India won by six wickets against England.

However, on the other side of the coin is the conundrum surrounding Rahul Dravid’s poor run of form; it has now become more than a passing headache.

He averages less than 30 this year in Tests but even if many believe his time has passed, his team continues to support the once formidable “Wall.”

“Whatever people are saying about Rahul, is not worrying any of us. He is a great player and he will definitely score runs,” stated Tendulkar.

But will Dravid repay that support. The selectors have reportedly assured Dravid, that his place is under no immediate threat although there may be a chance in his batting position. It’s a move that many experts support.

“I would have him bat at number five. I will make him swap places with VVS Laxman and I will pick him for Mohali,” Sunil Gavaskar told CNN-IBN.

So come Mohali, these two men face their own unique challenge. One to build on a reputation and the other to salvage lost pride.

yuvrajsingh

India have announced a 15-man squad for the two-Test series against England beginning in Chennai on 11 December.

Yuvraj Singh, 26, who scored successive centuries in the aborted one-day series with England, is back in the Test squad for the first time since April.

He could fill the middle order gap created by Sourav Ganguly’s retirement.

Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, who toured Sri Lanka but has yet to make his Test debut, is in the party but left-arm seamer RP Singh is omitted.

Yuvraj, who made his Test debut against New Zealand in October 2003, has had an inconsistent career in the longer format.

In 23 matches he has scored three centuries, all against Pakistan, but has also made five ducks, with an average of 32.

On India’s most recent tour of Australia in 2007/08 he was twice out for nought and made only 17 runs in two Tests.

Ojha, 22, has played five one-day internationals, taking five wickets with a best of 2-28 against Sri Lanka.

He is expected to provide cover for off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and new leg-spin hope Amit Mishra.


India squad: Mahendra Dhoni (capt & wk), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Amit Mishra, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Subramaniam Badrinath, Munaf Patel, Murali Vijay, Pragyan Ojha.

flint282

England have been offered a revised schedule for their tour of India but will await a security report before making any decision.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has said players will not be forced to go following the terror attacks in Mumbai.

Indian cricket bosses say the ECB has agreed to the Ahmedabad and Mumbai Tests switching to Chennai and Mohali, the first starting on 11 December.

A planned three-day warm-up match has been cancelled.

The England squad returned to the UK on Friday after the last two one-day matches in India were cancelled.

“The players have returned home, they’ll have spoken to their families and young children and it’s a tremendous pull on the heart-strings,” said Gooch.

“Cricket teams around the world have [previously] been caught up in terrorist situations but have never been a target.

“But it’s been stated in this case that British and American passport holders were a target, so you’d have to think, sadly, that an England team and their supporters would be targets.

“If one individual decides they cannot go then others will probably follow.”

Spinner Graeme Swann, battling to secure a place in the side, admitted he had a “tricky” decision to make, despite not being 100% happy to return.

Ranuka Shetty, chief operating officer for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), told the BBC: “In principle [the England team] do feel that the tour has to go on but I think a clear picture will emerge by [Monday] evening or tomorrow morning as to how we will proceed in this matter.

“I think a team which visits and then took a break and went back – when it comes back I think it sends a great deal of positive signal to the world.”

Last week’s terror attacks in Mumbai saw at least 172 people killed.

With the last two one-dayers between India and England already cancelled, the two-Test series depends on the security report’s outcome.

It is understood that travel will be limited as much as possible, with England flying directly to the venue of the first Test.

ECB managing director Hugh Morris could not confirm reports of Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison refusing to travel.

“I’ve not had confirmation from either Andy or Steve,” Morris told BBC 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme on Sunday.

“What we are doing is pulling information together over the next 24 to 48 hours and we will be putting that to the players and their representatives.”

Morris said the team would only go back to India if their safety could be guaranteed, but it remained unclear as to which players a returning England team would.

He said England could send a weakened squad if regular first-teamers declined to go, conceding: “Clearly we would have to potentially face that issue.”

“But until that report comes back, I’m not keen at the minute.”

Meanwhile, Lalit Modi, vice-president of the Indian cricket board (BCCI), expects England to return – if safety assurances are met.

“Player safety and fans safety is paramount for us,” Modi said.

“But on the other hand we must make sure events like this don’t give the opportunity to terrorists around the world to get away with this. We need to carry on.

“I’m sure families will want to influence players and rightfully so, but they need to make their own decision.

“I really do believe it will happen though. The ECB, the security teams and governments are all checking it out and I’m sure it will be all right.”

He also said the BCCI would not press the ECB for compensation should the series be shelved.

International Cricket Council chief executive Haroon Lorgat urged the series to go ahead if it was safe to do so.

“If safety and security allow then I would urge the England Test tour of India to go ahead,” he said, “and if it does so, then representatives of the ICC will be there to show solidarity with the competing teams.”

pointing

Australia need just 30 runs to take a first innings lead against New Zealand after dominating day two of the second Test in Adelaide.

Brett Lee took 3-6 in a 27-ball spell as the Black Caps collapsed from 262-6 overnight to 270 all out.

Australia lost Matthew Hayden and Simon Katich early on, but Ricky Ponting (79) and Michael Hussey (69no) took charge with a crucial stand of 106.

Michael Clarke then batted impressively with Hussey to leave Australia on top.

New Zealand’s hopes of building on a battling first day batting performance were dashed in a hostile spell from paceman Lee.

A clever change of pace saw Lee dismiss the dangerous Brendon McCullum, the Black Caps’ main hope for a big total, for 30.

He also had Iain O’Brien caught behind before knocking Chris Martin’s middle stump out of the ground to inflict another duck on the number 11.

Australia’s reply did not begin impressively, with Hayden run out for 24 after threatening to mark his 100th Test in style.

The big Queenslander took off for a single but was stranded as Katich stayed anchored at the non-striker’s end.

Kiwi captain Daniel Vettori then had Simon Katich (23) caught at bat-pad by Jesse Ryder to give his side hope of restricting Australia.

But Ponting was in magnificent form and put Australia in control, making batting look easy and stroking 11 boundaries by the time he reached his half-century.

The Kiwis then applied the brakes to Ponting and he was out pulling a ball from O’Brien to mid-wicket ,where he was caught for 79 by the towering Peter Fulton.

Hussey and Clarke were relatively untroubled in the final session, with some patient but stylish batting to put on an unbroken 86-run stand for the fourth wicket.

Clarke strode to the crease and got off the mark with a textbook straight drive, while Hussey also played some memorable sweeps and pulls as Australia look to build up an unassailable first innings lead.

For New Zealand, Vettori bowled tirelessly over the final two sessions and finished with figures of 1-54 off 28 overs while Iain O’Brien took the important wicket of Ponting and has 1-63.

kevinpietersen

New Delhi: The terror attacks in Mumbai have expectedly had an impact on the ongoing English tour to India as well as the T-20 Champions League that is scheduled to begin next week.

For now the three matches of the Champions League that were meant to be played in Mumbai have been shifted to Bangalore, but whether the tournament will go ahead is shrouded in doubt.

The English twenty20 champions Middlesex, Australian teams The Victorian Bush Rangers and the Western Warriors as well as the two South African teams Nashua Titans and Dolphins were meant to arrive in Mumbai on Thursday.

They have already delayed their plans by at least 24 hours as they wait for the situation to get clearer.

The English cricket team which was meant to travel to Guwahati on Thursday for the sixth ODI is at the moment staying put in Cuttack. CNN-IBN has been informed that the players are reluctant to continue the tour and have ruled out the possibility to play the second Test in Mumbai on Novermeber 19 as per schedule.

“We are and will be continued to be guided by our foreign office. And at the moment we are in discussion with the foreign office,” said the ECB officials. The England performance excellence team that is in Bangalore and has players like Monty Panesar, Andrew Strauss and Michael Vaughan will for now continue to stay in Bangalore.

BCCI sources say they are monitoring the situation closely and no decision will be made in haste. Some of these teams were infact meant to be staying at the two hotels in Mumbai where the attacks have taken place.

The Rajasthan Royals captain Shane Warne who was on his way to Mumbai, has stayed back in Singapore where he was in transit, waiting for further instructions.

The terror strikes in Mumbai since Wednesday night have also effected the Middlesex cricket team which was due to fly down to the city at 10am on Thursday.

The team was coming to participate in the Champions League which starts on December 3. The Middlesex team now has cancelled their plans for the next 24 hours and will wait for a security assessment before scheduling their flights as the Champions League matches scheduled for Mumbai have been shifted to Bangalore.

Cricket Australia is taking security advice but in the meantime has halted all travel to India where Matthew Hayden, Shane Watson, Michael Hussey were due to represent Indian franchises.

The Victorian and Western Australian teams were due to depart for India on Saturday, and the Victorians are understood to be booked into the Taj Mahal Hotel on Mumbai’s Colaba tourist strip.

The Taj was a primary target in Wednesday’s attacks, and terrorists are currently holding foreign hostages in the hotel. Warne and Rajasthan director of coaching Darren Berry had already begun their journey and were advised to remain in Singapore when news of the attacks broke.

“Warney and I got off the plane (in Singapore) and got on the Wi-Fi straight away and got a call from somebody in Australia saying whatever you do, don’t go to Mumbai,” Berry told The Age from Changi International Airport.

“So we’re in a holding pattern as everyone is. I can’t make any comment because I don’t know anything.”

“All I can say is that Warney and I are safe, we’re in Singapore and we’re contemplating our next move. That is all we can do.”

hussey_australia

Sydney: Following Mumbai’s terror strikes killing more than 100 people, Cricket Australia has reportedly suspended plans for the Victorian and West Australian sides, besides other Test stars, to fly out to India for the Champions League Twenty20 competition beginning December 3.

The Aussies were scheduled to stay at the Taj Mahal Hotel, which was one of the prime targets of the terrorists.

The players, including Matthew Hayden, Michael Hussey, his brother David, Peter Siddle, Cameron White, Shane Warne and Shane Watson were due to arrive in India over the next week for the Champions League, of which some matches are to be played in Mumbai.

Middlesex had already pulled out of the tournament. Its captain Shaun Udal said on Wednesday the English county would not be traveling to Mumbai as planned following the attacks. The team were due to fly to Mumbai on Thursday for the inaugural Twenty20 Champions League, but former England off-spinner Udal was quoted as saying: “All we know is our flight has been cancelled in the morning.”

The Victorian side was due to check into the Taj Hotel, which was stormed by gunmen in the strikes, and members were due to arrive there Friday and Saturday. “We need to review at least some of our travel plans. We were due to fly to Mumbai and stay at the Taj but at this stage we are taking advice from Cricket Australia whose security people are reviewing the situation,” The Australian quoted Victorian spokesman Eivion Bowen as saying.

Cricket Australia said it had placed a temporary halt to the tour. One of spokesman said: “Given the circumstances Cricket Australia has put an immediate hold on any cricket related travel to India. We are in ongoing contact with DFAT, our own security expert in India, the Australian Cricketers Association and our own playing groups and stake holders. In circumstances like these it always takes 12 hours for clear details to emerge and we will continue to monitor the situation for now.”

sachinsehwag

Cuttack: Virender Sehwag lit up the fifth one-dayer with a scintillating 91 as India thumped England by six wickets to stretch their lead to 5-0 at the Barabati Stadium on Wednesday.

Chasing a victory target of 271, openers Sehwag (91) and Sachin Tendulkar (50) made it look like a stroll in the park and raised 136 runs in less that 20 overs before a mini collapse rekindled England’s hopes of securing that elusive win in the series.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (50) and Suresh Raina (53 not out), however, played sensible cricket as the hosts got past the target with 6.2 overs to spare.

Earlier put in to bat, Kevin Pietersen (111 not out) added 89 runs with Paul Collingwood (40) and another 112 for the unconquered fifth wicket with Owais Shah (66 not out) to guide England to a respectable total of 270 for four wickets.

Sehwag was at his swashbuckling best and it was a bad omen for the visitors when the Delhi opener carved three boundaries in a Steve Harmison over.

Tendulkar was not fully quiet either and despite playing a couple of streaky shots early in his innings, the Mumbaikar found boundaries easy to come by.

Desperate to stem the boundary flow, Pietersen took a gamble and introduced spinner Graeme Swann in the Powerplay but with Sehwag was in a murderous mood, and the ploy boomeranged.

Sehwag went berserk in that highly productive over which went 0,1 (wide),4,6,4,4,2 as the batsman cruised to his fifty. Pietersen naturally didn’t delay in taking the battered spinner off the attack.

Tendulkar hit Andrew Flintoff for back-to-back boundaries and a single off Harmison took him to his 90th fifty but the batsman was soon castled by the pacer after his 57-ball knock. Tendulkar’s exit triggered a mini-collapse and from 136 for no loss, India suddenly slumped to 156 for three with in-form Yuvraj Singh (6) and Sehwag also back in the hut.

Ravi Bopara caught Yuvraj off his own bowling and Stuart Broad then trapped Sehwag in front of the stumps although replays suggested the ball was missing leg. Sehwag’s 73-ball 91 was studded with 15 boundaries and a six.

England suddenly seemed to be back in the game but Dhoni and Raina played smart cricket to shut England out.

Dhoni’s 61-ball 50 included five fours, while Raina’s (unbeaten) 53 came at a run a ball with eight hits to the fence.

Earlier, Pietersen led from the front and slammed his first century as ODI captain as England posted a modest 270 for four wickets.

England sent Alastair Cook (11) to open the innings with Ravi Bopara (24) but the opening stand yielded only 33 and it were Pietersen’s crucial partnerships with Collingwood and Shah that powered England past the 250-mark.

Pietersen’s 128-ball 111 was studded with 10 boundaries and a six, while Shah’s unbeaten 66 came off 57 balls with nine fours in it.

For India, Zaheer Khan grabbed two wickets conceding 60 runs in his 10 overs.

Even a change in the opening combination could not do the trick for England and both Cook and Bopara looked tentative as they survived a couple of lbw decisions.

Playing his first match of the series, Cook eventually became Zaheer’s first victim in the sixth over when Sachin Tendulkar took a waist-high catch at first slip. Pietersen joined Bopara in the middle and began to score at a brisk pace. The duo added 35 runs for the second wicket when Zaheer removed Bopara in the 10th over.

Having completed his fifty, Pietersen went after Harbhajan, hitting the off-spinner for a boundary and following it up with a towering six over long-on to complete his 3000 runs in this format of the game.

The duo had raised 89 runs for the third wicket when Collingwood was dismissed by a Harbhajan enticer.

Dhoni’s move of replacing Yuvraj with Ishant paid dividends as the lanky pacer dismissed Andrew Flintoff for a duck to reduce England to 158 for four.

Pietersen was then joined in the middle by in-form Shah and the duo milked the Indian attack with consummate ease.

Having pocketed the seven-ODI series by winning the first four matches on the trot, the Indian think-tank fielded Rohit Sharma and Irfan Pathan for Gautam Gambhir and Munaf Patel.

England too effected two changes leaving out Ian Bell and James Anderson with Cook and Steve Harmison figuring in the playing XI.

Batsman Status Runs Balls 4’s 6’s
Ravi Bopara

c Yuvraj Singh b Zaheer Khan

24

33 3 0
Alastair Cook

c Sachin Tendulkar b Zaheer Khan

11

15 1 0
Kevin Pietersen (C)

not out

111

128 10 1
Paul Collingwood

c Zaheer Khan b Harbhajan Singh

40

64 4 0
Andrew Flintoff

c Sachin Tendulkar b Ishant Sharma

0

3 0 0
Owais Shah

not out

66

57 9 0
Matt Prior (W)
Samit Patel
Stuart Broad
Graeme Swann
Stephen Harmison
Total: 270 for 4 in 50.0 overs Run Rate: 5.4 Extras : 18 (b – 0, w – 4, nb – 0, lb – 14, Penalty – 0)
Fall of wickets:1/33 (Alastair Cook 5.5 ov.), 2/68 (Ravi Bopara 9.5 ov.), 3/157 (Paul Collingwood 30 ov.), 4/158 (Andrew Flintoff 30.4 ov.)
Partnership:33 (35) – (R Bopara 10 (20) , A Cook 11 (15) ), 35 (24) – (R Bopara 14 (13) , K Pietersen 21 (11) ), 89 (121) – (P Collingwood 40 (64) , K Pietersen 44 (57) ), 1 (4) – (A Flintoff 0 (3) , K Pietersen 1 (1) ), 111 (115) – (O Shah 65 (56) , K Pietersen 45 (59) )
Bowlers Overs Maidens Runs Wickets Wides Noballs

Irfan Pathan

10 1 57 0 0 0

Zaheer Khan

10 1 60 2 3 0

Ishant Sharma

10 0 54 1 0 0

Harbhajan Singh

10 0 47 1 1 0

Yuvraj Singh

10 0 38 0 0 0
India Innings
Batsman Status Runs Balls 4’s 6’s
Virender Sehwag

lbw b Stuart Broad

91

73 15 1
Sachin Tendulkar

b Stephen Harmison

50

57 6 0
Yuvraj Singh

c & b Ravi Bopara

6

9 0 0
MS Dhoni

lbw b Graeme Swann

50

61 5 0
Suresh Raina

not out

53

53 8 0
Rohit Sharma

not out

8

10 1 0
Yusuf Pathan

Irfan Pathan

Harbhajan Singh

Zaheer Khan

Ishant Sharma

Total: 273 for 4 in 43.4 overs Run Rate: 6.25 Extras : 15 (b – 0, w – 8, nb – 2, lb – 5, Penalty – 0)
Fall of wickets:1/136 (Sachin Tendulkar 19.5 ov.), 2/156 (Yuvraj Singh 23 ov.), 3/156 (Virender Sehwag 23.1 ov.), 4/250 (MS Dhoni 41 ov.)
Partnership:136 (119) – (V Sehwag 78 (62) , S Tendulkar 50 (57) ), 20 (19) – (V Sehwag 13 (10) , Y Singh 6 (9) ), 0 (2) – (V Sehwag 0 (1) , MS Dhoni 0 (1) ), 94 (107) – (S Raina 43 (46) , MS Dhoni 50 (61) ), 23 (16) – (S Raina 10 (6) , R Sharma 8 (10) )
Bowlers Overs Maidens Runs Wickets Wides Noballs

Stephen Harmison

10 1 50 1 2 0

Stuart Broad

8.4 0 54 1 2 0

Andrew Flintoff

9 0 43 0 0 0

Samit Patel

3 0 23 0 1 0

Graeme Swann

7 0 56 1 2 0

Ravi Bopara

6 1 42 1 1 1