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Can We Get These Players Back For The Australia Tour?

Can We Get These Players Back For The Australia Tour?

India has got off to an abysmal start to their tour of Australia. The men in blue were comprehensively routed by the hosts in the first two one-day internationals. With one last ODI, three T20Is and four tests yet to come, a long tour lies ahead. India will have to buck up considerably if they want to fly back home with their heads held high.

In this context, we decided to indulge in some wishful thinking. Here’s a look at players from the days gone by that created a stir on Aussie shores with their tremendous performances. What if these guys could rewind the clock and be added as reinforcements to the Indian squad on the present tour?

Mohinder Amarnath

A gutsy batsman with a penchant for hooking the short ball, Amarnath stood tall against fast and hostile bowling in Australia throughout his career. His record down under speaks for itself – two hundreds and three fifties in 13 test innings.

Sunil Gavaskar

India’s greatest ever opening batsman, Sunny G plundered runs in all parts of the world and Australia was no exception. He boasts of an astounding five centuries in just 11 tests.

Kapil Dev

The legendary all-rounder tops India’s wicket charts in Australia in tests as well as ODIs. With five 5-wicket hauls in test matches, a bowling average of under 22 in one-dayers coupled with contributions with the bat, he’d walk into the XI even today.

Ravi Shastri

He doesn’t even need to take a flight to Australia, he’s already there! The Indian coach is best remembered for his all-round brilliance in the Benson & Hedges World Championship of Cricket held down under in 1985, in which he won player of the tournament. He bears an impressive test record too, having scored a marathon double century at Sydney in 1992.

Sachin Tendulkar

This is an obvious pick. Tendulkar’s love affair with Australia began as an 18-year-old in 1992, when he notched up hundreds in Sydney and Perth. Thereafter he piled on the runs and centuries every time he went back. Tendulkar tops practically every batting chart in cricketing history, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that he is the highest run-scorer for India in Australia across formats.

Anil Kumble

Kumble doesn’t have the most flattering record in Australia, but stats don’t quite tell the full story. Those who watched his lion-hearted performances in India’s tour of 2003-04 will vouch for it. In conditions not exactly deemed conducive to spin bowling, the leggie finished as the series’ highest wicket-taker across both teams. This included a mammoth 12-wicket haul in the test at Sydney.

VVS Laxman

Australia’s tormentor-in-chief for a long time, the gentle Laxman turned into a man possessed while facing the Aussies. From his maiden test ton at Sydney in 1999 to big hundreds in 2003-04 and 2007-08, Australia brought the best out of Laxman. He didn’t have the greatest ODI career, but three out of his six ODI hundreds came down under in 2003-04.

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By Neel Gudka
2 Diego Maradona Documentaries Every Fan Must Watch

2 Diego Maradona Documentaries Every Fan Must Watch

One of the greatest footballers to have ever graced the game, Diego Maradona, passed away earlier this week. The Argentinian, who celebrated his 60th birthday last month, succumbed to heart failure. Maradona's tryst with professional football in 1976 when he was just short of 16 years old. He went on to have a glorious career spanning 21 years, before finally hanging up his boots in 1997. In his prime Maradona was a cult figure not just in Argentina, but for football fans across the globe. While we mourn his death, here are two documentaries with which we can relive and celebrate the man's genius.

'Diego Maradona'

Constructed from over 500 hours of never-seen-before footage, this is a British documentary film directed by filmmaker Asif Kapadia. The film documents and centers around the time Maradona transferred from FC Barcelona to S.S.C. Napoli in 1984, and eventually went on to win the Serie A and the 1988–89 UEFA Cup with the Italian club. Director: Asif Kapadia Cast: Diego Maradona, Claudia Villafane, Pele, Ciro Ferrara If you're in Delhi, you can catch a show of Diego Maradona at a theatre near you.

'Maradona In Mexico'

This seven-part documentary series on Netflix is set in 2018-19 and revolves around Diego Maradona taking over as the coach of Mexico’s second division club Dorados de Sinaloa in Culiacán. The Dorados are lurking at the bottom of the rankings with little expectations from anyone. Can the legend from Argentina spin his magic and turn their fortunes around? Director: Angus MacQueen Cast: Diego Maradona, Vanessa Nicole Hill, Jarrod Pistilli, Gilli Messer Streaming on: Netflix My Safety First Follow BookMyShow Buzz on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
By Neel Gudka
India Mourns The Death Of Diego Maradona

India Mourns The Death Of Diego Maradona

The world lost a football icon yesterday, when Argentinian legend Diego Maradona breathed his last. The 60-year-old, who had recently undergone surgery to remove a blood clot from his brain, succumbed to heart failure. Widely regarded as one of the greatest players to have graced the game, he enjoyed a glittering career spanning 21 years from 1976 to 1997, though not bereft of controversies. In his prime Maradona was a cult figure not just for Argentinians, but for football fans across the planet. As news of his death became public, tributes started pouring in from all parts of the world. Here's how Indian celebs reacted on Twitter. My Safety First Follow BookMyShow Buzz on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
By Neel Gudka
The Chequered Life Of Diego Maradona

The Chequered Life Of Diego Maradona

Life in Argentina briefly came to a halt yesterday, when arguably their greatest football icon breathed his last. Before the likes of Lionel Messi came along, Diego Maradona was the boyhood hero to an entire generation of Argentinians as well as football fans across the globe. Maradona, who celebrated his 60th birthday just last month, succumbed to heart failure. He had recently undergone surgery to remove a blood clot from his brain.

A glittering career

Maradona enjoyed an enviable professional career spanning 21 years from 1976 to 1997. Born in Buenos Aires, he had taken to football at the tender age of 3, and became the youngest player to feature in the Argentine Primera Division when he walked out for the Argentinos Juniors ten days short of his 16th birthday. In 1982, Maradona moved to Barcelona for a then record fee of $7.6 million. After two seasons in Spain he transferred to the Italian club Napoli, once again making the record books with a transfer fee of $10.48 million. For the Argentinian national team Maradona scored 34 goals in 91 appearances, and featured in four world cups from 1982 to 1994. His crowning moment came in 1986, when he captained his team to world cup glory and took home the Golden Ball. He retired from professional football in 1997, drawing curtains to a glorious career that saw 258 goals. Diego Maradona

Controversy's child

Diego Maradona's brilliance on the football field was often marred by his inexcusable behaviour both on and off it. Many are of the opinion that he squandered much of his talent bingeing on drugs, alcohol and food. His cocaine addiction and related problems brought him fines and bans through his career, the most disgraceful of which came in 1994 when he was ejected from the world cup after failing a drug test. Of course, one can hardly talk about Maradona without mentioning the infamous 1986 world cup quarterfinal. Replays suggested that his first goal of the match had been punched into the net by his left fist, something the referee had evidently failed to notice. When confronted he evaded the issue, perplexingly describing the goal as "a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God". In 2005, he finally admitted on a television show that the goal had indeed been illegitimate. It is rather unfortunate that the 'hand of God' goal is more famous than the one he scored just four minutes later, which is regarded by many as one of the greatest goals ever. Diego Maradona may not have been the most ideal role model for budding footballers, but few can deny his breathtaking brilliance when the ball was at his feet. The world sat up and noticed whenever Maradona took the football field, for he could weave magic that very few other mortals could. His legacy and contribution to football shall never be forgotten. My Safety First Follow BookMyShow Buzz on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
By Neel Gudka
The Men In Blue Return To Action After 9 Months

The Men In Blue Return To Action After 9 Months

The year hasn't been normal by any measure. As the coronavirus pandemic swept across the earth and disrupted our lives, it also put a halt to international cricket. While some nations have gradually resumed action over the last few months, Indian fans have been deprived of seeing their beloved men in blue on the cricket field. India's last international game was a test against New Zealand at Christchurch from February 29 to March 2, after which the team returned home to host South Africa for an ODI series. The first ODI at Dharamsala was washed out by rain, and thereafter the series was abandoned following the virus' spread in the country. The recently-concluded IPL 2020, held in the UAE, gave us a glimpse of our favourite players in action, but fans have been longing to see them don the India jersey again. The wait finally ends tomorrow, as India's much talked-about tour of Australia finally gets underway. The tour comprises three ODI games, three T20Is and four test matches. The test series in particular is much-anticipated. India beat Australia on their shores the last time around, and will look to defend the Border-Gavaskar trophy. Ahead of the first ODI at Sydney tomorrow, we look at some of the talking points around the tour.

Rohit's absence in the white-ball games

There's been an air of mystery surrounding the selection of India's white ball vice-captain for the tour. Rohit Sharma sustained an injury during the IPL and missed a few games for the Mumbai Indians, prompting the selectors to omit him from all three squads. However he returned for the final leg of the IPL, making one wonder why he hadn't been picked for the Australia tour. The selectors eventually added him to the test squad. But if recent reports are to be believed, he is still far from being fully fit and is likely to miss the first two tests. It is, however in the ODI and T20 series that India will miss Rohit's presence the most. The opening batsman has been one of the most prolific run-scorers in limited overs cricket in recent years and has been integral to India's success. KL Rahul, who enjoyed a great run in the IPL, is most likely to open the batting with Shikhar Dhawan in Rohit's absence. However India also have Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill in the ODI squad.

Kohli's paternity leave

Skipper Virat Kohli will play the ODI and T20I series and the first test at Adelaide, before returning home for the birth of his child. While his wish to be with wife Anushka Sharma at such a time is completely understandable, India will miss their best batsman in their bid to hold on to the Border-Gavaskar trophy. The onus will be on Cheteshwar Pujara, the architect of the previous test series win in Australia, and stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane to navigate India's batting.

Going retro

India have decided to go back in time for the limited overs leg of the tour. They will sport a retro navy blue jersey that was worn by the Indian team during the 1992 world cup. Incidentally the 1992 world cup was held in Australia and New Zealand, so it is fitting that India have decided to revisit the jersey on a tour down under.
The jersey, while matching in colour with the 1992 edition, is crowded with sponsor logos. Kiran More, India's wicketkeeper in the 1992 world cup, gave us a glimpse of the original jersey.

New faces

Left-arm pacer T Natarajan was rewarded for his wonderful showing in the IPL with a spot in the T20 squad. Natarajan caught everyone's attentions with his pinpoint yorkers in the death overs for the Sunrisers Hyderabad. The prospect of seeing Jasprit Bumrah and Natarajan bowling together is a mouth-watering one. Meanwhile, the new entrants in the test squad are pacer Mohammed Siraj and batsman Shubman Gill. Siraj has been a consistent performer in domestic red ball cricket since 2015, averaging an impressive 23 with the ball. The 21-year-old Gill, on the other hand, is widely considered to be the next big thing in Indian cricket, and it was only a matter of time before he broke into the test squad.

Siraj's selfless act

Mohammed Siraj was bereaved when his father passed away on November 20. Siraj was in Australia training with the team when his father breathed his last. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) gave him the option of flying back to be with his family, but Siraj chose to stay with the Indian team.

Battle of the pacers

Both India and Australia boast of the two best pace attacks in world cricket today. While Australia has Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, India boast of Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah. It'll be interesting to see which trio prevails over the other in the test series. The first ODI kicks off tomorrow at 9.10am IST tomorrow. Indian fans can catch live action on Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 3, and can also live stream the game on SonyLIV. My Safety First Follow BookMyShow Buzz on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
By Neel Gudka
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