Thursday, November 27, 2008

England cancels India tour

England has canceled its cricket tour of India in the wake of terror attacks that have killed at least 101 people in Mumbai.

While the English squad remained in Cuttack, where it lost Wednesday night to go 5-0 down in a seven match limited-overs series, England and Wales Cricket Board officials met Thursday morning with the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

The Indian news agency reported that the tour, which still had two limited-overs internationals and two test matches remaining on the itinerary _, had been canceled.

A high-ranking BCCI official, who asked not to be identified because he is not authorized to comment to the media, told the media that the tour had been canceled and a formal statement would be released later Thursday.

The Champions League Twenty20 tournament, due to start next Wednesday in Mumbai, could also be scrapped. Officials were not available to comment, but Australian and English provincial clubs had already postponed leaving for India.

India cancels T20 Champions League after attacks in Mumbai

The inaugural six-million dollar Twenty20 Champions League has been called off because of the deadly attacks in Mumbai, organisers said on Thursday.

The tournament, featuring the top eight Twenty20 domestic teams from Australia, South Africa, India, England and Pakistan, was due to be held from December 3-10 in Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore.

"We held consultations among all the stakeholders including the founding members, the participating teams and members of the Governing Council after the unfortunate terrorist attacks in Mumbai on Wednesday night,"
League chairman Lalit Modi said in a statement.

"It was agreed that in the best interests of all concerned, the inaugural edition of the Champions League should be postponed."

"We very strongly condemn this dastardly and heinous criminal act of a few which has resulted in the loss of precious lives and injury to hundreds.

"We offer our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and we are with them in their hour of grief."

Modi did not say when the tournament will be played.

The teams taking part were Victoria and Western Australia (Australia), Dolphins and Titans (South Africa), Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals (India), Middlesex (England) and Sialkot Stallions (Pakistan).

The touring England team had earlier on Thursday cancelled the last two One-day Internationals of their seven-game series against India and were in talks with Indian officials over next month's two Test matches.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

India's Laxman vows 'special' 100th Test

Indian batsman Venkatsai Laxman on Wednesday said he was hoping for a "special" performance in his 100th Test against Australia, the team he has smashed more centuries past than any other.

Laxman has scored six of his 13 hundreds against Australia, including two double-centuries, and is only the second Indian after Sachin Tendulkar to have made more than 2,000 runs against them.

"I have always enjoyed playing against them (Australia),"
said Laxman, who on Thursday will become the eighth Indian to play 100 Tests.

"It gives you a lot of satisfaction to do well against the top side in the world. They have always been been number one since I started playing international cricket.

"It's been an amazing journey. It's a great moment for me and for all the people associated in this journey of mine. I hope I can make it special."

Laxman's liking for the Australian bowling began in 2000 when he hammered a robust 167 in Sydney for his maiden Test hundred.

His best came the following year at Kolkata when he hit 281 under pressure to turn the second Test against Steve Waugh's Australia upside down, eventually setting up India's win after the follow-on.

He looks at his fluent best against Australia, having been involved in four massive partnerships against them.

The middle-order batsman put on 376 with Rahul Dravid in 2001 (Kolkata), 353 with Tendulkar in 2004 (Sydney), 303 with Dravid in 2003 (Adelaide) and 278 with Gautam Gambhir last month in Delhi.

Laxman, 34, is a spectators' delight when on song, with timing being his hallmark. His wristy shots and impressive footwork have often reduced the opposition to a state of helplessness.

Yet, he has never felt as secure as his renowned middle-order teammates -- Tendulkar, Dravid and Sourav Ganguly -- since making his Test debut in 1996 against South Africa at home.

He was often criticised for not converting solid starts into big innings in the early stages of his career, taking three years to score his first Test century.

Laxman was also pushed up and down the batting order in the initial years, his first hundred coming as an opener.

He was upset when the media reported after a Test series defeat in Sri Lanka in August that it was time for veterans, including Anil Kumble, Dravid, Tendulkar and Ganguly, to make their retirement plans.

"It hurts when people criticise,"
Laxman said after scoring a double-century in the third Test in Delhi last week.

"Don't over-respect us, but we don't want people downgrading our contributions for so many years. Everyone keeps advising us to retire, but each of us is mature and responsible enough to make his own decision."

Kumble retired after the last Test while Ganguly has already announced he will quit after Thursday's match.

The hosts lead 1-0 in the four-Test series following their 320-run win in the second match in Mohali. The Tests in Bangalore and Delhi were drawn.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Kumble retires from Test cricket

The third Test between India and Australia ended in a tame draw here on Sunday but not before the host captain Anil Kumble announced his retirement from Test cricket.

The Indians declared their second innings on 208-5 to set the tourists an improbable target of 245 from 23 overs.

The visitors, who made 577 all out in their first innings, were 31-0 when the teams decided to call off play with 15 overs still remaining in the day.

Openers Matthew Hayden (16) and Simon Katich (14) were at the crease when stumps were drawn.
The Border-Gavaskar series, which India lead 1-0 after winning the second game in Mohali, heads to Nagpur for the fourth and final match from November 6-10. The opener in Bangalore ended in a draw.
With the action on the field being only of academic interest, Kumble, 38, announced he was quitting the Test game with immediate effect. He had already given up one-day cricket.

The leg-spinner, who bowled with 11 stitches in his finger in Australia's first innings, said he made the decision because he knew he would not be fully fit for the Nagpur game.

"The injury helped me take this decision,"
he said after the match.

"I wanted to quit after the series. But after the injury here, I knew I would not be 100 percent fit for Nagpur and I did not want to let my team down.

"Ideally I would have liked to end with a win here but I am confident of sealing the series in Nagpur,"
said Kumble, who was given a lap of honour by his teammates at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground.

Kumble did get a chance to bowl one final time following his surprise announcement half an hour after tea.

But he could not add to his 619 Test wickets and his last ball in 132 Tests was a full toss that was driven straight down the ground for four by Hayden.

The day had draw written on it after Australia failed to spark the collapse that they had hoped for.
They picked up two wickets in the first session and one in the third but India's talented middle order, led by Venkatsai Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar, batted cautiously on a pitch that remained good for batting on all five days.

Resuming at their overnight score of 43-2, the hosts lost an out-of-sorts Rahul Dravid (11) early when he dragged a Brett Lee in-swinger onto his stumps for his second failure in the match.

Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir (36) put 40 runs on for the third wicket before the opener was unlucky to be adjudged leg-before off paceman Mitchell Johnson as TV replays showed the ball would have missed leg stump.

Laxman welcomed Johnson, celebrating his 27th birthday, with a boundary, prompting the bowler to hurl a few angry words at him.

The right-hander also hit a classic straight drive off White besides a cover driven boundary off Clarke and was named man of the match, remaining not out on 59.