Monthly Archives: July 2011

Willow Talk: Dr V. V. Giri Reflects on the first England-India Test Match

We continue our series of reflections from distinguished cricketer and coach Dr V. V. Giri, this time bringing our readers his thoughts on the first Test Match between England and India, a Test match of huge interest to many of our families, in a series between two of the best teams in Test cricket today. MCA would also like to publish the comments and reactions of its members, both to the series and to Dr Giri’s learned remarks. Please send MCA your own thoughts on the series.

OH MY ‘LORDS’

With nine wickets in hand on the Day 5 of a Test, you expect the ‘No. 1’ either to win it or draw it.

“The spirit was willing but the flesh was weak”. Perhaps it sounds biblical, but there can’t be a better way to summarize India’s state during those five days at Lord’s which comprised the 2000th Test in the history of cricket, and which India lost. England outplayed India in all departments and are true winners.

The fact is that India fought not one but many adversaries in their 100th Test against their colonial cousins. And the adversaries came in all sizes – ranging from towering England bowlers to a microscopic virus. But before those two hit Team India, one of the most senior hamstrings decided to pull up and render India’s bowling impotent.

But these are things you can’t anticipate. What you can do is prepare intently for a series as important as this one. That’s where probably Team India came second in the contest at Lord’s.

The Indian players came to England from all directions. Barring those who played on the whole West Indies tour, the others returned carrying bandages in case their IPL-caused injuries flared up. This meant that the England unit was better prepared in terms of coordination, which comes with playing together consistently.

Consider this. Had the likes of Zaheer Khan, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar skipped the IPL, they would have toured the Caribbean and hence India would have been better prepared as a team to face a tough English side. England certainly looked in the swing of things and it showed.

With every passing day, Harbhajan Singh is making it hard to not believe that he has lost his teeth after Anil Kumble’s retirement. Once Zaheer got injured in the first 50 overs of the Test, India had no one to lead the attack, even with a 400-plus wicket-taker on the field. So for how long will India field Bhajji on reputation, and allow a more menacing R Ashwin to gather rust back home? Bhajji was the biggest culprit in this Test.

The same can also be said about Indian skipper MS Dhoni. True that he is currently irreplaceable as a captain, but Dhoni seems to be refusing to admit that playing strokes, not blocking, is his forte. In both innings at Lord’s, Dhoni gave a bit too much respect to the overhead conditions, a fact that comes to light when it is revealed that he faced 103 balls for his 28 runs in the first innings.

In the second innings as well, when Suresh Raina showed that mixing caution with aggression was working, Dhoni acted like a stubborn child refusing to pay heed.

The Indian bowling was on one leg throughout the Test, owing to Zaheer’s hamstring. Opting to bowl in overcast conditions, Dhoni was left with no option but to hand over his gloves to Rahul Dravid and fill in for Zaheer. That allowed Kevin Pietersen to get set and score a double century that put England in command. The number 1 team is depending on just one bowler – it is atrocious.

What followed was even worse. Sachin went down with a viral infection and didn’t field for most part of England’s second innings, which meant he couldn’t bat at his customary No. 4 position. More than that, it was a less than 100 per cent Tendulkar that cost India dear. (Strangely, but sadly, no one expected Sachin to score in the fourth innings and save India!)

Gambhir became the third victim when a Matt Prior sweep hit him flush on the elbow. Though it turned out to be only a bruise, he couldn’t open India’s second innings, forcing the “the one and only perfect team man” – Dravid out of his prolific No. 3 slot to accompany Abhinav Mukund. It also required VVS Laxman to bat at No.3.

India never recovered from this mess, which was evident in their second innings that folded for 261, allowing England to go 1-0 up in the four-Test series.

On the fifth day, victory was highly unlikely, but it didn’t mean that free-flowing batsmen like Dhoni, Gambhir and Tendulkar had to play like Geoffrey Boycott or Chris Tavare. Tendulkar has done this time and again – going in to his shell unnecessarily. Only he and God know the reasons. Laxman (56) and Raina (78) put up a fight, staying at the crease by playing their strokes, but none of the other Indian batters took the cue, and instead buckled under pressure.

Yes, it’s difficult to play with eight fit men but then India is not No. 1 for nothing. For your kind information, these three players were unfit even before the tour. With nine wickets in hand on the final day of a Test, you expect the No. 1 to either win it or draw it, but certainly not lose it.

A meek surrender!!

Dr. V.V.Giri

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Caterpillar Win US Corporate Cup Again; MCA Players Participate in Tournament

On Sunday at Bloomer Park Peioria’s Caterpillar defeated Ford comfortably to win the U. S. Corporate Cricket Cup for the second year in a row. The semi-finals saw Caterpillar defeat Chrysler by a big margin at Lyon Oaks and Ford overwhelm GM at Bloomer Park. Caterpillar’s Ram Velamakanni was tournament MVP and Best Batsman. Best Bowler was Ford’s Ganesh; Best Fielder – Rohan Wanchoo from Chrysler; and Best Wicketkeeper – Mayank Singh from Caterpillar.

This year’s tournament was the biggest ever, with eleven teams competing.

MCA regulars Anurag Yerabati (Infosys), and Ani Mayasandra and Gordon Makin (G.E.), as well as Kishan Patel (Infosys) played in the tournament – the first time that youth players have been invited to participate, while Taimoor Ahmed played for Caterpillar. On Saturday, in pool mataches, Anurag scored 15 and took two wickets in the Infosys victory against BCBS, while Gordon kept for both of G.E.’s matches (defeats to Caterpillar and G.M.), taking the only catch that stuck for G.E. in the match against the future champions, a match that would have been tighter than the eventual 80-run victory margin, had more of the chances given by Caterpillar stuck.

A large crowd attended the final on Sunday, in which Caterpillar’s deep batting, good slow bowling, and crisp fielding saw the Illinois team retain the championship. Tournament Chairman Pankaj Mahajan promised an even bigger and better tournament next year, with the possibility of a  two-weekend tournament with a qualification round on the first weekend offering more places and more excitement.

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MCA and Motown News, Schedule for 26-29 July

There will be a specialized practice session with one-on-one coaching from Dr V. V. Giri today, Tuesday, 26 July, beginning at 4.30 pm, at Lyon Oaks.

Motown-MCA practice will take place from 6 pm on Thursday, 28 July, at Lyon Oaks.

The Junior Instructional League will take place from 6 pm on Friday, 29 July, at Lyon Oaks.

In the MichCA 40-overs league two weeks ago, Motown-MCA defeated Oakland University, defending a modest total with the help of excellent bowling by the MCA players, including man-of-the-match Pawan Canchi, who took four wickets.

The next scheduled fixture for Motown-MCA is on Saturday, 6 August, away against Toledo C. C.  The postponed fixture with Lions C. C. has yet to be rescheduled.


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MCA and Motown News, Schedule for 21-22 July

Motown-MCA practice will take place from 6 pm on Thursday, 21 July, at Lyon Oaks.

The Junior Instructional League will take place from 6 pm on Friday, 22 July, at Lyon Oaks.

Note that there are no league matches this weekend because of the US Corporate Cricket Cup

Note, too, that there will be public lecture, introducing cricket to a general audience, at the Canton Public Library (1200 S. Canton Center Rd.), at 7 pm on Thursday, 21 July. Support at the event for the MCA officer giving the lecture would be most welcome.

In the MichCA 40-overs league last Saturday, Motown-MCA defeated Oakland University, defending a modest total with the help of excellent bowling by the MCA players, including Pawan Canchi, who took four wickets. Details will be posted to the web site soon.

Finally, five Michigan players, most of them MCA regulars, and two of them Motown regulars, represented Central East Region in the recently concluded National Inter-regional U-15 Tournament. Match reports can be found at the following links:

Rohit Mogalayapalli Carries his Bat for 117 as CER defeat Directors’ XI by 198 Runs

Déja vu All Over Again for CER vs New York

Central East Lose to Hosts; CER Opener Carries his Bat

CER Finish Sixth after Loss to South East

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US Corporate Cup This Weekend

Pankaj Mahajan, Vice Chairman of the Michigan Cricket Association, and Director of the U.S. Corporate Cricket Cup and the National Collegiate Cricket Cup, has announced the schedule for the former, to be played over the weekend of 23-24 July:

“MichCA is proud to announce that following 11 Corporate Teams are participating in 2011 USCCC:

1. Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS)

2. Caterpillar (CAT)

3. Chrysler Group (CHRY)

4. Ford Motor Company (FORD)

5. General Electric (GE)

6. General Motors (GM)

7. Henry Ford Health System(HFHS)

8. Infosys (INFY)

9. Mercedes Benz (MERC)

10. NYX Inc (NYX)

11. Tata (TATA)

Based on our traditional ranking method and pooling process, all teams have been pooled in three groups as follows:

Group-A: CHRY, BCBS, INFY

Group-B: FORD, MERC, NYX, TATA

Group-C: CAT, GM, HFHS, GE

Please note that the last year’s ranking was: CHRY, FORD, CAT, MERC, GM, NYX, ALTAIR*, HFHS & BCBS. Final Pooling (as described above) has been approved by MichCA GB. ALTAIR unfortunately is not participating this year.

The SCHEDULE is as follows:

FIRST ROUND (Quaifying) GAMES on Saturday

GROUP-A in Bloomer Park, Rochester Hills

08:30am – 11:30am CHRY vs BCBS

12:00pm – 03:00pm INFY vs BCBS

03:30pm – 06:30pm CHRY vs INFY

GROUP-B in Lyon Oaks Park, Wixom

9:30am Start FORD vs TATA

2:00pm Start FORD vs NYX

GROUP-B in Hartland Ground, Hartland

9:30am Start MERC vs NYX

2:00pm Start MERC vs TATA

GROUP-C in Belle Isle-1 Ground, Detroit

9:30am Start CAT vs GE

2:00pm Start CAT vs HFHS

GROUP-C in Heritage Park, Canton

9:30am Start GM vs HFHS

2:00pm Start GM vs GE

The top team from every group will go to the Semi-Finals. The fourth best team overall will be the fourth Semi-Finalist. The Semi-Finalist Teams will be ranked D1, D2, D3 and D4 on the basis of NRR if the number of games won be all four teams are same. If the number of games won by 4 Semi Finalists is not same then the ranking will be done as per # of WINS and then NRR.

SEMI-FINAL GAMES on Sunday

SF-1: Bloomer Park

9:30am Start D1 vs D4 (Winner called “X”)

SF-2: Lyon Oaks Park

9:30am Start D2 vs D3 (Winner called “Y”)

FINAL GAME on Sunday

Bloomer Park

2:30pm Start X vs Y

The Awards Ceremony will start at 7pm.

Very soon, this schedule will also be available on:

Our Website: http://www.michca.org

Our Facebook Account: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/profile.php?id=1428581111&sk=wall

Visit our Website to get all information related to USCCC.

Connect with us on Facebook to know the latest about USCCC.

During the tournament, Scores/stats of to all games will be frequently posted on our Facebook account.

We welcome three new teams- General Electric, Infosys & Tata to this year’s Corporate Cup. We wish ALL corporate teams best of luck ! May the best team win and bag the bragging rights for one year to be 2011 USCCC Champions !!”

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CER Lose to South East, Finish Sixth in USACA U15 Tournament

A tournament that began so brightly for CER ended in disappointment, as the Midwesterners lost the fifth-place 30-overs match by six wickets to South East at Riverside Park, Hartford, CT, on Monday. After being put in, CER posted a mere 47, but fought hard to defend their small total, taking four wickets and unnerving the Southerners. However, CER chose the wrong match to put down chances – at least three relatively easy chances went down – and what seemed a clear stumping to neutrals on the boundary was also denied them, so there was no miracle finish to the tournament for them, although a surprise victory remained a possibility for much of the South East innings. Thus the Michigan contingent on the team were able to leave Connecticut for the long drive home  far earlier than they had planned (or would have liked), while the Illinois players were left clicking their heels at the first-place match (won, in a repeat of last year’s final, by North West, who punctured New York’s run chase, despite a ton by the latter’s captain, Randall Wilson), before flying to Chicago.

The story of CER’s innings was simple and was what had been dreaded by the team’s support staff from the moment the team was announced: failure by both openers. Captain Rohit Mogalayapalli was run out for 8, after hesitating over what looked like a good single, and then Gordon Makin, apparently having lost concentration after the run out, flicked hesitantly at a ball he should have pulled for four and was out for seven, caught at leg gully. When Makin fell the celebrations among the South East players, staff, and fans told the whole story: the two key men were gone cheaply within seven overs. Sadly, the remaining nine batsmen scored six fewer runs in aggregate than CER’s bitterly disappointed openers, to reinforce the pattern of previous matches: over the entire tournament, Makin and Mogalayapalli scored a total of 307 runs (159 for Rohit, 148 for Gordon), while the rest of the team totaled 58 in four matches. In Monday’s match, the most resolute partnership after Rohit and Gordon departed was probably between Ryan Quinlan and Neil Makin, who fought hard until the former was beaten by a ball that kept low and the latter was bowled off his foot, but even that partnership produced just one run off the bat. Arsalan Babar, batting at no 10, added a second four to Rohit’s early boundary before falling lbw for six, and Reeshav Patel was 1 not out at the end.

However, it says much for the spirit of the team that they took the field with confidence and determination, feeling that a target of 49 was not as simple as it seemed. Nauman Khan, who was to take two wickets, opened the bowling, and his leg spin immediately troubled the openers, one of whom, caught between attack and retreat, fell lbw in the first over, while Imram Babar opened at the other end and bowled his best spell of the tournament. Unfortunately, a catch went down behind almost immediately, and relatively easy chances at short midwicket and at point were also grassed, while a very strong appeal for a stumping was denied.  With Arsalan Babar’s leg spin also effective, there was at least some optimism among CER’s staff and supporters until South East were within single figures of the target . When the captain came on his adrenaline was clear from two big, high no balls, but one of them was taken far down the leg side by a diving keeper and thrown back to the bowler for a spectacular run-out. South East wobbled, but CER could not rattle the batsmen quite enough, and a calm Sagar Patel, top-scoring with 9 not out, guided his men home. As in every other match, CER’s extras also helped the opposition.

CER were seeded sixth (despite finishing third last year) and finished in sixth place. A stronger batting line up would have taken some of the pressure off the openers, while a more experienced team might have been able to defend even a very low total in the fifth-place match. However, CER’s coach and manager told his charges at the end of the match that he was proud of them for their fight and commitment, and was confident that next year’s team, which will lose only three players to age limits, would come back strongly.

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CER U-15s Go Down to Hosts North East

On Sunday at the USACA Inter-regional U-15 Tournament, Central East Region lost to hosts North East by 79 runs, despite an unbeaten 58 by opener Gordon Makin.

At Riverside Park, Hartford, CER won the toss and put the hosts in, but the powerful hitting of opener and keeper Jason Gobin (71) propelled North East to 198/7 in 40 overs.  Leg spinners Nauman Khan (2/19) and Arsalan Babar (3/33) were again the pick of the bowlers for CER, but 40 wides cost the Midwesterners dear.  In the field, Nauman Khan was outstanding.  As ever, when CER batted, much depended on CER’s openers, Makin and captain Rohit Mogalayapalli, who had earlier taken a superb diving catch in the covers to dismiss Gobin — the best moment in another fine fielding display by CER.  When Rohit, calling Gordon through for a quick single with the score on 25 in the ninth over,  was narrowly run out for 2 by a direct hit, there was no doubt that CER had a mountain to climb.  Nauman Khan (9) and Priyank Patel (10*) provided support, but, as the pitch slowed, runs became hard to get, and Gordon knew he had to stay in to give CER even a glimmer of hope.  In the twelfth over hpulled two consecutive chest-high no balls for four, to add to his two early fours, and to raise the Midwesterners’ spirits, but North East’s bowling was parsimonious, and Gordon was left to carry his bat in a losing cause.  The CER coach praised his players’ application, and noted that they lost fewer wickets to North East than highly fancied New York in the the favorites’ opening day victory.

Tomorrow CER will play South East for fifth place at Riverside Park.

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DreamCricket’s Peter Della Penna Reports on Day Two of the USACA U15 Tournament

Peter Della Penna’s report on the second day of the tournament notes the efforts of the CER team.

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DreamCricket’s Peter Della Penna Reports on Day One of the USACA U15 Tournament

Peter Della Penna’s report on the first day of the tournament notes the achievements of the CER team.

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Déjà vu all over again for CER vs New York

For the second year in a row CER lost by ten wickets to New York in the USACA U-15 Inter-regional tournament, after openers Gordon Makin (24) and Rohit Mogalayapalli (37) had given the Midwesterners a good start at Keney Park, Hartford, CT, today, just as they did last year in New Jersey. Bowled out for 120, CER were then unable to dislodge the New York openers, with Randal Wilson scoring a half-century – a near perfect repeat of last year’s match.

After Friday’s big victory the young CER squad came down to earth with a bump at the USACA Inter-regional U15 Tournament on Saturday. At the impressive Keney Park 1 ground in Hartford, New York, led by Randal Wilson, won the toss and put the Midwesterners in. Openers Gordon Makin and Rohit Mogalayapalli faced some loose bowling early (Gordon pulled the second ball he faced for four), but then New York tightened up, and the two openers, knowing how much depended on them, batted cautiously, taking their partnership past 50 only in the sixteenth over. On the boundary there was satisfaction that they had followed instructions and stayed at the crease, with Gordon keeping the ball on the ground and Rohit chancing his arm a little more. Better New York fielding would have seen an early wicket, but when one came the batsman blamed the matting wicket, as Gordon fell lbw in the seventeenth over to a ball from Chetram Persaud he said cut back in sharply off a bad spot. Rohit batted on until the 26th over, supported by Rahul Kosgi (whose cricketing career began only in May), but when he fell, mistiming a ball from offspinner Ryan Persaud that ballooned to backward point, CER were in trouble. 100/2 became 100/3 as Rahul was caught off Arshaad Farooq for nine, and the rout was on, with Ryan Persaud taking five wickets. Of the remaining batsman, only Ryan Quinlan scored more than one, with four ducks also recorded (and a fighting 0 not out from last man Neil Makin).

Defending 120, CER captain Rohit knew one thing: an early wicket was required to unsettle the New Yorkers (exactly what North East had accomplished the day before, in a match that was closer than might have been expected). Ideally that wicket would have been of the New York captain, generally regarded as their best batsman, and one of the top players in the tournament. With that aim in mind, CER opened with leg spinner Nauman Khan, who again bowled well, and Rahul Kosgi, who has defied all expectations in this tournament. The combination of leg spin and medium pace looked effective, and a lofted off drive from Wilson off Rahul might have gone to hand had midoff been just a little further back, while a better hit drive might also have been caught had there been a speedy long off, but those were the only opportunities that CER got to dismiss Wilson, whose fifty led his team to victory. The only other chance was of a runout of Wilson’s partner, but the CER keeper received a poor throw and his own diving shy at the stumps went just wide. Rohit, Arsalan Babar, and Reeshav Patel all bowled solid spells, and the CER fielding was crisp, but, with no scoreboard pressure and no early wickets, New York looked increasingly comfortable as they cruised to the target in under 30 overs.

So, for the second year in succession, New York dealt effectively with CER’s lower order after the openers had given the Midwesterners a platform, and then, seeing a low target, batted sensibly, showing their experience and their class, to give themselves a clear route to the first-place match. On Sunday CER play a strong North East, for whom Karanjit Singh scored a century against the Directors’ XI.

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