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Graeme Swann

The Return of the Cheeky Chappie

24 March 2010. England’s spin sensation plays like a man eager for a scrap and bowls like one expecting to take wickets. Long may his tribe last. Like all countries of any age, England has endured its share of caricatures. Basil Fawlty, Captain Mainwaring, Richard the Lionheart, Robin Hood, Jonathan Ross, Beau Nash, George Formby, […]

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Sachin Tendulkar

India Feast After they Send out for Some Steak

10 March 1998. Sometimes it is best simply to sit back and enjoy. Cricket doesn’t come any better than this – a warm and vast crowd, superb young batsmen of contrasting styles at the crease and spinners ripping their fingers and racking their brains in an attempt to dislodge them. Inevitably, all eyes were upon […]

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Xavier Doherty

Incumbents on Notice as Selectors Take New Approach

16 November 2010. At first sight it will seem that the selectors have lost the plot. Certainly they have invited ridicule. Over the years Australia has considered 16 players sufficient to cover an entire tour of England. Now 17 are required for a single match to be staged just up the road. But it’s not […]

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Shaun Tait bowling

Quick Money Trumps Hard Yakka

10 March 2010. Twenty20 offers fast bowlers their most convenient stage. It will be a pity if it becomes their only space for expression. Fast bowlers don’t actually like bowling. Labourers don’t like digging holes. Give them a chance to put their feet up and have a cup of chai and they’ll grab it with […]

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Dale Steyn

Old-school Dale

20 February 2010. Hunting and fishing are still part of his life but the rawness and inconsistency have dropped away and Steyn has emerged as one of the best fast bowlers in the world. Dale Steyn likes fishing and hunting and bowling fast. In his time he has caught a crocodile, shot an impala, and […]

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Wasim Akram of Pakistan

Power to Pakistan

10 February 2010. They have long been among cricket’s most compelling teams, and though the current turmoil in the country bodes ill for the game, there is hope yet. Pakistan is a team struggling for direction, from a nation batting for identity. Ever since the tragic death of its founding father soon after independence had […]

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WACA

Australia Must get its House in Order

2 February 2010. Cricket Australia ought to consider banning alcohol at matches. It has gone well beyond a joke. Australia needs to start addressing the real issues. Indian students killed in Melbourne, Pakistanis assaulted on the field in Perth, blazing headlines around the world, a nation’s reputation dragged into the mud, and never mind that […]

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Nathan Hauritz bowling

Return of Finger Spin

27 January 2010. It’s back from the dead courtesy of Swann, Hauritz, Benn and others, relying on good old accuracy and slight disguise. Long ago consigned to a cricketing graveyard, finger spin has rallied in the most unexpected and impressive manner. Any student of the rankings will rapidly discover that numerous members of the orthodox […]

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Angelo Mathews

Thirteen to Watch

13 January 2010. Kohli, Roach, Parnell and 10 other youngsters to look forward to in the years ahead. If cricket changes half as much in the next decade as it did in the last, followers of the game had better fasten their seatbelts. Of course the game itself has not actually changed all that much. […]

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Sanath Jayasuriya

The Joy of Jaya

16 December 2009. No mere smash-and-grab artist, Sanath Jayasuriya has revolutionised opening and done it with a shy exuberance and no hint of swagger. Sanath Jayasuriya has been at once a devastating hitter and amongst the foremost opening batsmen of his period. It is no mean combination. His career, his very life, has told of […]

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Andrew Strauss

Tradesman at the Top

2 December 2009. With his matter-of-fact approach, Andrew Strauss is better placed than his predecessors to develop the winning culture his side so needs. Among England captains of the last 20 years Andrew Strauss sits nearer the top than the bottom. Although he lacks the predatory instincts that characterised Michael Vaughan’s best work or the […]

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Sachin Tendulkar

India’s Proudest Possession

14 November 2009. Tendulkar has gone two decades being a blend of the sublime and the precise, incapable of ugliness or of being dull; and those are among the least of his achievements. Sachin Tendulkar has been playing top-class cricket for 20 years and he’s still producing blistering innings, still looking hungry, still demolishing attacks, […]

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Rahul Dravid

Never Underestimate Great Sportsmen

24 June 2011. Rahul Dravid has struck a mighty blow for the old-timers. His hundred in the Caribbean served two purposes, putting his team in a powerful position and reminding all and sundry that batsmen are better judged from their performances than from their birth certificates. Apparently his place had been in jeopardy. All sorts […]

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Shivnarine Chanderpaul

Chanderpaul a Master of Disguise

25 November 2009. Shivnarine Chanderpaul is the most astonishing batsmen around, and among the finest. From his first outing for the West Indies in Georgetown in 1994 to his forthcoming 389th appearance, at the Gabba, he has batted by his own lights and been effective and entertaining. Remove his wicket cheaply and the job is […]

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Ireland cricket team

Why Ireland Should be a Test Nation

5 November 2009. Cricket needs to move beyond its cosy cartel of countries, bring in more teams, and have two or more divisions. Ireland’s current application for Test status ought to be taken seriously. Indeed, it ought to be accepted, and that means convincing at least seven of the 10 established nations to give it […]

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Marcus Trescothick

Long Live the Champions League

21 October 2009. The tenacity of the South Africans, the efficiency of the Australians, and the flair of the Caribbean players have made the event an unqualified success. Although sated locals seem to regard it as a flop, from further afield the Champions League Twenty20 has been thoroughly enjoyable. Indeed it has been the most […]

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Daniel Vettori

Leave it to Dan

7 October 2009. Bowler, batsman, fielder, captain – none of Vettori’s roles fails to lift a side that badly needs inspiration. Daniel Vettori deserved better. Cricket has a wicked sense of humour. That a long-serving cricketer of high distinction and considerable merit, a player universally admired, a captain whose team has been recognised as the […]

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Angelo Mathews

Cricket Needs its Grand Occasions

23 September 2009. Our sport hardly has the concept of majors. It can start by making the Champions Trophy a destination, not a journey. Hard-pressed hosts have been trying to present the Champions Trophy as an eagerly awaited tournament and part of a great tradition. By rights it ought to be an easy sell. After […]

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Chris Gayle

Windies Juniors Teach Elders all about Application

29 November 2009. Over the past three days Chris Gayle, Travis Dowlin and Adrian Barath, the hare, the tortoise and the colt, displayed the best and worst of West Indian cricket. Gayle once again betrayed his position and his talent with a craven and idle performance ill-befitting any Test batsman, let alone an opener and […]

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Sanath Jayasuriya

There’s Life in the ODI Yet

10 September 2009. No version of the game that has produced so many outstanding feats ought lightly to be tossed away in favour of a format that does not offer the possibility of greatness. For an endangered species 50-over cricket appears to be in remarkably good health. Cast as the saviour of a supposedly moribund […]

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Flintoff bowling in the 2009 Ashes

No Time for Back-slapping

26 August 2009. England have displayed fortitude, pride, skill and unity, but they need to confront some hard truths still. Andrew Strauss’s team deserved to win the Ashes. Only a churl could argue otherwise. Five matches lasting five days give every player and both sides an opportunity to prove their worth. Thanks to three stupendous […]

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