The Big Show – Possible Test Star or T20 Money Grabber?

Article written by on April 22nd, 2014
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Glenn Maxwell – you either love him or you hate him. ‘The Big Show’ is a prime example of a player shaped by the modern game: he reverse sweeps as much as he cover drives, rushes through his overs as though he has dinner plans, and always plays with the flair of a shooting star. But is this the future of cricket? One where conservatism and patience is completely ignored in the face of speed and aggression?

Contrary to the views of apparent ‘experts’ from previous generations, Maxwell clearly has talent. The 25-year-old batting all-rounder averages over 40 with the bat in first class cricket despite the devastating rate at which he scores. His one-day record is even more impressive, averaging 36 with the bat at a strike rate a tick under 130. Add to that his T20 average of 25 at a strike rate of 160 and it’s little wonder he attracts so much media attention.

He is constantly criticised for his shot selection and lack of maturity in arduous situations, yet a minority would argue this logic is flawed. In a recent Sheffield Shield match for Victoria, Maxwell entered the crease with his team in the vulnerable position of six wickets for nine runs. He then proceeded to belt 127 off 102 balls as his team crawled to a total of 186. Maxwell’s best form of defence is attack. In times of adversity, you are always instructed to be yourself. Maxwell’s natural game is unique, but is that such a bad thing?

His newfound consistency in T20 cricket has been extremely entertaining to all followers of the game. It’s exciting to witness flashes of brilliance and sheer innovation. Maxwell has the talent to perform on the Test arena, but some would question whether he is up for the challenge. One only has to look at the transformation of David Warner to know it’s possible. But Warner has the orthodox cricket shots and rock-solid defence. Could Maxwell excel on the Test arena with his unorthodox instincts? He has to have the temperament and dedication to fine-tune his game, and the burning desire to do so.

Say he develops his consistency such that his aggressive and innovative nature leads to compelling results in first class cricket. Will his unorthodox style be beneficial or detrimental to Test cricket? Would the cricket world be comfortable with the reverse sweep being utilised more than the classical cover drive? Perhaps he is the first prototype of the future cricketer, one who does find the reverse sweep more comfortable than the cover drive. And this development is something the cricket world will have to become accustomed to. Whether it is liked or not, T20 cricket has led to the innovation we see in the modern game. Eventually this innovation will leak into Test cricket as well.

Maxwell’s an enigma, and one who will always receive criticism for the way in which he plays. His supreme confidence can drown out those negatives, but is he really developing into a world-class player? Only time will tell. His career will provide a guide to the future though, and one which we shall all watch shrouded in wonder.

Is too much pressure placed on a cricketer’s Test debut?

Article written by on April 18th, 2014

For professional cricketers there is nothing more exciting and memorable than walking onto a ground for their Test debut, representing their nation. The build-up starts when they are first notified of their selection by a selector or the coach informing them they will be playing their first Test match for their country. Training and match preparation then follows, with the Test debutant eager to train hard and make a good impression. The attention the Test debutant receives from the media can also not be forgotten. Articles are published in the paper and on the internet about him, cricket ‘experts’ are asked about their opinion on the player and how they think he will go and journalists interview him before his big match. All of this is normal and expected and doesn’t look like changing anytime soon.

Test cricket is a difficult and funny game. A Test cricketer can be in excellent form with the bat or ball in one game and then be down in the doldrums the next. Expecting a Test cricketer to come out and preform straight away can be a tough ask. This is made even more challenging because they have to be in top physical and mental form for normally around five days, which is unheard of in other sports.

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Match Preview : 1st match of IPL 2014 : KKR vs MI

Article written by on April 15th, 2014

What does the first match has in store for us?

This year’s IPL ought to be different from last year’s IPL, somewhat similar to the inaugural edition of the IPL. Even though as a fan it might take some time to get a clear idea of which player will be representing which team, it’s without doubt a fact that this year’s IPL will certainly have many surprises in store for a cricket fan.

Besides the players, the playing conditions for the majority of the IPL will be different too. With the tournament starting in UAE and then coming to India for the integral part of the tournament, it’ll be interesting to see how do the players cope-up with the rapid changes to the playing conditions and which team successfully capitalizes on these changes and rapidly gets used to the conditions.

It’s the gala time! The carnival of cricket is set to begin on 16th of April, 2014 BUT before that, it’s time to get an idea about the 2 team’s that’ll be fighting it out in tomorrow’s epic encounter – season starter. The Mumbai Indians will take on the Kolkata Knight Riders.

The Conditions : With the match being played at UAE, the conditions will be alien to the players and the whole point about ‘more local players the merrier’ has no relevance here. Indian local players may in fact struggle in the first few matches to steady themselves on these pitches – we won’t have a clear idea of the pitches until the first few matches are played.

Generally though, UAE pitches are supposed to be more on the slow side which is in easier sense, more close to Indian pitches and if this does prove to be true, the spinners shall certainly come in handy on this pitch. It’ll definitely be very interesting to see how the pitches pan out to be.

 The Big Players: IPL is all about ‘star glamour’ – cricketers with greater respect at the international level help the franchisees to gain a fan-base and for both these sides, the fan base is strong because their sides are filled with star players.

Jacques Kallis : This will be Kallis’ first season post his retirement from international cricket. Kallis may not be regarded as the world’s best t20 player but his record speaks greatly of him in t20’s. He’s the 6th highest run scorer in the IPL, just after Tendulkar, which proves that he’s had a good run in the IPL. Kallis’ will be much more relaxed this season, since the pressure of playing international cricket no more plays on his mind.

Rohit Sharma : Will look to carry on from the last year’s ‘dream run’ and play with the intent of defending his team’s title. Surely though, it won’t be easy for him as the captain of the side to captain a whole new bunch of players. This will be Mumbai Indian’s first season in the IPL since Tendulkar’s retirement from the IPL and losing Tendulkar’s experience will be a big blow to the side. Besides, they don’t have Ponting in the either, which makes Mumbai Indians lacking on experience but will the new bunch of players mingle well and take the team to glory, will Rohit Sharma be the ‘right’ leader for the side? This remains to be seen.

Possible XI’s : MI – BR Dunk, Mike Hussey, Ambati Rayudu, Rohit Sharma (C), Kieron Pollard, Aditya Tare (WK) Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Pragyan Ojha, Lasith Malinga, J Bumrah

KKR-Gautam Gambhir (C), Robin Uthappa, Manvinder Bisla (WK), Jacques Kallis, Yusuf Pathan, Shakib Al Hasan, Piyush Chawla, Morne Morkel, Sunil Narine, R Vinay Kumar, Umesh Yadav

Don Bradman Cricket 14 Review

Article written by on April 15th, 2014

In a running trial the coach watches two athletes run the same time. One is lean, fit and has great technique; the other, carrying extra weight, less fit and making basic mistakes. Who do you choose to train? When I’ve written previous reviews of cricket games, I’ve speculated that maybe we’ll never see a game that feels like cricket. Maybe it’s just too hard to get right. Is International Cricket 10 the glass ceiling for what is possible?

Cricket gaming has had its iPhone moment. Don Bradman Cricket 14 does not feel like a polished game, it does not feel like it should have anywhere near as many bugs as it does, it does not feel like aspects such as AI have been got right yet but it does feel like cricket and it’s amazingly fun to play.

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Don Bradman Cricket 14 Review

Article written by on April 8th, 2014

 “The first thing to do before you pick up the controller is to forget all that you know about cricket games past”

The game’s manual describes things perfectly, there is no part of this game that provides familiarity and safety. If you can’t let go, you’re going to have a bad time. Those days are gone – I have no doubt that any future competition on consoles will adopt all or most of the changes made to the control scheme of cricket games here – to not do so is to doom them to irrelevance.

Batting may be slightly familiar to some, EA’s Cricket 07 introduced the century stick, in theory at least – the majority of people reading this probably played the game on PC using a keyboard – but for those of you who played it on PlayStation 2 or a compatible controller, it was the first attempt to combine placement of the shot with playing the shot on the analogue sticks – and worked fairly well, but still had you watching the ground.

Don Bradman Cricket 14 expands on this legacy by moving the control of power to the triggers and designs the game around watching the ball rather than the pitch. While you can choose to have the assistance off, a colour coded ring around the ball helps you judge where the ball is pitching and what direction it is travelling.

The loss of the fielding radar is what will be most unsettling to newcomers, you can’t just look at an image of exactly where all the fielders are and know all the gaps – you need to survey the field and then remember it. I think this is far more reflective of real cricket compared to pointing a wedge at the exact direction of where you want the ball to go.

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