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South Africa rises to the occasion, topples Australia from No.1 position

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As I had expected (in fact most of us) Australia are dethroned from their number one position by a rampaging South African team who has beaten Australia convincingly in the 5 match ODI series by a solid margin of 4-1. The Aussie downfall doesn't seem like going up for now.

Perhaps the only advice that I would give them is -

Take your time. You have an inexperienced line-up right now. Just polish yourself in international cricket and you are ready to make an Australian comeback.
But I would definitely not want my team India to go down again, so I have decided not to advice the Aussies! Yeah ! Better work it out yourself. Muwhaaa !

Now that South Africa is on top, the only competition in my opinion they are facing is from India.
And India will only come closer to the Proteas if they are able to beat Sri Lanka in the ongoing five match series with a good margin, say around 4-1 or a clean sweep.

Not only that, South Africa is on the verge to topple Australia from their Number one position in Test Rankings as well. If the South Africans are successful in beating Australia in the upcoming return tour to South Africa, then I am pretty sure Australia will be left way behind.

It's going to be an interesting period of this game and in it's fight for the top spot in both forms of the game ( or should I say all 3 ?)!

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114 players to be auctioned in IPL and guess what...there are still 8 teams. Wow !

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Well...well. I am totally annoyed the way the road to IPL Second season is going on. Can you imagine 114 cricketers being auctioned in just 8 teams ? This is how Indian Premier League second season is going to be played !

The maximum limit of spending money in the auction is just 2 million dollars, with the base price of cricketers like Kevin Pietersen and Michael Clarke itself being over 1 million. So this would mean that the maximum players that can be bought by a franchise are about 3-5. Which would mean that only around 50 cricketers can be auctioned in total.

I feel there should be at least 2 franchise added in the league. Otherwise, things would cramp up a lot. We have already seen that about 7-8 cricketers sitting in the dug out while their playing eleven are on the field. And this auction would only mean that the bunch of substitutes will increase.

Here's the list of those 114 cricketers who would be auctioned :

Australia: Brad Haddin, Michael Clarke, Nathan Hauritz, Stuart Clark, Brad Hogg, Beau Casson, Mark Cameron, Peter Forrest, Lee Carseldine, Doug Bollinger, Michael Dighton, Jason Krejza, Nathan Reardon, Chris Hartley, Shaun Tait, Ashley Noffke, Bryce McGain, George Bailey, Travis Birt, Michael Hill, Chris Swan, Michael Klinger, Ben Edmondson, Aiden Blizzard, Mark Cosgrove, Adam Voges, Shane Harwood

England: Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Flintoff, Steve Harmison, Ravi Bopara, Monty Panesar, Robert Key, James Foster, Sajid Mahmood, Matt Prior, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Owais Shah, Darren Gough, Ryan Sidebottom, Graeme Swann, Luke Wright, James Anderson, Ed Joyce, Dominic Cork

Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Ashraful, Mashrafe Mortaza, Tamim Iqbal, Junaid Siddique, Mehrab Hossain jnr, Rajin Saleh, Ziaur Rehman, Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim, Raqibul Hasan, Nadif Chowdhury

New Zealand: Mark Gillespie, Tim Southee, Jesse Ryder, Jeetan Patel, Kyle Mills, Chris Martin, Jamie How, Peter Fulton, James Franklin

Pakistan: Asim Kamal, Mohammad Hafeez, Yasir Hameed, Danish Kaneria, Yasir Arafat

South Africa: Gulam Bodi, Rory Kleinveldt, Charl Langeveldt, Ashwell Prince, JP Duminy, Martin van Jaarsveld, Roelof van der Merwe, Andre Nel, Neil McKenzie, Yusuf Abdullah, Paul Harris, Johan Botha, Morne van Wyk, Tyron Henderson

Sri Lanka: Thilan Thushara, Nuwan Kulasekara, Mahela Udawatte, Dammika Prasad, Thilina Kandamby, Kaushalya Weeraratne, Jehan Mubarak, Dilhara Lokuhettige, Malinga Bandara, Malinda Warnapura, Michael Vandort, Prasanna Jayawardene, Upul Tharanga, Kaushal Lokuarachchi, Jeevantha Kulatunga

West Indies: Sylvester Joseph, Darren Sammy, Andre Fletcher, Kieron Pollard, Kieran Powell, Fidel Edwards, Dwayne Smith, Kemar Roach

Zimbabwe: Vusi Sibanda

A weird thought crossed my mind as I was writing this post- can have this game of cricket like football where there are different counties in different locations. And they have their own league. But this would mean less international cricket and more of that club cricket.

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Muralitharan eyeing another record

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All Murali needs is to take 3 wickets in the upcoming ODI series against India to achieve another milestone - highest wicket taker in One Day Internationals, taking over Wasim Akram's tally of 502 wickets.

I would certainly not like him to take these 3 wickets against India. But there are five games to be played and in my opinion a class bowler like Murali would easily achieve it in this series itself, no matter how good the opposition is against spin.

The series kicks off tomorrow in Dambulla. The favourites seems to be India taking their 5-0 series win against England last year. They would like to continue their good run while the struggling Lankans would be looking for revenge since their loss to Indians last year when they lost it 3-2.

Players to watch out for - Virender Sehwag(India), Muralitharan and Ajanta Mendis(Sri Lanka).

Anyway, I would like to wish Muralitharan the very best for his upcoming record ( if it does happen!).

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India's tour of Sri Lanka schedule revised.

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Another tour....another revision. On Thursday, BBCI announced the revised dates of India's tour of Sri Lanka as follows :

Jan 26: Indian team arrives

Jan 28: First ODI (Day) at Dambulla

Jan 31: Second ODI (D/N) at Premadasa, Colombo

Feb 3: Third ODI (D/N) at Premadasa, Colombo

Feb 5: Fourth ODI (D/N) at Premadasa, Colombo

Feb 8: Fifth and last ODI (Day) at SSC, Colombo

Feb 10: Twenty20 International (D/N) at Premadasa, Colombo

Feb 11: Indian team departs.

So... there are 5 days to go for the first ODI to begin.

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Latest IPL Happenings

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Here's the latest news of the IPL trade window. Zaheer Khan and Robin Uthappa have swapped their IPL teams which means both of them would be playing for their domestic teams. While Zaheer played for Bangalore Royal Challengers last season, Uthappa played for Mumbai Indians. So this swap means Zaheer will be playing for Mumbai Indians and Uthappa for Royal Challengers.

Earlier, Mumbai Indians had swapped their bowler Ashish Nehra for Delhi Daredevils's Shikhar Dhawan.

I still wonder what made Royal Challengers swap their in-form bowler Zaheer ? It only seems that they are going into a deeper mess.

Meanwhile, Ashish Nehra could be a gain for the Daredevils as Mohammad Asif has left IPL. And they had already signed up the Australian opener David Warner earlier. So the balance is still there.

There's more to come with England players being auctioned later during February !

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England players agree to play in IPL for three weeks

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Good news for all English fans ! Now they can watch their heroes play in the Indian Premier League for three weeks.

The 21-day block is a compromise position after Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, said he wanted English players to be available for at least four weeks of the event while the ECB were keen for just a two-week release.

The auction is scheduled between the end of West Indies tour and the starting of a return series at home.

I guess IPL is only going to improve much more because of this. It's fan following will surely increase too.

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Extra Test, T20 added to India's tour of New Zealand.

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India has added a T20 and an extra test game to their tour of NZ.

The Indian team will arrive in New Zealand on Feb. 10, eight days earlier than scheduled, with the first tour match being the extra Twenty20 game in Christchurch on Feb. 25.

I would say that this rescheduling has made the tour more interesting.

And here is the new schedule for the tour of NZ -

Feb. 25 - Twenty20 International, Christchurch

Feb. 27 - Twenty20 International, Wellington

March 3 - 1st ODI, Napier

March 6 - 2nd ODI, Wellington

March 8 - 3rd ODI, Christchurch

March 11 - 4th ODI, Hamilton

March 14 - 5th ODI, Auckland

March 18-22 First Test, Hamilton

March 26-30 Second Test, Napier

April 3-7 Third Test, Wellington

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As I had said, India to tour Sri Lanka

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I had previously mentioned in one of my posts that India might play against, it proved out to be true. India will be touring Sri Lanka next month to play a series of 5 ODI and one T20 game.

Though the dates have not been finalized, but for now this is sure for now that India will be touring Sri Lanka next month before their tour to New Zealand.

As soon as the dates are announced I will try to update you as early as I can.

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Hayden announces retirement

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Matthew Hayden has finally announced his retirement from cricket (yeah, all forms of the game). And one thing is for sure, Harbhajan Singh must be enjoying it. And though even I am an Indian, it is a mixed moment for me.

But frankly speaking, I had expected this to happen ever since Hayden returned from India after the Border-Gavaskar test series. So a 17 year old remarkable career has finally met it's end after entertaining a million of people by his swashbuckling performances.

But it doesn't end here. According to Cricinfo, it has been said that he would still be playing for his Indian Premier League team - Chennai Super Kings.

Whatever may have happened, all I can say is "Enjoy your rest of the life Haydo. We'll all miss you".

Kudos to you Haydo !

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Twenty20 game on Facebook -The Review

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Thinking of getting bored fears me a lot. After searching very hard for a cricket mmorpg, it seemed I wouldn't find it in near future. But finally I have managed to find one. You can't actually call it Role playing game. But it is good enough to be called a MMOG (Massive Multiplayer Online Game), since it is a multiplayer management game.

So you must be thinking "What is it all about ?". Right ? Get all your friends along on Facebook (Yeah ! That can be counted as a disadvantage, since those aren't on facebook have to go through the trouble of making an account and invite friends). Then click on this link - Twenty20 cricket.
Before starting the game, I would recommend that you first read their Help/FAQ page, so that get to know all the rules and various other things, like how to train your players, buying your own stadium and a lot more.

Once your journey kicks off, you can invite your friends to join this T20 extravaganza. And later you can play against their team as well. Meanwhile, you can challenge other teams and their owners to gain more Money and Training Points (to train your players, after all practice makes you perfect) !

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As expected, Strauss appointed England skipper

I was quite sure Strauss will become the next captain and it did happen.

Hugh Morris, Managing Director of England and Wales Cricket Board said in a statement in London Strauss has agreed to lead England in the tour of West Indies next month. Strauss had earlier captained England in place of an injured Michael Vaughan.

Now the ECB only has to find a new coach for the team before they tour to Carribean in a couple of weeks time. Who do you think will be the new coach ?

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Hayden dropped out of Australia ODI and T20 squad

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Australian opener Matthew Hayden has been left out of the 13-man squad for the upcoming ODI and T20 series against South Africa following his poor run.

National Selection Panel Chairman Andrew Hilditch made it clear that the teams were chosen with an eye on the Twenty20 World Cup later this year and 2011 ODI World Cup and also hinting he could not see Hayden playing a role in the two major events.

Though Hilditch also said that Hayden's omission is not because of his recent performances
but rather a strategic decision made by the National Selection Panel as planned for these signature events.

I feel this is perhaps the correct decision for now, as in my opinion, Hayden needs a break before he can make a comeback.

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KP and Moores quits from their England jobs

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Sky News on Wednesday reported that Kevin Pietersen has resigned from his post of English cricket team captain over the rift . And the worse was yet to follow. After KP, the news came that Peter Moores has also decided to quit from his job(coach).

It seemed quite certain that this will take place, ever since Pietersen was appointed as the captain 5 months ago. The relationship between the two never looked good as there was so many clashes between their views.

Now what would be interesting to see is who ECB is really going to appoint as the skipper and coach. With only a couple of weeks left for England to leave to West Indies for a test and an ODI series, ECB now has even less time.

In my opinion, ECB will have the toughest time selecting the new captain. A few options that I can see are Strauss,Flintoff or if they can persuade Collingwood,who gave up this job five months ago.

And as for the coach, there are a couple of choices, like Graham Ford, Andy Flower. There might be many more, though I can't remember it right now.

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India may play against Sri Lanka

Yeah ! You heard it right. BCCI is exploring all options available to recover the losses for the cancelled tour to Pakistan. Now they are in talks with the Sri Lankan board, for the possibility of a ODI series in February.

If this is really going to happen then this could mean that the series will start quickly after Sri Lanka comes back from their tour of Bangladesh.

Wow ! That's what all cricket fans would want. And this is what even I want.

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Happy New Year to all readers !

It's finally 2009 ! Time to bid adieu to year 2008. In this world of cricket, there were some great moments, many ups, and a few downs.

I wish all the readers of Crick-o a great new year ahead !

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