Sachin’s Final Fling

There is a game of cricket actually due to be played in Mumbai tomorrow, but this Test match will obviously – and I suppose rightly – over shadowed by the the retirement of the Little Master.

Obviously the limited overs Indian teams have moved on without Sachin over the past few years. But having said that, Sachin probably could have named his date, time and format to choose to play his final match… so with this in mind, I’m very happy that Sachin has made his final international cricket match, a Test match.

Maybe it’s time the likes of the BCCI, WICB and SLC took note.

Not that it’s likely to get a mention in all the hullabaloo, but Shivnarine Chanderpaul will be playing in the small matter of his 150th Test match. A great West Indian who gets little accolade.

What a player he is also. For years he has carried this side, and when he started playing in 1994, he was playing with some of the West Indian greats in the final throws of their careers, and didn’t look out of place with them.

Formalities and moans over, so now on to the cricket.

In the cricket betting, India are the favourites at 4/9 to win the Test match. The Draw is 5/2, and West Indies are 8/1.

Even allowing for all the obvious distractions, India should still be too strong for the West Indian team (judging by the winning margin in the 1st Test). Having said that, Shane Shillingford (13/8 to be top West Indies bowler) showed some good form and troubled the Indian top order at Kolkata, so he shouldn’t be treated lightly.

Duncan Fletcher looks to have unearthed another Indian gem in Mohammed Shami. He will be looking to build on his impressive performance last week, when he took a remarkable 9 wickets on debut.

I’ve written it many a time on this website, and make no apologies for writing it again…. this team is now Duncan Fletcher’s, and he is building a very impressive outfit.

The weather looks okay, and the pitch is expected to last 5 days. The last Test match played here seen England win, and 19 wickets go to spinners Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar. Three centuries were scored and there was a couple of 60’s, but apart from that there was no real scores of any note. This suggests runs are possible, but only if you can play yourself in first.

Sachin is 5/1 to be top Indian batsman and go out in a blaze of glory.

Genius of The Little Master

There has been many opportunites this year alone to pay tribute to the legend who is Sachin Tendulkar and rather disgracefully, so far I haven’t got round to doing it.

Take your pick from these achievements in the last 8 months alone.

In February he scored the first ever double hundred in 50 overs cricket. He didn’t do it slogging the Zimbabwe or Netherland’s attack around the park either, it was against a full strength South African attack.

The most amazing thing about this particular innings for me is the fact that he only hit 3 sixes out of his 147 balls faced, proving the old adage that you can’t be out caught if you keep the ball on the deck.

More recently he has just been named the ICC Cricketer of the Year, scoring a mere 1064 runs at an average of 81.84 during the qualifying period. He was also named in both the test team of the year and the ODI one too.

In this current match he has become the first batsman to pass 14,000 test runs, has just chalked up his 49th test century and stands on the brink of scoring his 50th when play resumes in a few hours.

As the top run scorer in test cricket, Tendulkar is nearly 2000 runs ahead of his closest rival Ricky Ponting, he also has 10 more centuries than the Aussie captain.

Tendulkar’s achievements are just magnificent, he is a credit to the game of cricket. You never see him in the headlines for the wrong reasons and he conducts himself in a manner that matches his world class batting.

He is a true genius who should be enjoyed and cherished for the remainder of his career as we will probably never see his type again.

I used to wonder who was the better player, Brian Lara or Tendulkar? Sachin’s stats are better, but Lara played in – and carried – a crap team for the majority of his career. For these reasons I find it hard to judge, but Sachin’s stats are just something else.

These records look like they will stand for a hell of a long time, if not forever. They are similar to Bradman’s 99.94 average, in that they look like they may well never be surpassed.

There isn’t really too much more for Tendulkar left to achieve, a 50 over world cup is one thing I suppose.

Or how about a triple test century? Wouldn’t that be something to see on day 4 and against the Aussies too!

Cricket Betting – India V Australia

From a neutral point of view I’ve got to say that I am not great a fan of a 2 match test series like the one we have here. Two of the top sides in the world should be playing a minimum of 3 tests, but such is the busy schedule these days, I’m afraid 2 it is.

From a biased English point of view, I would much rather be seeing Australia playing a gruelling 4 or 5 match series, but never mind.

I find it hard to see Australia taking 20 wickets in either of these two test matches unless someone manages to conjure up an unlikely bowlers paradise from somewhere, something which I can’t really see happening.

That means that I don’t see Australia winning the series, but can they draw it though?

I think that they have a good chance as the batting looks to be the strongest part of both teams and the chances are that the pitches are going to favour the batsmen as well, which would suggest that a drawn series looks the most likely outcome.

The only problem is that odds of 7/4 with William Hill on a drawn series dosen’t represent much value in my view. All it takes is one batting collapse, even one bad session in a test series this short and the series can be lost.

For the record India are 15/8 with Stan James and Australia are 2/1 with Bet365 to win the series.

Moving onto the 1st test in Mohali and there is nothing to seperate the teams in the betting for this one either. The draw is again the favourite at 11/10 with Stan James, while both sides can be backed at 5/2 for the win.

Early indications are that the wicket has a bit of grass on it, but I would imagine it will flatten out early on day 1. With this in mind I would urge caution in backing the draw, but to be fair I wouldn’t back a draw at that price anyway. As I wrote earlier, you only need one bad session to lose a test match.

For me this looks too close to call, the draw looks the obvious call but you never know, so I am certainly not planning on having a bet on the outcome of this one at the moment.

I hope I am wrong and that we are not just going to witness two sets of batsmen dominating the series on flat lifeless pitches, these two teams are capable of producing good exciting cricket, but only if they are given the chance to do so.

We also could well be watching Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar playing their final test series against each other here. I think it is fair to say that they will both want to go out on a high so lets enjoy watching two of the best batsmen of our generation go head to head in what hopefully will be an enjoyable competitive series.

After the recent farcical events we have witnessed in England, the game of cricket could do with a welcome boost. These two giants of the game could be just the men to provide it.