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Aug 24, 2011

Sachin slips, Dravid enter top-10 in ICC rankings

Almost all the Indian batsmen save Rahul Dravid slipped in the latest ICC Test Rankings for batsman released on Tuesday.

The poor performance of their batsmen in England Test series affected their individual rankings with Sachin Tendulkar dropping a spot to 5th place.

However, Rahul Dravid, at the back of his 3 centuries and 461 runs, ensured a leap of four places to make it to the top-10.

Jacques Kallis firmly entrenched at the top of the ranking table. Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen's star acts during the test series helped them to gain four and five places respectively.

While Bell is now 3rd in the list after Kallis and Sangakkara, Pietersen has also broken into the Top-10 and is now in 7th place.

VVS Laxman, who has had a terrible series, lost 5 places to be at 17th while Virender Sehwag also dropped a couple notches to be at 19th. Gautam Gambhir is now 31st.

In the bowling department, Zaheer Khan remained 7th despite bowling only 13.3 overs in the test series. Off-spinner Graeme Swann is now in top-3 with a leap of two places while Dale Steyn and James Anderson remained number 1 and 2 respectively.

While Stuart Broad maintained his 5th position, Tim Bresnan with his brilliant show is now 11th, having gained five places. India's Harbhajan Singh and Ishant Sharma dropped a place each to be 12th and 13th in the list respectively.

Aug 8, 2011

Dravid announces retirement from ODIs

Hours after he was chosen for the ODI series in England, veteran Indian batsman Rahul Dravid announced his retirement from both the Twenty20 Cricket International, 50-over format of the game.

However, he will play in the five-match ODI series against England, beginning on September 3 and continue playing Test cricket for India.

Rahul Dravid"I am honoured and privileged to be selected in the Indian one-day team," he said after India's warm-up match against Northamptonshire in which he did not play.

"Since I had not been picked for one-day cricket for the last two years, I was obviously a little surprised and to be honest, because I had not been picked," he said in the statement issued after the warm-up game.

He said he now wants to concentrate on Tests in the future though he had not informed about it to the BCCI before his selection.

"At the end of this one-day series, I would like to announce my retirement from one-day and Twenty20 cricket and concentrate only on Test cricket. I had not informed the selectors or the board of my desire to solely focus on Test cricket," he said.

"I am committed, as always to give my best to India in this one-day series and obviously the Test series that follows." Dravid last played an ODI against the West Indies during the 2009 Champions Trophy in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Dravid has made 10765 runs in 339 ODIs with an average of 39.43 with 12 hundreds and 82 fifties. He has not played any Twenty20 International match.

He recently became the second highest run-getter in Test cricket - 12576 runs from 155 matches - behind Sachin Tendulkar and also levelled Sunil Gavaskar's 34 Test centuries.

Aug 3, 2011

Warne slams MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina

Shane Warne has launched a ruthless attack on India's young batsmen and felt MS Dhoni's captaincy was being affected by his below-par wicketkeeping as the visitors slumped to a massive 319-run defeat against England in the 2nd Test.

"As far as the batting is concerned, it is three down, all down. If you get Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman out, the rest all follow suit because they can't handle the intensity of the position," Warne wrote in the Daily Telegraph.

Warne was particularly critical of Suresh Raina and finds the left-hander a misfit for the challenging Test Cricket Format.

"The way some of the Indians play the short-ball is embarrassing. Suresh Raina just does not look like a Test player when the ball is dug in. He is OK in Twenty20 Cricket and ODI matches because teams can't bowl that many short balls at him, but in Test cricket they can batter him."

"India have to bounce back to make this a competitive series and the guide has to come from Dhoni. He needs to lift everyone. He looks too casual at the moment. He has lost his positive body language. "The skipper has to set the tone with the fielding. He cannot hang on to a ball behind the stumps and that is hurting his captaincy, batting and having an impact on the whole team. He needs to work really hard on his keeping over the next week because you can't carry on like that," he said.

MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina"There is an argument that says he should not be playing the next game because he can't keep hold of the ball. Dhoni is a quality person and leader so I am sure he will turn it around but deep down he will feel a bit embarrassed about how it has been going," Warne added.

Aug 2, 2011

England win comprehensively! Lead the Series 2-0

England secured a fantastic victory inside four days to go 2-0 up in the test series as India's batsman crumbled to 158 all out at Trent Bridge.

Rahul DravidIndia has won the toss and elected to field first in the 2nd Test match against England.

Yuvraj Singh will play in place of Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid to open, and Sreesanth will plays for the injured Zaheer Khan.

This has been England's Test match. It did not begin that way when they were reduced to 124/8 in the first day. However, a brilliant 73 run partnership for the ninth wicket between Broad and Swann helped England reach 221. It was Rahul Dravid's brilliant 34th Test century that allowed India to reach 267/4 and it looked like India would build a healthy lead.

In stepped Stuart Broad and he blew away the Indian tail with a hat-trick, the first ever taken at Trent Bridge. This was also the first Test hat-trick against India in Tests. India lost their last six wickets for only 21 runs. A potential lead of 100-150 plus was cut down to only 67 runs.

Ian BellThere was a ray of hope when the openers departed cheaply. But, Bell and KP stepped up to the plate and took the Indian bowling apart. Bell registered his first century against India and backed from fifties by Morgan, Prior and Bresnan, England amassed 544. The abject display by the Indian bowling on the third day put England in the driver's seat and they never looked back.

Tim Bresnan was the star as he picked up his maiden five wicket haul in Tests. Tendulkar sparkled with his 60th Test fifty but it was a bridge too far for the India team as they suffered their biggest loss in terms of runs against England. This 319 run loss will be a bitter pill to swallow for MS Dhoni and his men.

This is the first time that India have lost two consecutive Tests in England since 1974. This is also the first time that MS Dhoni has lost two consecutive Tests in his captaincy stint. One must feel for Rahul Dravid here. Before this series, whenever Dravid has scored a century, India have lost only once. Now, he has scored two consecutive centuries in two matches and India have lost both. England are now in a great position to clinch this Test series in Edgbaston, but India will be determined to bounce back. However, for the time being, it is a very disappointed Team India.

Stuart BroadMatch Details

Ist Innings
England 221/10
Stuart Broad 64
Praveen Kumar 3/45

India 267/10
Rahul Dravid 117
Stuart Broad 6/46

2nd innings
England 544/10
Ian Bell 159
Praveen Kumar 4/124

Target 478

India 158/10
Sachin Tendulkar 56
Tim Bresnan 5/48

Man of the Match : Stuart Broad