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Cricket India Academy was started in 2009 by SEDIL to present comprehensive and structured cricket development programs.Leading the coaching function is Coach Director and former Indian international cricketer Pravin Amre. Cricket India Academy offers an exclusive Cricket Pathway, with a well-defined and progressive road map.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Meeting a Champion: Brett Lee

Meeting a Champion

It is always a great pleasure to meet those people who made a mark in an industry. It is an amazing opportunity to interact with them and ask them their success mantra.  It is like a dream come true to meet these big celebrities.

Cricket India Academy gave me such an opportunity to meet a legendary Aussie fast bowler – Brett Lee.

Brett Lee has been an idol for fast bowlers all around the globe for a long period of time. During his playing days, he was indeed one of the fastest bowlers in the world bowling at 150 km/hr regularly.  The energy and zeal with which he bowled was phenomenal. He was capable of producing some lightning spells. Many people think that fast bowling is easy and involves only running in and bowling fast. But it requires a lot of physical strength. Just bowling fast does not get you wickets. Moving the ball around is also a skill. Many cricketers praised how Lee dealt with so many setbacks and bowled through so much pain. He had to retire eventually as his body was wrecked by years of feet pounding into the ground and arms slinging balls.
  

He suffered five ankle operations, a couple of bouts of surgery on his right elbow , back stress fractures , side strains and stomach tears along with the other daily aches. He endured a lot. His career showed that a lot goes into making a champion. His mental strength to come out of such injuries was commendable.  
When he was retiring he said- “Cricket has given me so many memories, so many great opportunities. I have been lucky enough to play for 20 years whereas most people might get a year or two. To play for two decades at the top level, I am really happy.”

Meeting him
I had completed 6 years with the Academy and was the first one to do so along with my fellow mate Parth. We had been in the Academy since the first year and we had grown year by year due the efforts of the Academy coaches. I enjoyed every bit of those 6 years. Cricket India Academy had given me number of opportunities to develop and I am thankful to them for doing so. The Academy was going to reward us with certificates for are achievements and we were informed that the certificates was going to be given by Brett Lee. It was a proud moment for me.

We met Brett Lee at St. Regis Hotel in Mumbai on 4th April, 2016. He had come to India to give commentary for the ICC World T20.  Unlike most of the celebrities, he was indeed very friendly and shook hands and spoke with everybody. I just loved the fact that he wanted to greet everyone present there rather than just give the certificates and run away.

He interacted with Parth and me for quite some time. He asked me one question- “What is the most important thing Cricket?’’.I was dumbstruck seeing him in front of me and I just could not think. I kept staring at his face until finally I answered “To Win”. I knew I was wrong. Brett answered that the most important thing was to enjoy the game. Winning and Losing are part of the game. Until one does not enjoy the game, one can never win. The satisfaction can only be achieved through this enjoyment. He congratulated us on our success and wished us good luck for the future. He emphasized the need to train hard if we ever dreamt to play for India. I even got an autograph on a small souvenir bat. 

It was great meeting him and from that day onwards, whenever I played cricket in the building with my friends, I made it a point to enjoy the game. I stopped worrying and thinking only about wining and it really worked. I felt satisfied after each match even after losing and I understood the value of his words. I thank him for that and I am really grateful for CIA for arranging such a meeting with a legendary player like him.




“DJ Brett lee,
  DJ Brett Lee,
  Champion,
  Champion,

  Everybody knows Brett Lee is a champion”

Monday, 19 September 2016

The Maxwell Revolution

The Maxwell Revolution

Cricket has come a long way from when 250 was a winning score in 50 overs. But now 250 runs is being made in 20 -20 cricket also and 250 is no longer a secure total in ODI too. The modern day cricketers nowadays have the fearless attitude to play their shots from ball one. They are not afraid to take their chances early on. This attitude has led to some mammoth totals being made which seem to be impossible in reality.

What are the chances of seeing, even in a T20 game, a reverse sweep being played by a batsman to a ball pitched way outside the leg stump? While this shot is lucrative at the back end of the innings, how many batsmen would be audacious to play it if with 10-15 overs left in the innings? Glenn Maxwell is one such player who is rewriting the rules of batting in the shorter formats of the game. He is a player who has shown so many times that he can take the attack to the opposition from ball one and often he has played the reverse sweep on the first ball he faces.

His attacking style of cricket has been controversial as it does not allow you to be as consistent and your stats on paper look really bad. It has indeed worked for Maxwell quite a few times but has led to his downfall many times and he was dropped from the ODI too for his inconsistency. You can’t play high-risk, low percentage cricket and score big regularly. But returning to T20 cricket for Australia, he shut the critics with a terrific hundred.


 Maxwell proved that cricket has been revolutionised completely when he made unbeaten 145 runs in 65 balls against Sri Lanka in a T20 match. Thanks to him, Australia was able to make the highest T20 score of 263. His innings comprised of shots all over the field whether it was down the ground or above the keeper’s head.


It was an amazing display of batting from the Aussies. It was definitely not easy for Maxwell to score this big. He was dropped from the ODI squad. There was lots of pressure on him to perform and more pressure was added when he was given the responsibility to open the batting. Moreover, it was his first game of the series in Sri Lanka and he lacked the experience of playing on Sri Lankan turning tracks unlike other players who had already played the tests and ODIs before the T2O series.

But beating all these odds, he went out there and played his natural game. Many a times when we not play our natural game, we often get out quickly. I will give my example itself. I am more of a player who likes to get his eye in, settle down and then play some shots.  This is my natural game. But when I don’t play my natural game, I fail most of the times. Same is with Maxwell. If you tell him to settle down and then play his shots, he will definitely get out while he is settling down as he has never played that kind of cricket. Many young batsmen should look up to Maxwell for his attitude. It takes a lot of courage to play your natural game every time even if you are being criticised for it. 

I would like to conclude of Maxwell that he is a gifted player with quick hands and amazing insight of the game. I would like him to continue playing cricket his way has only those players succeed who play Cricket their way being indifferent to what other people think or say about their way of playing. Chanderpaul has been a living example of the line playing cricket your way because of his unorthodox batting stance. 



Questions


This mammoth score again raised some questions about the imbalance between bat and ball. First only the big bats give the batsmen an edge over the bowlers but flat pitches like these, make cricket a batsman’s game completely.  But you should salute the bowlers for their big hearts. The bowl their best no matter they go for 7-8 runs an over in every match. Some competitive pitches can indeed spice up the game and lead to more fan following for cricket. Such pitches can lead to good contests between bat and ball and can lead to exciting matches. 

Friday, 9 September 2016

The Spirit of Afghanistan

The Spirit of Afghanistan

When you go to the field to play cricket, you need to have a positive mindset, a positive body language. Often when you lose a match badly or you lose matches on the trot, your confidence level goes down.

You suddenly start doubting your team and yourself. You just sometimes forget the art of wining. There is one point when you feel that we just cannot win. Your body language reflects this fact. But I know this one team which goes on the field every time with full zeal and energy. They are not afraid of losing. They just want to go out there and play hard but fair cricket.

They go out there with a nothing to lose attitude. They give it their all on the field each time and go down fighting in each game. They are one and only – The Afghanistan Team. A few years I did not even know that Afghanistan had a cricket team. But in the last year they have come up.


They have lost more than half of the games they have played and they still have the fire left in them. They play every game to win and have the ability to cause big upsets. The most recent one was when they beat West Indies in the World T20. West Indies played like champions in the whole world cup but took Afghanistan lightly. You just cannot underestimate them. Give them even a little chance and they will grab at it with both hands as “when a window of opportunity appears, you should not pull down the shade”.

Their journey from a non- recognized team to a very popular team has been a remarkable journey of resilience, hard work and team work. The contributions of Mohammad Nabi, Asghar Stanikzai and Samiullah Shenwari to Afghanistan cricket have been brilliant.

I never forget seeing the match of Afghanistan vs Australia in the World Cup 2015 where the pace duo of Dawlat Zadran and Hamid Hasan surprised the Aussies with their terrific bowling. Nobody would disagree with me on the fact that this pace duo has the capability to represent even top international team.

I think it is their spirit that makes them a splendid team. It is not easy for an associate nation to come out of nowhere and be ranked 10th in the ODI rankings and 9th in T20 rankings. They are a team which will come up in a few years and will be threat to the top international teams.

I have learnt an important lesson from them that we should not be afraid of losing. Winning and losing are part of the game. You just cannot always win. It is actually losing that teaches you much more than winning. Losing makes you analyze your mistakes and helps you to develop as a team. Afghanistan has gone through the tough phase and now are in a phase where they can make their country proud by defeating some top teams.

It is of course a long way ahead for them but they can make anything happen with their attitude. Attitude is everything in today’s modern cricket. I salute them for their spirit and I hope that they prove to be an inspiration for other associate nations like Ireland and Netherlands that if they can do it, we can do it do.


“Be Like Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is a fighter,
Afghanistan never gives up,
Afghanistan plays fearlessly,
Be like Afghanistan”.

Go Afghanistan and show the world what you can do. Enjoy every moment as you deserve it.


Tuesday, 30 August 2016

International Teams - My View by Jai Vanvari

International Teams - My View

For quite some time now, I have been thinking about the next topic of my article. After a lot of thinking, I have decided to write a very different article today. This article is my take on all the international sides in the cricket circuit. It is inspired by an article I read on the internet.

Australia- Attitude is everything
Australia has always been that team that shows a lot of attitude on the field. They are known to play aggressive brand of cricket and like to dominate the opponent team. They even don’t mind to risk a defeat if there is even a small chance of victory. They will openly abuse and sledge you to distract you from the game and force you to play a wrong shot in frustration which is a typical Aussie trait. They play every match to win and even resort to some clever tricks on the field.




India- Bat them out
India has from the start produced some gifted batsmen. India has always lacked that spice in the bowling department and but has often covered it up through his extraordinary batting.  The era of the four greats- Ganguly, Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman has seen India chase down some improbable scores and make some mammoth totals. Even after this batting era, the current team too has one of the best batting units consisting of Consistent Kohli, patient Rahane, fiery Rohit and finisher Dhoni. I just hope that India are able to develop a good pace unit in the coming years. Then, it would become an invincible side altogether with a talented batting unit and a potential bowling side.


New Zealand- Teamwork makes the Dream work
Each side has always has at least 1 or 2 very big names who are seen as threats by the opposition team. However, New Zealand has never had that very big player yet they have transpired to some great wins. This is all because of their teamwork. Their team consists of selfless players who rejoice at the success of their team mates. There is no clash of egos between the players. Each player contributes and takes their team to victory. It is a team which reflects true sportsmanship and that is the reason why I respect this team highly.


West Indies – Play Hard, Party Harder
West Indies have always been that side that lives every moment on the field to the fullest and plays every match like their last. They play real hard cricket as it is seen by their athletic fielding, explosive batting and lethal bowling. They give their all on the field and fight till the last ball. They play hard and party even harder after winning gloriously. Don’t ever sledge or challenge them on the field or else you will be in trouble for they will come at you with all guns blazing.



Pakistan- Bowl them out
Unlike India, Pakistan has been known for producing some of the best bowlers in the world. Be it spinners or pacers they have all from Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar, Waqar Younis to Saqlian Mustaq and Abdul Qadir. They just bombard the opposition with some lethal bowling. They extent and they deliver most of the times.






South Africa- The Chokers
Often than not, South Africa has looked the best side on paper as compared to any other team in the world. They have some brilliant batting in Amla, De Kock, Plessis and De Villiers. To go with the batting, they have some fiery pacers like Steyn, Morkel and Rabada. They have an electrifying fielding unit too. However, they just fail to win matches. They are yet to win a major ICC Tournament.  Why is that?  Because they are the biggest chokers in world cricket. They just lose the plot in the middle of the matches.



Sri Lanka- The Underdogs
Most of the times, Sri Lanka is considered an underdog. It has not made a very big mark in the history of cricket however it has produced some of the legendary players like Jayasuriya, Sangakkarra and Jayawardene. They have won some glorious matches and their success lies in the fact that they have lion hearted players who give it their all on the cricket field. They are not much in the limelight and are true gentlemen of the game. Their mantra is to- Stand Tall, Talk Small and Play Ball.


England- Class Personified
My favourite team, England , has always been the classy team. The way they play their cricket is just amazing to watch. The English players like to play the old-school way as they prefer elegance and graciousness over brashness. This has brought laurels to them. Their great players – Cook, Anderson, Strauss are the face of sheer class.













Friday, 19 August 2016

Kane Williamson - Serenity at its best

Serenity at its best

He is a humble and intelligent player. He does not worry and does not lash at criticism. He times the ball to perfection. He is a player whom opposition players find hard to combat. His job is to do it all, when situation demands him to do so. He is none other than Kane Williamson.
Batting suited him from the minute he picked up his first bat; he has the perfect height, balance, fast-twitch muscles, electric feet, and an inquisitive mind.
  
Williamson- A versatile player

With a solid defence technique, he is the perfect test player. The sound when the ball meets the middle of his bat is splendid. His ability to deal with pressure is amazing as he performs better under pressure. He has the gift of timing the ball. It is almost impossible to break his calmness and serenity when he is in the middle. That’s why he is a difficult player to deal with. Due to his humility and lack of ego, the opposition cannot resort to sledging.
  


He has all the shots in the bag. If you ball short to him, he can pull you or play the perfect square cut. He can pierce the ball through the offside with ease through his back foot punch or through his cracking front foot drives. If you ball even a bit straight to him, he has his wrists to flick the ball so easily in the leg side.

Revolutionary Player

Many people thought that Williamson with his solid technique is not fit to play T20 cricket. Many people believe that T20 cricket requires a lot of power and innovation which Williamson does not possess. However, Williamson has proved everyone wrong. He has revolutionised the T20 cricket.

Though he does not have the power, he has the rare skill of maneuvering the ball into gaps with minimum effort. He does not play unorthodox shots like reverse sweep, upper cut, ramps shots and he does not need it. He has all the orthodox shots in his bag and he knows how to use them to score runs quickly.

 But what I really like about him is that though he accepts that he does not have the game of a perfect T20 player, however he has the gift of adaptability. He has intelligently developed on his strengths and has used them cleverly in the T20 format. He has been able to score at a strike rate of 130-140 without having to play the big shots often. He is a busy player too and runs hard between the wickets as he understands the importance of each and every run.



He has just not scores runs, he has created masterpieces. Huge centuries, on a regular basis, came from a young mind that could see what no other around him could see. He has always had a deeper understanding of the game and a clear vision of where he is heading.

That kind of composure he has is rare. He always plays his innings over and over in his imagination. Therein lies the secret. To see it first.  To own it. Then go get it.

He is that player who the young batsmen today should look up to as he has played cricket his way and has succeeded remarkably. A bright future lies ahead of him and I hope he tumbles more records as he makes his way to the top.