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Interview: Australia Vs England Women’s Ashes Test from a Fan’s Perspective

By Nitesh Mathur With Vandit 02/24/2022

Today we talk to Vandit, a mathematics graduate student from Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra. He attended the Only Test between England & Australia in the Women’s Ashes Test at Manuka Oval in Canberra held between January 27-30, 2022.

What a breathtaking Test match that was. One wicket to go, fielders crowding around the bat, and an anti-climactic full toss. Match Drawn, a befitting result to the great battle between the two teams over four days.

This was Heather Knight’s Test (168* & 48), but there were so many other moments in the game—Haynes 86-Lanning’s 93, plenty of 50s, Katherine Brunt’s 5-fer, the Knight-Ecclestone partnership, Australia’s middle order, declarations, the Sciver-Dunkley assault, Beth Mooney’s catch, and Alana King’s marvelous debut. Relive the last day highlights here.

The Interview

I would like to take a moment to thank Vandit for doing this interview. He has been an ardent follower of the Broken Cricket Dreams Blog from Day 1. Love the interaction, comments, and suggestions! Thank you for all the support 😊

Vandit is a lifelong follower of cricket and holds deep analysis about each and every aspect of the game. His statistical skills are second to none and as some of you may know, so are his prediction skills. Without further ado, here is my dear friend Vandit—Women’s Ashes Test experience, hopes and dreams, discussion on Ganguly-Dhoni-Kohli, and more. Expect a hint of philosophy as well🔥🔥

1. What days of the Women’s Ashes Test did you attend?

Day 2 and Day 4.

2. What was your overall feel & atmosphere of the ground, especially with that ending.

There was good support. The ground wasn’t anywhere near full, but there must have been a couple of thousand people. That’s more than enough to create an atmosphere. The noise and support inside a stadium is something else. If you want to watch every ball and soak in every detail of the match, it’s better to watch on TV because you get all the best camera angles and all kinds of replays. For instance, if you’re watching at the ground from square leg, it’s hard to tell how much the ball is swinging, seaming, or turning.

But if you want to feel the atmosphere, nothing beats going to the ground. ‘Fan parks’ or ‘mass viewing areas’ might come close for atmosphere but the ground itself is something else, because there are people shouting suggestions and praise at the players,

Keep up the pressure, girls’ or ‘Just a wicket away.’

But there was also appreciation for opposition performances, particularly Heather Knight’s century in the first innings. The massive roars the fall of a wicket in the final session, particularly Darcie Brown’s LBW dismissal of Heather Knight and Beth Mooney’s catch at deep midwicket off Alana King to dismiss Sophia Dunkley stood out.

3. What are you looking forward for in the Women’s World Cup?

A competitive, exciting World Cup hopefully. Australia will probably win. A competitive tournament with India going far would be great for the game at the stage.

4. Thoughts on the Women’s IPL?

Looking forward to a Women’s IPL. There’s more than enough talent for a quality competition, and we’ve seen the Big Bash. And now that it’s in the pipeline, that’s good news for cricket.

5. Any Opinions 4-Day Tests in Women’s Cricket?

I think 4 days is okay to start off, since most first-class games are played over 4 days. They don’t play much domestic red ball cricket anyway, so going from limited overs domestic to 5-day Test is quite a jump. More important thing to be addressed for women in the number of tests.

6. How many other live matches have you attended/any particular memories?

Attended another couple of matches but a long time ago. An India vs Zimbabwe ODI in the VB Series in 2004, when Zimbabwe regularly competed strongly against the top sides stands out, a close finish with India winning by 3 runs.

7. Describe your playing career.

Used to play for school until early high school but stopped. Recently started playing for the university’s club. One of the reasons is that fans should support cricket in any way possible, and getting involved in the game, scoring, umpiring, playing, coaching, anything is good. Definitely encourage people to join their local club. If nothing is available close by, start something or just play with a group for fun, if not competitively.

Also Read: Avinash’s Cricket Journey: an Interview

Photos from the Women’s Ashes Test at the Manuka Oval

Here are some pictures from his stands at the Manuka Oval.

8. Favorite IPL team?

Chennai.

9. What were your major takeaways from the IPL Mega Auction?

I will be following the first round of the Ranji Trophy instead.

10. Broken Cricket Dream?

Not really any particular broken dream. But most kids who play cricket do dream of playing for the country, but it was far-fetched. If I had played at a higher level, would have liked to bowl medium pace and be a useful batsman at 8.

11. How Has Cricket Helped You?

Cricket is obviously a great way to stay active and do so as a part of a team. In some way it is also a social activity which allows you to interact with others in a way that more individual sports like cycling or running don’t.

12. What Have You Learned From Cricket?

Being a team sport, cricket forces you to contribute as part of a group in different ways.

Of course, while batting, you want to stay out there and score runs, but even when you aren’t on strike, you want to run hard for your partner’s runs and be observant about the opposition’s bowling, fielding, and the condition of the wicket. That way, you’re contributing all the time, not just when you’re on strike.

And when you’re bowling, of course you want to keep it tight or take wickets but even when you aren’t, you want to save every run in the field, take a catch or effect a run out and keep the pressure up for the other bowlers.

That way cricket forces you to give your all at all times, not just when your stats are stake.

13. Cricketing Heroes and What You Have Learned from Them?

Sourav Ganguly for his fearless approach and want to take on the opposition in their home conditions; always having the fight even if the odds or history aren’t in your favour.

MS Dhoni for his calmness on the field, never too flustered by on-field happenings. This discussion is excellent.

Virat Kohli for his passion and emotion, especially earlier in his career. A lot of people didn’t like that version of Kohli but just replays of how angry or disappointed he’d be when he used to get out and that’ll tell you how much he wanted to do well.

14. Broken Cricket Dream as a Fan?

I’ve read BCD articles since the beginning and have always enjoyed them. With some articles having a different twist, especially the philosophical considerations, BCD links cricket to life. It can be easy to follow a sport as just a sport and nothing else, and maybe that’s how it’s meant to be, but it’s hard to ignore the parallels between cricket and life, and lessons to be learnt from great cricket performances and great cricketers.

BCD provided just that.

Here are some of Vandit’s favorite BCD articles:

  1. Top 10 Life Lessons From India Vs Australia 2020: Courage, Character, Resilience
  2. Cricket’s Reflections of Passion
  3. Top 10 Life Lessons From IPL: Beauty of Cricket
  4. What If Flintoff Kept His Cool to Yuvraj Singh?

Thanks for checking out Vandit’s interview about the Women’s Ashes Test! Consider subscribing below and following Broken Cricket Dreams’ other social media platforms. It will be a big boost to us so we can continue to create this type of content. All you need to do is to type your email address below and hit subscribe.

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Top Commentary Highlights

What is the first thing that comes in your mind when you think of cricket highlights? Fast bowling wickets compilation? Catches Win Matches? Stylish Cover drives?

How about classic commentary highlights? Well, today we will discuss exactly that!

Last week, we created a Fantasy team of Commentators XI. Harsha Bhogle was our team captain, Gaurav Kapur the opener, and the dynamic duo of Simon Doull and Pommie Mbangwa as the fast bowlers.

So naturally we asked our Twitter audience to respond with #BestCommentary for:

  • Best #IPL2020 Commentary Highlights
  • Most Favorite Iconic Cricket Commentary Memory

Commentators come in all shapes and sizes—a few serious, others insightful, and some extremely hilarious.

Who is your favorite commentator? Bill Lawry, Michael Holding, Tony Greig, Ian Bishop, Richie Benaud, Ravi Shashtri? COMMENT BELOW AND LET US KNOW!

Anyway, here are their twitter responses! So, sit back, relax, and watch some of the best cricket commentary videos!

There are lots of videos. Like a lot. Watch till the end for all the good ones.

The Tweets – Commentary Highlights

Here are the favorite IPL and cricketing memories from the fans in their own words. We have categorized the commentary in categories—The Jaw Drop, The Heartbreak, and The Critical, and then, some more.

The Jaw Drop feat Ravi Shastri

Here are some of the jaw dropping moments in recent cricketing history captured by iconic commentators.

1. Mohd Shamir Ansari (@ShamirMohd)

My Fav. #BestCommentary will be Ravi Shastri commentating on Yuvraj Singh Six sixes in an over to Stuart Broad in first T20 World Cup. And best #IPLT20 will be First time I saw sunny sir doing Hindi Commentary that was really an awesome moment for me

Yes Really It was very nice especially I was watching this match Live… So still remember those exciting sixes and commentary by Ravi Shastri.

What a great day for cricket. One just imagines what would have happened had Flintoff kept his cool to Yuvi that day?

2. Jonny (@Leathernwillow)

IPL comms just wash over me a bit. Sunny Gavaskar is the master of the box as much as he was at the crease, especially when he’s annoyed. KP’s ‘Pingo Pongo’ moments are fun. Best ever is Fazeer Mohammed “Why did he do that?!” to Gabriel’s brainfade against Yasir #BestCommentary

Try #RCBvSRH on 21 September as I checked and mentioned it that day. Also you’ve got to have Richie Benaud from Botham Headingley 1981 – “It went in to the confectionery stall and out again…”

3. Pratyush (@ps26_11)

For me, #BestCommentary All-Time – by Ravi Shastri Sir on India WC 2011 wining moment (Dhoni’s 6) ~ ” Dhoni finishes off in style..A magnificent strike into the crowd…India wins after 28 years…& it’s the Indian capt who’s been absolutely magnificent in the night of the final

Also Read: MS Dhoni and SK Raina Retire: An End of an Era

The Ian Bishop

Ian Bishop recently celebrated his 53rd birthday at the IPL. With Harsha Bhogle, Mark Nicholas, and JP Duminy, the banter among the group was hilarious!

He has had so many iconic moments in recent times, that he deserves a category by himself.

1. JustCricket (@justcricketblog)

My fav in #IPL2020 Bish, Danny M, Mark Nicholas, Sanga . All time Nasser H. Favorite moment :normally love all the 3rd man and Masterclass segments(Nasser and Murali) in sky sports. But generally I think it’s Bishop calling brathwaite and Ravi S in natwest series #bestcommentary

2. Rahul Kumar (@rahulk_1019)

Mine from ipl is AB v steyn(SRH one) 2014.. Simon doull & ramiz raja in comm… All time fav.. Bit biased, will select two: 1) Ravi shastri calling Dhoni’s six, wc 2011 final 2) Bish in manchester 2019 wc “Surely the hopes have been ignited enough for them to be extinguished!”

“Can he? Can he really?” “The dream has diminished for CB, here in manchesterrr..”

Watching late at night.. Was preparing for the exams..but couldn’t take my eyes off.. Even after the fall of 7th wkt.. For some reason didn’t switch it off… Treated with a phenomenal & memorable game.. The heart sank but was a special knock from brathwaitte..

Wow what a memory! The detail is impeccable. What would have happened had Boult dropped the catch?

Which Bish phrase is your favorite? Remember the Name“, ” The Dream is Alive”, or “The Dream is Diminished”?

The Heartbreak feat Ian Smith

1. My Favorite Commentary Highlight (@cricket_broken)
  1. Best #IPL2020 moment – Sanga-Mahela banter
  2. All-Time – “Grant Elliot – Superman! by Ian Smith

Joy for New Zealand, heartbreak for South Africa.

4 years later, heartbreak for New Zealand, joy for England. How the tables turn.

2. Arnob (@Arnobchitchats)

#BestCommentary for me is certainly by Ian Smith from CWC 2019 Final written below:-

“This is the moment – it’s Archer to Guptill. Two to win. Guptill’s got to push for two, they’ve gotta go! The throw’s gotta go to the keeper’s end. He’s got it! England have won the World Cup – by the barest of margins. By the barest of all margins.”#BestCommentary Chilling!

Want more New Zealand? Here is Starc’s 6-28 in that breathtaking finish.

The Critical

Not all commentary is hilarious or heartbreaking. Some commentary moments deal with serious cricketing issues.

  1. Vandit – West Indies T20 League Exodus

2011 Pakistan Vs West Indies ODI. The highlight was Michael Holding exclaiming, “I was told he played in the IPL this morning. I almost fell over. A feather duster could have knocked me over”

2. Here is another serious commentary by Michael Atherton and Nasser Hussain on Muhammad Amir’s comeback following the Spot Fixing ban. Do watch the full interview here.

The Best Commentary Highlights

1. Sparsh Telang (@_cricketsparsh)

#BestCommentary Harsha Bhogle: “Ladies and gentlemen, fasten your seat belts. We are ready for the take-off.” This was when AB started his innings with a bang in one IPL match.

Did not find the exact Harsha video but here is Harsha Bhogle at his very best.

2. Tony Greig – Sharjah Sachin Tendulkar

3. YouTube – Best Commentary
4. Richie Benaud – BBC Tribute

Here is the BBC Tribute to Richie Benaud’s marvelous career, both as a player and a commentator. Here are some of his other Benaud’s other best moments.

5. My Personal Favorite – That. Is. Very. Good.

Any other videos or memories? Comment below and send us your favorite commentary highlights!

What did you think of the videos, the tweets, and the article? Please let us know by commenting below. Subscribe to our blog for more such articles and follow us on twitter/facebook!

Also Read:

Sources: ICC, YouTube, IPLT20.com

Image Courtesy: Ravi Shastri – Bollywood Hungama, CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Twitter Special: IPL 2020 Predictions

IPL 2020 predictions time. The biggest festivity in T20 cricket has begun and every team has loads of supporters.

Who will it be? Will RCB finally get the crown? Can MI win in an even year? Can CSK’s Dads Army , KKR’s jammed middle order, or RR’s World Cup winners take them to the IPL trophy? Or will the lesser fancied SRH, KXIP, and the highly rated DC ?

Now that every team has played at least one game, we are releasing the #IPLPredictions by our Twitter followers.

We asked our viewers to respond to who they think will be IPL 2020’s:

  • #Champions
  • #OrangeCap
  • #PurpleCap
  • #FairPlay
  • #EmergingPlayer
  • #SurprisePackage

Forgot to send in your responses? Do not worry!

COMMENT Below with these # and we will post it on this page as well. We also have an ongoing poll throughout the IPL which IPL team will win.

*VOTE in the poll below the article (if mobile) or on the side bar (desktop).

It has only been 5 days, but boy, were we missing this. Three close games to start #IPL2020, a controversial run/not-run, and Dhoni at #7 and DK at the top debate once again. At the end of the one game, KXIP, KKR, and SRH are yet to trouble the points table, while MI have finally won their first game at the UAE.

Anyway, without further ado, here are the twitter predictions. We will see who was the closest at the end of the IPL!

My IPL 2020 Predictions

The Tweets

  1. Aviral Rai (@cric_fan23)
  • #Champions: CSK
  • #OrangeCap: KL Rahul
  • #PurpleCap: Yuzi Chahal
  • #FairPlay: SRH
  • #EmergingPlayer: Devdutt Padikkal
  • #SurprisePackage: Balwant Rai/Shahbaz Ahmad (RCB)

2. Pratyush (@ps26_11)

  • #Champions: SRH
  • #OrangeCap: Warner
  • #PurpleCap: Rashid Khan
  • #FairPlay: CSK
  • #EmergingPlayer: Abdul Samad
  • #SurprisePackage: Isuru Udana

3. JustCricket(@justcricketblog)

  • #Champions: Delhi Capitals
  • #OrangeCap: Virat Kohli
  • #PurpleCap: Kagiso Rabada
  • #FairPlay: CSK
  • #EmergingPlayer: Devdutt Padikkal
  • #SurprisePackage: Josh Philippe

4. Ansh Sharma(@Im_anshsharma)

  • #Champions: Delhi Capitals
  • #OrangeCap: KL Rahul
  • #PurpleCap: Ravi Ashwin
  • #FairPlay: Chennai Super Kings
  • #EmergingPlayer: Yashashwi Jaiswal
  • #SurprisePackage: Daniel Sams

5. Rahul Kumar (@rahulk_1019)

  • #Champions: KXIP
  • #OrangeCap: KL Rahul
  • #PurpleCap: Rashid Khan
  • #FairPlay: CSK
  • #EmergingPlayer: Ravi Bishnoi
  • #SurprisePackage: Dan Sams

6. Sourabh Sanyal (@sourabhsanyal)

  • #Champions: MI
  • #OrangeCap: KOHLI/KL
  • #PurpleCap: Chahal/Narine/Rashid
  • #FairPlay: SRH/CSK
  • #EmergingPlayer: Yashasvi
  • #SurprisePackage: Nagarkoti

7. Crazy Anand (@AnandHR_Odia)

  • #Champions: SRH
  • #OrangeCap: KL Rahul
  • #PurpleCap: Rashid Khan
  • #FairPlay: DC
  • #EmergingPlayer: Abdul Samad
  • #SurprisePackage: Sam Curran

8. Ganesh giri srt (@GaneshGiriSRT)

  • #Champions: SRH
  • #OrangeCap: Warner
  • #PurpleCap: Rashid
  • #FairPlay: SRH
  • #EmergingPlayer: Yashasvi
  • #SurprisePackage: Rutherford

9. CricIndeed (@CricIndeed)

  • #Champions: KXIP
  • #OrangeCap: KL Rahul
  • #PurpleCap: Imran Tahir
  • #FairPlay: DC
  • #EmergingPlayer: Shubman Gill
  • #SurprisePackage: Hardus Viljoen

10. Mohd Shamir Ansari (@ShamirMohd)

  • #Champions: DC
  • #OrangeCap: Virat Kohli
  • #PurpleCap: Rashid Khan
  • #FairPlay: RR
  • #EmergingPlayer: Yashasvi Jaiswal
  • #SurprisePackage: Alex Carey

11. The Hundred Report (@HundredReport)

  • #Champions: SRH
  • #OrangeCap: Kane Williamson
  • #PurpleCap: Adam Zampa
  • #FairPlay: KXIP
  • #EmergingPlayer: Riyan Parag
  • #SurprisePackage: Moeen(I believe!)

12. Sourav (@im_sourav146)

  • #Champions: KKR
  • #OrangeCap: KL Rahul
  • #PurpleCap: Y Chahal
  • #FairPlay: SRH
  • #EmergingPlayer: Shubman Gill
  • #SurprisePackage: Kamlesh Nagarkoti

13. Vandit

  • #Champions: MI
  • #OrangeCap: KL Rahul
  • #PurpleCap: Mohammad Shami
  • #FairPlay: CSK
  • #EmergingPlayer: Devdutt Padikkal
  • #SurprisePackage: Sam Curran

14. The Cricket Scholar (@lue_balo)

“The only thing I know is RCB won’t [be] in it”

15. Dan Cricket (@DanCricket93) Replying to The Cricket Scholar

“I’m supporting the Delhi Daredevils”

In that final conversation, there were mentions of the Deccan Chargers and Gujarat Lions as well. Kochi Tuskers Kerela anybody?

What Can We Learn?

It seems that DC and SRH are popular predictions for the winner. KL Rahul is the #OrangeCap favorite, while legspinners like Rashid Khan seems to be the popular #PurpleCap choice. Finally, Abdul Samad, Devdutt Padikkal (as he rightly showed on debut), and Yashasvi Jaiswal are the youngsters to watch out.

My favorite was the #SurprisePackage. Daniel Sams, Isuru Udana, and Moeen are among the picks for this category. Will any of them even get a game?

For me personally, in the KXIP vs DC game, my orange cap Mayank Agarwal was hitting my surprise package candidate Anrich Nortje, while Ravi Bishnoi had a decent game himself.

Who do you think will be the winner, orange cap and purple cap winners? Comment below, subscribe to this blog, and share ahead!

Let the games begin!

Sources: Twitter, IPLT20, ESPNCricinfo

Image Courtesy: Kagiso Rabada: NAPARAZZI / CC BY-SA 2.0

Twitter Special III: Dreams Lived

This week, we did our first interview at Broken Cricket Dreams, where Avinash shared his dreams lived of playing cricket.

This inspired us to do another article in our segment, Twitter Specials. #DreamsLived is also a response our first article in this segment, #BrokenDreams, where we shared several fans’ stories of their broken sports dreams.

We asked our viewers to respond with #DreamsLived in one of two ways:

  • If your dream of playing cricket (at any level) was realized, describe your story.
  • If not, what else did you do with your time? Did you pick up a new skill? A different sport? Maybe contributed as a fan or analyst?

Let us get started with a quote from the interview.

In our Broken Dreams section, we asked Avinash (@avinashvicky), “Any final thoughts on your dream lived?” and he responded with

“I could not imagine what I have done had I not played cricket all these years. My master’s would be something else, a completely different experience.”

Now to the tweets that was inspired by this interview:

The Tweets

  1. My Dreams Lived (@cricket_broken):

“Personally, I could not play cricket but became a violinist! Great experience.”

2. Mohd Shamir Ansari (@ShamirMohd):

“I too personally could not play cricket, But I never missed this beautiful game as I compensated it by playing it ‘Online Cricket Games’….”

3. Ansh Sharma (@Im_anshsharma):

“During my childhood I always wanted to become a cricketer But later obviously that could not happen

But now I do my own cricket analysis through various social media platforms

I am a journalism student now And now my dream is to become a sports journalist / anchor”

4. JustCricket (@justcricketblog):

“I playing in school and with local clubs in recent times. Apart from that watching cricket and discussing about it gives me as much joy. I too have played cricket games. My fav are ea cricket 2007 and now big ant studios playing in career mode which gives a fake sense of reality.”

5. Sparsh Telang (@_cricketsparsh):

“Being born in Virat Kohli’s era is a dream come true.”

That is just great! This is exactly the kind of stuff we are looking for.

Comment below on your #DreamsLived and share ahead. We would love to hear more such stories. Also, please SUBSCRIBE so you do not miss any articles!

What Can We Learn?

There are over a billion cricket fans in this world. At one point or another, each one has dreamt of hitting that winning shot, enjoying ecstatic moments in the winning huddles, or just playing the sport professionally.

Sometimes life does not go as planned, but “When one door closes, another opens.”

There is more than one way to live the dream. We can play cricket with our local club, at our universities, or the best form of the game—backyard gully cricket.

Nothing better than just spreading the love of the game in whatever way that is possible.

Sources: Twitter

Avinash’s Cricket Journey: an Interview

Today, we will be doing our first cricket interview at Broken Cricket Dreams! We have with us here Avinash, who is fulfilling his own broken cricket dream in the United States.

Avinash grew up playing cricket in his hometown of Hyderabad at various levels up till the undergraduate level, where he pursued a degree in aeronautical engineering. He then moved to the United States of America for his master’s degree. Even though he is far away from his home in India, he is one of many who have continued their passion for cricket in the U.S. He has since represented Iowa State University and the DSM Vikings Cricket Club and competed in tournaments such as the American College Cricket League, Heartland Cricket League, and Iowa Premier League.

Let us get to know the person and his journey of playing cricket.

The Who – Avinash

  • Batting Style: Right Hand Batsman
  • Batting Position: Top-Order
  • Bowling Style: Right Arm Medium-Fast
  • Fielding Position: Point, Long-Off/Long-On
  • Major Teams: Iowa State University (ISU) Cyclones, DSM Vikings Cricket Club, Young Guns
  • Nickname(s): Avi

Favorites

  • Favorite Sportsperson: Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli (Cricket), David Montgomery (NFL), Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney (soccer), Michael Schumacher (F1), Sania Mirza (Tennis)
  • Favorite Shot: “Straight Drive and Leg-Glance. I can play the leg-glance with my eyes closed.”
  • Favorite fielding play: “Love to pick the ball one-handed and throw.”

Highlights:

Team:

  • Spring T20 2021 HCL Runners-Up: ISU Cyclones
  • T30 Heartland Cricket Club (HCL) Champions: ISU Cyclones (2015-2017)
  • Challenger’s Cup T20 Champions: ISU (2018)
  • T20 Heartland Cricket Club (HCL) Champions: DSM Vikings (2019)
  • T30 Heartland Cricket Club (HCL) Runner-Up: DSM Vikings (2018)

Individual:

Avinash is enjoying a purple patch in the 2021 season as an all-rounder. He is currently third in the player of the tournament ranking in the ongoing T30 tournament. He is also shouldering the responsibility of a captain this season around.

  • HCL T30 2021: 5 Matches, 145 runs, 2-50s, best of 72, 36.25 average, 136.79 strike rate, 2 wickets, 6.55 economy
  • HCL T20 2021: 9 Matches, 12 wickets (highest of tournament), 14.42 average, 7.92 economy, 179 runs (8th highest), 22.38 average, 123.45 strike rate)
  • HCL T20 2019: 7 Matches, 160 runs, 4 Not Outs, 53.33 average, 111.11 strike rate
  • HCL Challenger Trophy: 3 Matches, 68 runs, 2 Not outs, 68.00 average, 130.77 strike rate

The How – First Memory

Q1. What was your first memory of playing cricket?

“My cousin was a Division A player in the Hyderabad domestic circuit. Whenever we visited his house, there were cricket kits, bats, and pads all around their house. As a kid, I liked to wear the cricket kit and shadow playing cricket shots.

I have watched several of his matches, and it inspired me to pick up the sport.”

Q2. What were your favorite memories of watching cricket in your childhood?

“I just remember waking up at 5 AM for any cricket game in my childhood. There were several memorable games, but the 2003 India vs Pakistan game was one of the best.

Also, the 2007 T20 World Cup had it all—Yuvraj six sixes, Sreesanth‘s bowled to Matthew Hayden from around the wicket, and of course, the final.”

Q3. Have you ever watched a cricket match live?

“I was present when Tendulkar hit 175* at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium but unfortunately had to leave before the ending. Other than that, I have watched a couple of test matches there against New Zealand and Australia along with a few IPL games.

My favorite IPL memories was witnessing the pace of Brett Lee at the Somerset vs KKR 2011 CLT20 game and watching Rahul Dravid in the RR vs SRH game.”

The When – Early Days

Q4. When did you start playing cricket?

“I first started playing cricket for around 2nd or 3rd grade, but the real practice I had when I played everyday with two of my friends on the terrace of my house. It helped to develop my ground shots and playing in the V.

It was fun, there was a lot of banter, and whoever would win would be treated to pani-puris to top it off.

Q5. When did you start believing your ability could meet your passion?

From 10th grade. It was the first time I was playing in a leather ball match and went to open in a 15-over game. I stayed there till the end and got out as the 9th batsman in the 12th over. After that, the next couple of years, I played a lot of cricket, especially tennis-ball cricket.

In my bachelor’s years, I would play with people who would come from across the city every Sunday 7 AM-noon. There were so many people, we had to create 12-13 member teams.

My parents used to say that I had a hard time waking up for my classes, but to play cricket, I would wake up anytime—even at 6 AM on a Sunday morning.”

Q6. How was the college cricket scene at your university?

In the last couple of years of my bachelor’s, the matches were really competitive and fun. From February-April, it was basically a cricket fest out there.

“Our aerospace department had a very good team, and the highlight was winning the Intra-College championships in my 3rd and 4th year.

Q7. Do you have any stories from playing during your college days?

“Actually, the final match of the 3rd year championship was very interesting. There was sledging throughout the match but after we won, the situation got out of control. The opposition team broke our winning huddle with a full-on fight.

Next year, we were prepared and brought officials to the game, but this time, the other team had learned the lesson and walked off quietly after losing.”

Q8. Best performance?

“The 3rd-4th year, I had some really good matches. In the 4th year final, I came to bat early and stayed till the end. When the final ball was bowled, I ran three and was completely exhausted.

I did not realize this but my teammates started cheering from the pavilion that I had just made 50. My career in India ended with an unbeaten 50, so that was nice.”

The What – College Cricket in America

Before we get into Avinash’s own cricket journey in the U.S., let us learn some things about the cricket structure in America in his words.

Q9. At what levels have you played cricket in the U.S.?

“I played at the university level at Iowa State University between 2014-18, and for the last two years, I have played with the DSM Vikings Club.

The Iowa State team was one of the most diverse teams I have ever played in. There were people from India, England, Bangladesh, South Africa, Pakistan, Australia, Sri Lanka, and Nepal.

Q10. How many different types of tournaments are at the college and club level?

“Tape-Tennis (Indoor), Tennis-ball cricket (Outside), Leather-Ball cricket: T20, T30, T40. My favorite is T30. Gives me time to settle down and score.”

Q11. What are some tournaments you have participated in college cricket?

“Iowa State Premier League (ISPL), Midwest League and the American College Cricket League in Florida with ISU and Heartland Cricket League with Vikings club.”

American College Cricket League is a national tournament with about 32-36 teams that compete in Florida. I competed in this league for a couple of years, and we even got to play at the Ft. Lauderdale stadium, where West Indies have played some international games.

The ISPL was also pretty interesting. There were 8 teams made of 5 ISU students, 1 professors XI, and 2 guest teams. For the 5 student teams, team selection was based on virtual bidding.

The Now – The Journey in America

Q12. First Match in the U.S.?

“First official match in U.S. was Iowa State in a leather ball game – ISU Cyclones vs Cedar Rapids Kings at Seminole Valley Park. Scored 14 runs and ran-out my teammate.”

Q13. Best Moments?

With Iowa State, I was a part of a team that won 3 back-to-back championships 2015-2017. In that team, I had to bat lower down the order since everyone was just so good. After 2017, I moved to the middle order, and the last two years, I have been playing 1 Down with the Vikings.

A fun moment was in 2015, when I was fielding in the slips, and we did ‘proper dignified sledging’ to the opposing captain, who was batting then. A few balls later, he did a ‘well left’ and got clean bowled.

Personally, the 2018 T20 Challenger’s cup and the 2019 T20 season was my best. Given my gameplay, I am not someone who is expected to hit six sixes, but in one match I hit a fast bowler 6,6,2,4,1 that season.”

Q14. Lowest Moments?

“Lowest moments are always when I get out, especially when I am playing well.

But exactly a year ago today, September 7, 2019, I suffered a finger injury in the final of the tournament and could not bat for the team.

Earlier in the season, our team won the T20 league. We won all the games convincingly and hardly anyone below 2-down had a chance to bat. In the T30 tournament, I was one of the more experienced batsman in the team, being the 3rd most capped in leather ball cricket.

Finger injury ruled me out of the rest of the game, and our team fell short of 30 runs.

Q15. Any other activities you were involved with cricket?

“I was involved as the Secretary in our Cricket Committee at Iowa State and got the experience to publicize cricket through various events like ClubFest at Iowa State University.”

The Wow – Reflection

Q16. Reflection on Cricket in the U.S.?

“The quality of cricket here is way better than expected where cricket is still an evolving sport, especially universities. Every city you will find at least 100 such people like me who want to play professional cricket.

Also, there is a lot of diversity in the cricketers here. Apart from the subcontinent, I have played with people from England, South Africa, the Caribbean islands and Nepal, Bhutan, and Afghanistan to name a few.”

Q17. How has cricket helped you?

“Cricket has helped me both professionally and personally. My circle has increased because of it, and there are several networking opportunities.

As I mentioned earlier, cricket has helped me culturally, meeting people with various backgrounds. I have also got to travel to several places like Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Michigan, Omaha, and at the Central Boulevard Park (Ft. Lauderdale).”

Q18. What have you learned from cricket?

“I have learned to stay calm. When you are calm, you have a lot of ideas. When you become aggressive, you run out ideas.”

“You get lots of suggestion coming around when you are on the field. You have to choose what to pick. It is easier to comment than to execute.”

Q19. Cricketing heroes and what you have learned from them?

“Ganguly – captaincy/leadership, Dravid – concentration/patience, Tendulkar – champion – there is nobody like him”

The Zow – Broken Cricket Dream?

Q20. What is your broken cricket dream?

“I was never coached. If I would have been coached, it would have taken things to another level. If I were in India, I would also have continued.”

Q21. Broken Cricket Dream as a fan?

“As an Indian cricket fan, 2003, 2007, and 2019 World Cups along with the 2017 Champions Trophy. The 2003 Final was so one-sided after such a great run.”

Q22. Any final thoughts on your dream lived?

“I could not imagine what I have done had I not played cricket all these years. My master’s would be something else, a completely different experience.”

Future/Conclusion

Q23. How long will you continue to play cricket?

“As long as possible. Several 44-45 year olds play in the leagues here, so still have at least 15-16 years.”

Q24. Any advice for budding cricketers in the U.S.?

“If you want to pursue full-time, stay in warmer states so can play year-long. There are indoor facilities in some of the bigger cities like Chicago, but playing year-long outdoors is always better.”

Q25. Final question—Favorite IPL Team for 2020?

SRH and RCB.”

Well, let us thank Avinash for doing this interview and sharing his journey with us. Please share, subscribe, and comment below on your own cricket dreams and experiences.

Also, to learn more about cricket in the U.S., check out the sources linked below! We will leave you with some more pictures of Avinash’s cricket journey.

Sources: USA Cricket, CricClubs, American College Cricket League

Image Courtesy: American College Cricket

Twitter Special II: # First Memory

First Memory of MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina

Earlier this week, MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina hung their boots. Tributes flew from all over the world, cricketers from different countries, and fans on Twitter.

This week on Twitter Special, we did a #FirstMemory reflecting on our first memory of MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina respectively.

Here are some of the responses we have received so far. Enjoy the ride and comment below on your own #FirstMemory of Dhoni and Raina.

The Tweet I – My Memory

1. Broken Cricket Dreams (@cricket_broken):

“MSD: Listening to radio commentary between Ind-SL on roadtrip when Dhoni hit 183.

Raina: Obstructing the field to Inzamam-Ul-Haq

#Dhoniretires #RainaRetires

The Tweets II – MS Dhoni Special

2. Aviral Rai (@cric_fan23):

“My first memory of MS DHONI which i can recall very fondly is…that Innings against Sri Lanka at Jaipur…I remember after returning from school…”

“I saw the scorecard of the Sri Lanka batting..it read as 298 runs after 50 overs…those days it was a massive total.. Everyone had the hopes that Sachin & Sehwag duo can change the things for India..As Indian Innings got underway..Sachin was dismissed in the very first over..”

“By Vaas after scoring 2 runs…it couldn’t have a been worse start than this…then walks MS DHONI in at number 3..We have seen what he can do against Pak at Vizag..but can he deliver under immense pressure in a massive run Chase…he started his Innings in blazing fashion..”

“Hitting Vaas over extra cover for 2 massive sixes…i was Literally amazed how easily he’s hitting those out of the park..then it was all MS show from there on…Smashed Farvez Maharoof for four just straight over the Umpires head…that was brute power..I tell you..”

He was hitting sixes with ease…bashed Upul Chandana all over the ground…hitting 10 sixes in an Innings those days were massive massive achievement..when he hit that winning six against Dilshan…whole India knew…this man is special.. he’s not afraid of the runs.”

“No pressure during run-chase..calm cool & composed…and he’s having the brute power..on his day he can murder any bowling line-up..from that day..I always wanted to see MS bat..as the time passed..his legacy continued to grow..and now as he has bid aideu to this game..”

“Only one thing I can say is…there can’t be another MS DHONI..the void will be always there…”He was once a generation player”

3. JustCricket (@justcricketblog):

“my first fond memory of msd was during the Pakistan series when Pervez Musharraf who was Pak president appreciated him and told him to keep the hairstyle. For Raina its not a particular match but his fielding stood out very early”

4. Vandit

“It was about a month later [of Dhoni’s 183], when we visited India, and my grandparents had saved some newspaper cuttings from that ODI series. I went through all of the newspapers, and this Dhoni innings stood out (India won that series 6-1 so it was hard for one thing in particular to stand-out).

“I remember adding up the number of runs he made from boundaries and realising he made as many runs from sixes as from fours (unheard of at the time). But I only thought of him as a wicketkeeper batsman and would never have imagined the impact he would eventually have with his captaincy.”

The Tweets III – SK Raina Special

5. Aviral Rai (@cric_fan23) – II:

“Coming on to Raina…his first memory which i can recall is his match Winning Innings against England at Faridabad in 2006… India were chasing 230 odd runs and We were at 92/5..then MS & Raina joined in the Middle…MS played the supporting role to Raina in that game…”

“Very fluently Raina took the attack to the English bowlers…on his day Raina was a pure match winner in the shorter formats..and that was his day..that day he announced to the World Cricket that a guy from UP is going to be a hero in the future…he made 81* in that game…”

“And took India to a victory in that tough run Chase…till 2008..his place in the side was not fixed..after that Asia Cup in 2008..where he tonked then second fastest hundred by an Indian against Hong Kong..he was a permanent member in the side…”

“That was my #FirstMemory of those two legends..hope you enjoyed reading this…Thanks mate…”

6. itz_raghav_(@RJ_Ra_gh_av)

@ImRaina “I remember the day when you scored your first century (2008), I was 7 years old ……when u got out I write your name in my hand and keep telling everyone that Raina hits a hundred #firstmemory. Thanks for the millions of memories u gave us to celebrate.” #rainaretires

That is all from this week! Share your own #FirstMemory or #BrokenDreams in the comments below! And as always, share with your friends, subscribe, and follow us on Twitter!

Sources: Twitter