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Top 10 Life Lessons From IPL: Beauty of Cricket

What is life without its beautiful life lessons?

As nineteenth-century philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once said, “Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.”

In this age of fast-paced technology and instant gratification, we sometimes focus too much on day-to-day activities and forget to appreciate life at the fullest. Here at Broken Cricket Dreams, we seek inspiration in our lives from cricketing events, relive childhood memories, and share our broken dreams.

Earlier, we did a piece on Cricket’s Reflections of Passion, where we discussed how each and every cricket is motivational in their own right, whether they have played 100 tests or just one. Similarly, today we discuss the life lessons from from IPL 2020.

IPL is a tournament where dreams come true. T. Natarajan, Mohammad Siraj, Yashasvi Jaiswal, the Afghan duo of Rashid and Nabi, and architect Varun Chakravarthy are just few of the countless examples. Their journeys are already so inspirational, even before taking the IPL in consideration.

This year has been different though due to the pandemic. IPL 2020 has provided the fans an ounce of relief that was needed. Here are 10 life lessons that IPL 2020 has provided us.

Table of Contents

The Life Lessons

1. Soil Fertile Elsewhere

Moment: IPL moving to the UAE

With the growing pandemic situation in India, it was never feasible to hold a full-fledged IPL there. The BCCI took the bold decision and moved it to UAE, putting all the safety precautions in place. Hats off to all the organizers, staff, commentators, and players for making this happen.

Seeds need the right environment to grow, and sometimes the soil is fertile elsewhere. In this case, soil was literally fertile elsewhere. It is completely okay to acknowledge that and nurture the seed where it is best poised for growth. So how can we apply this in our lives?

Life Lesson 1: Spread goodness and good ideas. Recognize that you will not be the center of attention all the time. Sometimes just stepping aside, encouraging others, and lending them a hand is just as important.

2. The Audacity of Hope

Moment: Rahul Tewatia’s heroics

After struggling at 17 (23) in a mammoth chase of 226, Tewatia roared back with 5 sixes in an over against Sheldon Cottrell ending with 53 (31). The initial struggle even provoked the commentators to propose the ‘retire out’ option.

He battled and stayed in the game. Only someone with immense self-confidence and inner mental strength could overcome such pressure. This reminded me of Barack Obama’s iconic 2004 Democratic National Convention keynote address:

“Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope.”

This is exactly what Rahul Tewatia has taught us this season.

Life Lesson 2: When life gives you lemons, weather the storm with the best of your abilities and come back with a bang. Hang in there. Before thinking of quitting, reflect on why we came into the profession in the first place.

3. Rise Like a Phoenix

Moment 1: KXIP need 1 off 3, Mayank Agarwal fails to close the chase after a brilliant 89. DC win the Super Over.

Moment 2: The Double Super Over – Agarwal comes in clutch with a brilliant save and hits the winning runs with 8* (2).

Although he could not take KXIP across the line in the first attempt, he learned from his mistakes and made amends the second time around.

One of the stories of IPL 2020 was Mayank Agarwal. His toil in domestic cricket is well recorded. After years of piling the runs without national selection, he finally made it to international cricket.

Life Lesson 3: It is not the end till the end. Disappointments will occur. The important thing is to learn from this setback, not drag on the disappointments, and come back stronger.

4. Make Most of Your Opportunities

Moment: Anukul Roy and J. Suchith, aka specialist substitute fielders of IPL 2020.

They both changed games themselves by taking diving catches at crucial junctures of the game. In Hindi, Anukul means favorable. Throughout the tournament, he did just that—made situations favorable for himself.

Life Lesson 4: It is easy to get disheartened when you are on the sidelines or not getting that promotion, but you never know. Always be prepared. When your opportunity arrives, cash in. This may be the moment you have prepared all your life.

5. Synergy Above All

Moment: Team spirit of SRH and MI pushes them to the the playoffs (and championship)

Synergy is defined as “the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of individual elements, contributions, etc” [1]. Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians were prime examples of this phenomenon in this tournament.

SRH were dealt with injury blows all throughout the tournament—Mitchell Marsh, Vijay Shankar, Wriddhiman Saha, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Kane Williamson on and off. Just take a look at SRH’s man of the match winners:

Rashid Khan, Priyam Garg, Jonny Bairstow, Manish Pandey, Wriddhiman Saha, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, and Kane Williamson.

Notice something? David Warner, Jason Holder, Abdul Samad do not even feature in this list.

Similarly, MI had contributions from each team member. Even the little contributions from Jayant Yadav in the final and Suryakumar Yadav’s sacrificial run-out for the betterment of the team turned out to be momentous.

Life Lesson 5: Teamwork, harmony, unity is more important than just individual contributions. This can be applied to sports, work, or education. Invest in collaborative efforts.

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6. Small Hole Can Sink a Ship

Moments: 5 Super Overs including 3 in one day

With plenty of Super Overs and Double Super Overs, this IPL was not short of excitement. Catches win matches, direct hits changes games. Still holds true. Given that the points table were extremely close at the end, these super overs may have changed some fates.

Life Lesson 6: Focus, Focus, Focus. Every moment matters, every detail matters. It is easy to be complacent and declare victory prematurely, but a small mistake can come back to haunt you.

7. Carry Old Baggage At Your Own Risk

Moment: Delhi Capitals and the Chennai Super Kings

Delhi Capitals were on a roll for the first half of the tournament, but they lost momentum drastically. Shikhar Dhawan and Marcus Stoinis blew hot and cold, ranging from match winning contributions to absolutely nothing. Holding on to older performances may have hindered DC to rise to the next level.

Another team that held on too long? CSK. Their old stars carried the baggage and credentials for maybe one season too long.

Life Lesson 7: Keep on Improving. Holding on to past performances, and achievements may hinder your present. Stay in the present, and “keep it simple, stupid.”

8. When One Era Closes, Another Opens

Moment: Dale Steyn and CSK on the way out, Padikkal, Garg, Gaikwad, and co. come to the party

Sports can provide legendary status to some during their careers. Dale Steyn and MS Dhoni are legends and will always remain so. IPL 2020 confirmed that their careers were on the last lap, and honestly it was a sad sight.

On the other hand, the Indian youngsters showed promise. They were so good, we could even make an uncapped XI out of them.

Life Lesson 8: Transitions are a part and parcel of life. Sometimes it is hard to let go, but it is going to be okay. We can relieve the old memories, but moving on at the right time is crucial.

9. Fix Roof When Sun Is Shining

Moment: Warning to Indian cricket for the future

The talent emerging in Indian cricket is tremendous. With nurturing from U-19, India A, and IPL squads and mentorship with people like Rahul Dravid, these cricketers are already a ready, mature product.

Although we have to take care of these youngsters, both physically and mentally, the BCCI needs to make sure these talents do not go wasted.

Mayank Agarwal barely made it, talents like Manish Pandey and Rishabh Pant have been mishandled, and Suryakumar Yadav is in the danger of not being selected in his prime.

Indian cricket needs to take the right decisions when the time is good. Otherwise, semi-final losses will become an excruciating pattern…

Life Lesson 9: Make hay when the sun shines. Everyone goes through high and lows. Just make sure to capitalize when the going is good, because it will not remain so forever.

10. Sportsmanship and Passion for the Game

Moment: Harsha Bhogle’s quote of the IPL, “That is what sport should be about. There is humanity off the field; competition on it and the two are never at odds with each other”

Sport is tough and competitive in nature, but outside of the stadium, all the players are human. The T20 leagues have definitely helped in building relationships across boundaries, and it would be great if cricket is actually played like the ‘gentleman’s game.’

Finally, without spectators, the will of the players was on display in IPL 2020. They played for the love of the game. The players did their best and competed with complete energy even without any external applause.

Life Lesson 10: Internal Motivation vs External Motivators – One should always give their best without expecting in return. Just keep on improving, give it your all, and leave the rest.

If this happens with the sportsmanship, then we have a win-win situation here. I would like to leave you with:

What is life without cricket? What is cricket without the life lessons?

Let us know which life lessons were your favorite in the COMMENTS below.

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Life Lessons Inspired by conversations with Dad

Sources: [1], [2], [3] Cricinfo
Image Courtesy: Sourav Ganguly.jpg: Hashir Milhanderivative work: Legolas2186, CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

IPL 2020: The Dream Teams

With the end of IPL 2020, fans and experts chipped in with their choices of the Dream Teams. Recently, social media went ablaze with Virender Sehwag’s highly debated IPL XI. Virat Kohli and David Warner at 4 and 5—it is easy to see why that was the case.

So I decided to join the party!

Here is my IPL XIs, with a couple of twists, of course.

Today’s Twist:

I will build two IPL Dreams today—the Obvious XI and the Non-Obvious XI. The goal is to see if my team could beat the Obvious Team of the Tournament. Here are the rules:

  • Have at least one uncapped player in each team
  • The IPL rules apply – 4 foreign players maximum
  • A wicketkeeper and 5 bowling options are necessary
  • The Obvious XI will contain the winners of the Orange Cap, Purple Cap, and MVP awards
  • The two teams should not have any overlap.

The Catch:

In IPL 2020, the foreign fast bowlers were on fire—Jofra Archer, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, but how many can you fit in? Additionally, the Indian squad have prolific wicketkeeper batsmen, but will all of them make it?

Tough choices to make…

IPL XI – The Dream Teams

The Non-Obvious XI

Here is my choice — the not-so-obvious Dream Team.

*Note: Bolded players represent the foreign players

  1. Mayank Agarwal
  2. Wriddhiman Saha (WK)
  3. David Warner (C)
  4. Suryakumar Yadav (U)
  5. Kane Williamson
  6. Sam Curran
  7. Rahul Tewatia (U)
  8. Anrich Nortje
  9. Thangarasu Natarajan (U)
  10. Varun Chakravarthy (U)
  11. Mohammad Shami

*WK – Wicketkeeper, C – Captain, U – Uncapped

In the batting front, this team has sparkling openers, the experience of Warner and Williamson, Suryakumar Yadav’s flamboyance, and Sam Curran/Tewatia as floaters.

With Sam Curran and Shami as the opening swing bowlers, Nortje as the pace spearhead, Natarajan as the designated death bowler, the mystery of Varun, and the leg-spin of Tewatia, the bowling line-up is balanced. If necessary, even cool Kane Williamson can role over his arm.

The Obvious XI

  1. Shikhar Dhawan
  2. KL Rahul (WK)
  3. Devdutt Padikkal (U)
  4. AB De Villiers (C)
  5. Ishan Kishan
  6. Hardik Pandya
  7. Rashid Khan
  8. Jofra Archer
  9. Kagiso Rabada
  10. Jasprit Bumrah
  11. Yuzvendra Chahal

*Orange Cap (Most Runs), Purple Caps (Most Wickets), Most Valuable Player (MVP)

With left-right hand combination (overrated but still) till No. 6 and bowling line-up of the decade, this is a pretty strong team. So, you decide, can my team defeat the Obvious XI?

Jofra Archer vs. David Warner, anybody? COMMENT BELOW AND LET US KNOW! Let us know of your IPL XI as well!

Honorable Mentions:
  • Quinton De Kock, Trent Boult, Jason Holder, Ben Stokes, Marcus Stoinis, Faf du Plessis, Kieron Pollard, Chris Gayle, Abdul Samad, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi

I had a tough time leaving QDK and Boult out. Both were magnificent, but the 4-foreign player quota came into the equation.

Notice something? None of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, or Shreyas Iyer (captains of 3 of the top 4 teams) make it into either of my XIs or the honorable mentions.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this…COMMENT BELOW AND LET US KNOW! Also share ahead and subscribe to our email list below:

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This was a peculiar tournament in terms of player performance. While the foreign players and the Indian uncapped players impressed, the current and former Indian players disappointed.

Although Dhawan, Kohli, and Iyer were among the runs, none of them looked consistently convincing. Similarly, former IPL stars like Robin Uthappa and 2019 World Cup squad members — Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni, Vijay Shankar, Kedar Jadhav, and Kuldeep Yadav — all had a sub-par season.

On the other hand, a 15-member squad could be created out of the impressive uncapped youngsters themselves:

  • Padikkal, Gaikwad, Kishan, Suryakumar, Garg, Samad, Sharma, Nagarkoti, Mavi, Bishnoi, Varun, Natarajan, Arshdeep, Tyagi, Prasidh Krishna

IPL 2020 was the beginning of the end of the 2007 T20 World Cup and IPL 2008 era. The early stars are slowly fading away in the background, while the newer generation are storming to the forefront.

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Image Courtesy: Getty, Suryakumar Yadav – Sirshak9927, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

What If India Won 2017 ICC Cricket World Cup?

Today’s Scenario: Mithali Raj Lifts the 2017 Cricket World Cup

In our segment Just Imagine, we explore how a specific moment in cricket could have lasting ripple effects. Going back in time, we ask a simple question: What Would Happened if…? and reflect on its consequences.

What if Brathwaite’s Dream Was Not Diminished in Manchester in the 2019 Cricket World Cup? What if Freddie Flintoff Kept his Cool to Yuvraj Singh in the 2007 T20 World Cup?

Since the Women T20 Challenge is in full flow among the teams—Trailblazers, Velocity, and the Supernovas, we imagine what would have happened if India had not collapsed against England in the 2017 Cricket World Cup Final?


England vs India, July 23rd 2017, Final, Lord’s, London, ICC Women’s World Cup


The 2017 Cricket World Cup was a watershed moment in several ways for women’s cricket. It was widely broadcasted and viewed, the matches were highly competitive, several remarkable individual performances were on show, and to cap it off—an intense final.

The hosts were favorite to win the trophy, while India captured the imagination of the world during the tournament.

In the group stages, India had won 5/7 games while brushing Australia aside in the semi-finals thanks to Harmanpreet Kaur’s magnificent 171*—maybe the best world cup innings by an Indian in a semi-final, certainly in the last decade. On the other hand, England squeaked past the Proteas with 2 balls to spare. Their only defeat in the tournament coming at the hand of India via Smriti Mandana’s elegant 90.

The final was a classic low-scoring thriller. Ebbs and flows throughout.

England scored 228/7. In response, Mandana and Raj fell cheaply before Punam Raut and Kaur stabilized and registered 50s.

India now in control….Or at least, we thought.

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The Moment:

Chasing 229, India are sitting comfortably at 191-3.

38 needed off 44 balls. Punam Raut 86* (114), Veda Krishnamurthy 28* (28). Then, next ball, there is an appeal for LBW…

What Actually Happened:

42. 5 Shrubsole to Raut OUT:

Punam has asked for a review but the umpire says sorry, you took too long. Do England have wink of an opportunity? This was the wrong shot. Length ball sliding in from wide of the crease, Punam plays all around the delivery. Looked to work it square when he could’ve played in down the ground. Hit on the knee roll. That would’ve gone on to hit the stumps. Has she done enough though?

[Source: Cricinfo commentary]

What followed was an absolute collapse. Anya Shrubsole’s 6 wicket haul grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat.

India fell agonizingly 9 runs short with 8 balls still remaining.

Highlights: England trumps India in tense World Cup Final

Just Imagine:

If Punam Raut had straight batted the shot, or if the DRS review was called in time, and the decision (magically) overturned, what would have happened?

The Consequence:

Punam Raut hits an unbeaten century in the final. Veda seals the deal with an exquisite six.

Jhulam Goswami, the star with 3 wickets on the final, and captain Mithali Raj retire as World Cup winners. The 2017 squad return as legends. Their stories now etched in stone along with the 1983 and 2011.

The BCCI want to capitalize as usual.

They have a template—2007 T20 World Cup and the 2008 IPL. Upon the Indian men’s victory, the experiment of IPL turned into an unprecedented success, changing the global cricket game forever.

They have an opportunity again.

The Women’s IPL launches in 2018. All the world cup heroes are in their prime. Raj captains the Chennai Super Kings, Harmanpreet the marquee player for Kings XI Punjab, and Mandhana starring for the Mumbai Indians. With foreign players such as Heather Knight, Nat Sciver, and the world’s greatest Ellyse Perry, the WIPL is a financial and global success.

This T20 experience gained helps Indian women win the 2020 T20 World Cup defeating Australia in their background in front of a 86,174 crowd at the MCG.

Reflection – Inaction Trumps Imagination

Well, things did not turn out that way, did it?

Winning and losing is part and parcel of the game. Yes, one moment can change histories, but sometimes if action is taken in the right time, it could pay dividends as well.

India’s performance had already delighted audiences around the world and Goswami-Mithali-Harmanpreet-Mandana were household names.

Why then, has the WIPL not been put into action?

It did not need to be an 8 team tournament. A 5-6 team tournament would be wonderful as well. In 3 years, teams would have stabilized, rivalries and fanbase would have fostered, and ultimately, women’s cricket would have benefitted.

Instead, we are watching the 3rd T20 Women’s challenge as an afterthought of a 56 match exhausting Men’s IPL, just taking a break before the Playoffs. Meanwhile, most of the foreign players like Heather Knight, Alyssa Healy, and Ellyse Perry are employing their trade at the WBBL, and we are just waiting for the Hundred for a competitive world T20 women’s league.

With the likes of Shefali Verma, Deepti Sharma, and Jemimah Rodrigues, India’s future is still bright, but by the time WIPL commences, India women’s stars would have already retired.

Photo of Jemimah Rodrigues
Jemimah Rodrigues times a cover drive to perfection

Inspired By Conversations with Vandit and ESPNCricinfo’s Alternative Universe Series.

Sources: ICC, Cricinfo
Image Courtesy: Eng-Ind Final: BMN Network (Flickr) via CC 2.0, Jemimah Rodrigues: Bahnfrend, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The Magician With the Yorker – Umar Gul

What is the first image that comes in your mind when you think of a magician? Pulling a rabbit out of the hat? Doing a card trick? Walking on water?

For me, it is a fast in-swinging yorker that dips underneath the bat, surprises the batsman, and castles the stumps.

Let us look back at the magnificent career of someone who did exactly that, Umar Gul – The Magician With the Yorker.

Umar Gul’s retirement evoked an emotional response from all around the world following his final match at the National T20 Cup. Here is our take on Umar Gul’s most memorable moments, his legacy, and what we can learn from him.

COMMENT below on Your favorite Umar Gul memories, SHARE with your friends and family, and SUBSCRIBE below for more such articles.

If you love watching fast bowlers and stumps rattled, stay tuned. Several videos ahead! Watch till the end to listen to Gul in his own words.

The Beginning

Pakistan cricket is known for unearthing fast-bowling talents one after the other, especially left-arm quicks. Pakistan is world cricket’s pace bowling factory. Imran Khan and Sarfaraz Nawaz created a rich legacy.

Over the years, they have produced the intimidating Wasims, Wahabs, and Waqars, the breathtaking Shoaibs and Samis, and the gifted Asifs and Amirs. The list is endless. Recently, with the rise of Shaheen Shah Afridi and Naseem Shah, it never seems to stop.

Notice something?

Umar Gul, the architect of Pakistan’s 2009 T20 World Cup victory, is not even mentioned. That is exactly how Gul’s career panned—under the radar.

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Debuting in 2003, he burst onto the Test scene later in 2004 against India at Lahore with a brilliant 5-wicket haul and man of the match performance. Unfortunately, injuries kept him out of the squad until he cemented his place later between 2006-2012.

Amidst the artistry from the other end, the numerous controversies and turmoil, and the general ebbs and flows of Pakistan cricket, Umar Gul stayed a constant.

Regardless of whatever happened around him, he just kept swimming.

Pinned his yorkers—day in and day out, consistently took wickets, and bowled at the death.

The Statistics

The Highlights

  • 5th highest wicket-taker in T20I and 2nd highest for a fast-bowler
  • Highest Wicket taker in 2007 and 2009 T20 World Cup
  • Highest Wicket-taker for Pakistan in 2011 ODI World Cup
  • Features twice in top 10 T20I bowling figures – both 5/6 vs New Zealand and South Africa
  • 6th best T20I strike rate among all bowlers

The Stats

Tests: 47 matches, 163 wickets, 34.06 average, Best Innings – 6/135, Best Match – 9/134
ODIs: 130 matches, 179 wickets, 29.34 average, Best 6/42
T20Is: 60 matches, 85 wickets,16.97 average,14.1 strike rate, Best 5/6, 4 4-fors, 2 5-fors
T20s: 167 matches, 222 wickets, 20.16 average, Best 6/24, 9 4-fors, 3 5-fors

The Memory

Umar Gul and the first two T20 World Cups were inseparable. He took 13 wickets in each tournament, ending as the highest wicket-taker in both.

Although Pakistan did not win the 2007 final, his exploits in the world cup were scintillating. One of the moments of the tournament happened earlier when the long and silky haired Gul castled counterpart MS Dhoni.

My favorite memory of Umar Gul though is from the 2009 T20 World Cup. It was just a great World Cup to watch – Netherlands upsetting England courtesy Stuart Broad, the Dilscoop mesmerizing spectators on the international stage, and a clinical Pakistan team.

Gul’s best performance came at a crucial Super 8 stage, when he picked 5 for 6 against New Zealand, reducing them from 73-4 to 99 all out.


Due to his death bowling skills, Gul laid a solid platform which led Pakistan to go one step further this time around—winning a World Cup after 27 years.

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The Legacy

The IPL is the flavor of the season right now. Guess what? He even took 4-23 at the IPL with Kolkata Knight Riders in the inaugural season!

Gul was well and truly one of the premier fast bowlers from 2007-2012 across formats. His stellar 6-42 against England was judged as ESPNCricinfo’s Best ODI Bowling Performance of 2010.

He continued his form as Pakistan’s highest wicket-taker in the 2011 ODI World Cup and was a regular member of the international squad till 2013, when injuries began to halt his career. Unfortunately apart from a brief recall in 2016, Gul’s international career was over at the age of 32.

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Gul’s legacy is forever etched in stone with the 2009 World T20 triumph, but his impact in cricket is much more.

He taught the world how to bowl in T20 cricket.

These days, T20 leagues invest in “death-overs specialists” with the likes of Andrew Tye, Jasprit Bumrah, Chris Morris, and Shaheen Afridi, but this would not have been possible without Umar Gul’s contribution. He practically created that spot.

Although death bowling was his focal point, Gul was more than just yorkers.

He had the skills as a proper line and length pace Test bowler but evolved his art with reverse swing, bouncers, and most importantly, change of pace slower deliveries, which was uncommon at that time.

Only Lasith Malinga had a death-overs game to compete with Umar Gul and these two pioneered the art of death bowling in T20 cricket.

What Can We Learn?

Right in the middle of his career, Pakistan cricket entered a tumultuous period. Between 2008-2010, an attack on Sri Lankan cricketers, the 2010 spot-fixing saga, and home games shifting to the U.A.E. jolted Pakistan cricket.

As always, Umar Gul would adapt. New situation, new environment, new teammates. Mentorship has been one of his great characteristics throughout his career.

He partnered with the likes of Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, and Mohammad Irfan to transition to another era. In the dry tracks of UAE, they would find new tricks to the fast bowling trade, bringing life out of these pitches.

Adaptability is what makes Umar Gul great.

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He was not the fastest of the Pakistani bowlers, nor could he swing it like Asif, but he made sure to reinvent himself when the time was required. He was a shrewd and thinking cricketer. Always one step ahead of the batsman. Having a variety of skills is one aspect. Utilizing the skill at the right moment and varying it effectively—now that is what makes him great.

Animated on the field and quiet off the field, he did his duty. He changed cricket and inspired millions of budding cricketers around the world, mentoring youngsters in the domestic team even to the last day.

We can all learn from Umar Gul and apply these traits in our daily life as well. Change is the only constant in life, and we should learn to adjust accordingly. If we focus on the process and continue to improve our skills, there is no reason why we cannot compete with the best in the world.

Life will throw several challenges at you. You may get injured, have a bad day at the office, go through emotional turbulence, but do not worry.

Hang in there and just keep swimming as Umar Gul did.

What will I miss? Personally, I just adored Umar Gul’s action. It was fluent, uncomplicated, had a slight stop, but was straight to the point.

He was truly a magician.

Thank you, Umar Gul. Have a happy and healthy retirement.

Umar Gul in his Own Words

The best way to end this journey is Umar Gul in his own words. A wonderful send-off to a champion bloke. Listen below.

Sources: ESPNCricinfo, ICC,
Image Courtesy: Getty Images, Umar Gul – the junes, CC 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Faf du Plessis & AB De Villiers’ Friendship: Broken Dreams of Faf and ABD

In this world, nothing is certain except death, taxes, and South Africa failing to win a World Cup. Faf and ABD know this too well. South African fans know this too well. The 2015 semi-final still hurts (as if the 1999, 1992, 2007, and 2011 World Cups were not bad enough).

Just to rub salt in the wound, even England (and kind of New Zealand) won in 2019 while South Africa endured a dismal campaign.

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This image still resonates. Dale Steyn on his knee, Grant Elliot in a moment of great sportsmanship. On the other side, captain AB de Villiers in tears and Morne Morkel—completely shattered.

Faf and ABD: Tale of Two Heroes

Fast forward to September 2020. The IPL is back. So are Faf and ABD.

Usually it is the West Indians who dominate T20 leagues, but this IPL has been South Africa’s so far. In IPL 2020, Anrich Nortje has been a revelation, while Kagiso Rabada and Quinton de Kock continue to show the world why they are South Africa’s torchbearers to the next generation.

If you saw AB De Villiers’ finishing assault on Bumrah or Faf’s consistency in batting and acrobatic catches, you know that they still have it.

Initially, I was going to write two separate articles about Abraham de Villiers and Francois du Plessis, but that is not possible. You just cannot separate them. They are like brothers from another mothers. If AB is the graceful artist, Faf is the resilient leader. Both are legends of South African cricket.

Today we will talk their careers, their friendship, the heartbreak, what could have been, and what could still be.

While AB De Villiers has retired from international cricket (for the time being), Faf continues on. Can Faf fulfill the broken dream of ABD and win South Africa a trophy?

*as of 19 November 2021, AB De Villiers has retired from all cricket because “the flame no longer burns.” Faf Du Plessis himself was ignored from South Africa’s team for the 2021 T20 World Cup and has retired from Tests.

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*Please subscribe to never miss an article! Comment below on your favorite memories of ABD and Faf, and share ahead!

The Beginning

AB de Villers and Faf Du Plessis have been competing on and off the cricket field since middle school. They both went to the same school and university – Afrikaans High School (Affies) and University of Pretoria respectively. Over the years, their friendship has evolved with AB becoming Faf’s best man in his wedding.

Although their personal lives carried smoothly, their careers took vastly different routes.

The South African team under Graeme Smith was the only team that could challenge Australia at their home and would rise to the No.1 Test rankings. With the great Jacques Kallis, Boucher, Ntini, and Pollock, breaking into this team was not an easy task. AB was recognized early as a prospect and was tracked into the national team in 2004. In a couple of years’ time, he had established himself and by 2008, the Perth special guaranteed his journey into greatness.

On the other hand, Faf had to toil his way through domestic cricket, season after season. He even temporarily played in England with a Kolpak deal. Although Faf was becoming disillusioned, AB encouraged him to keep the hope alive with the imminent retirements of Smith and Kallis.

7 years after AB, finally Faf’s day came. It started with an epic.

Faf du Plessis had to wait for his turn in international cricket. When he did get his turn, he took his chance and followed a first innings 78 with a valiant fourth innings match-saving century against Australia in Adelaide.

The Stats

AB De Villiers

Ab De Villiers will go down as one of the All-Time greatest ODI players. Not only is his statistics out of the world – an average above 50 and strike rate above 100, it is the manner in which he changed the game. He was an innovator with his unconventional shots and created the idea of a “360 degree player.” A versatile cricketer, he could adapt to any format, situation, or challenge at hand. He could score 149*(44) or defend 43(354) in a blockathon. Apart from his batting, he can keep wickets, field in any position, and captain.

Can also play hockey, football, rugby, badminton, swim, win science competitions, sing, and has written an autobiography.

Retired from international cricket in 2018 and is a star at RCB.

Records: Fastest ODI 50/100/150, 78 test innings without a duck (most), South Africa’s 2nd highest ODI run scorer and fourth highest test run scorer.

  • Test: 114 matches, 8765 runs, average 50.66, best of 278*, 22-1 00s/46-50s
  • ODI: 228 matches, 9577 runs, average 53.50, 101.90 strike rate, best of 176, 25-100s/53-50s
  • T20I: 78 matches, 1672 runs, average 26.10, 135.16 strike rate, best of 79*, 10-50s

Faf Du Plessis

Faf is one of the most underrated batsman in the current era. He is known for his strong character through his ability to counter tough situations. Like AB, he easily adapts between formats, from blockathons and saving Test matches to becoming a successful T20 batsman with shots like the scoop. Although he is a dependable batsman, he is known for his captaincy – the ability to guide South Africa through tough rebuilding phases as well as the reformation time. And of course, his fielding.

Records: Centuries in all formats as a captain, first player to score century in a day-night Test

  • Test: 65 matches, 3901 runs, average 39.80, best of 137, 9-100s/21-50s
  • ODI: 143 matches, 5507 runs, average 47.47, 88.60 strike rate, best of 185, 12-100s/35-50s
  • T20I: 47 matches, 1407 runs, average 34.31, 134.12 strike rate, best of 119, 1-100/8-50s

The Match That Broke South Africa

The Match

24 March, 2015. New Zealand vs. South Africa at Auckland. The Proteas were arguably the favorites. Since South Africa were in the semi-finals, there had to be the obligatory rain and net run-rate calculations.

South Africa posted an excellent total with Faf, ABD, and Miller finishing the innings well. In response, McCullum blazed away against Dale Steyn, briefly collapsed, and recovered with the Grant Elliot-Corey Anderson steady partnership. Five needed in two, and Elliot hit Dale Steyn over long on for the victory.

A once-in-a-lifetime special innings from Grant Elliot. Grant Elliot, superman.

The Consequence

The great South African generation broke down, both mentally and physically. It was a slow degeneration over the next four years.

Kyle Abbott picked the Kolpak route as a direct result of being dropped for Vernon Philander on the eve of the match due to political pressure and the quota system. Other talents like Rilee Rossouw, Simon Harmer, and Duanne Olivier would follow.

Vernon Philander himself would wane off in a couple of years. Dale Steyn, a fast bowler who was rarely injured for over a decade began picking up freak injuries. Morne retired from international cricket early for Kolpak while ABD retired early to manage T20 leagues loads, a year before the 2019 World Cup.

2019 was a disaster. Numerous injuries, media reports, and the end of illustrious careers of Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, and Imran Tahir.

Only Faf du Plessis survived. Barely.

Embed from Getty Images


Faf symbolizes resilience and commitment. After the crushing 2019 campaign, Faf had the choice to hang up his boots but he decided to give back to South African cricket.

The rest of the golden era had retired. What did Faf do? He remained in the game and stayed as captain to absorb all the pressure and criticism. He worked extremely hard, transitioned towards a new team, and inspired the youngsters around him. All with a smile.

Since Faf had to wait seven more years for a South African cap, he cherished every moment as a South African cricketer and realized the struggle of others that have to wait in the wings or are thinking about going to England.

AB De Villiers was the catalyst to South Africa’s fortunes and changed cricket forever with his inventive batting. His premature retirement and the controversies around picking and choosing gained a lot of traction among critics and fans alike, but he had a point. More than anything, he was a victim of an overkill of cricket—it does take a physical and mental toll on you. He gave 14 years to South Africa, playing all formats continuously, and we should appreciate that.

What Can We Learn?

Cricket is unpredictable, a dropped catch or run-out can change the game. Similarly, life is unpredictable. Sometimes the best do not end up victorious, but how an individual responds to tough situations is important.

Faf just never gave up. Whether saving a test match, dealing with ball-tampering allegations, or managing captaincy issues, he just never gave up. Even if the ball is traveling with speed and is seemingly going for a six, just keep your nerve and hang on. You never know, you may pull off a catch.

What does ABD teaches us? Never stop learning and improving. He was regarded as the future of South Africa pretty early on, and he put in everything for them. He kept wickets despite back injuries, opened the batting, finished innings, and captained tough situations, and learned to evolve with time.

Your only competition is with you. Even when AB was at his best, he continued to reinvent self. Your best can always get better.

They both did it differently, but Faf and AB have been inspirational in their own rights. When they batted together, you realized that South Africa was in good hands. They were just a delight to watch, and we hope the very best to them and South Africa in the future.

Where can the Proteas go from here?

Although domestic talent is continuously drained into the Kolpak system, the quota system has been controversial, and systemic discrimination has to be dealt with, all is not lost.

This IPL has shown that Faf is ever dependable, ABD still has some magic, and de Kock is ready to take more responsibility. With stars in Kagiso Rabada, Nortje, and Chris Morris, who knows, 2021 T20 World Cup is where South Africa bounces back.

For South Africa to succeed in 2021, Faf needs ABD, and ABD needs Faf. South Africa and cricket fans around the world— we want them both together, one final time.

Comment below on your thoughts about the article or your favorite memories of AB De Villiers and Faf Du Plessis.

If you liked this tribute, please check out tributes to Rahul Dravid, Lasith Malinga, and Ellyse Perry along with other such cricketing heroes.

Sources: Cricinfo,,, #ProteasFire-Youtube

Image Courtesy: Getty Images

Cricket’s Reflections of Passion

Reflections of Passion by Yanni, what a beautiful composition. One of my all-time favorite pieces.

It evokes a variety of emotions, all at the same time. The music is playful, yet somber. Soothing, yet powerful. Beneath the passion and the joy, lies a subtle dose of grief and tension.

What is passion in the first place? According to, passion is a

Strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything.

Passion comes in all shapes and forms—it could be romantic, could be ambition to be the best and break barriers, or just a willingness to improve and prove to yourself that you are worth it.

Wait, wait, wait. You would be thinking, where or why is the cricket gone? Why am I talking about music and philosophy all of a sudden? Isn’t this IPL season?

Great question!

Well, lately I have been reflecting about the relationship between a fan and the professional. Cricket is a game filled with passion – the fans, the players, and the administrators alike. The vision of a fan differs vastly from how the sportsperson plays his or her game.

Reflections of Passion – Broken Dreams

Recently, we did several articles on the theme of Broken Cricket Dreams. We learned about Avinash living his cricket dreams in our first cricket interview, exemplified how Ellyse Perry was inspiring a new generation, heard about the #BrokenDreams and #DreamsLived of numerous cricket fans on Twitter, and finally culminated with an article about the unluckiest cricketer in recent memory.

Now, the idea of my own last article perturbed me a bit.

According to a fan’s point of view, we would like to have seen the journey of a few cricketers longer than they lasted, but do they see themselves as unlucky? I am not so sure.

We all want to be part of something greater than we are. Hence, we invest ourselves in the sport. Although the fans are part of the crowd, we want to be in the game, and we live our dreams through the players themselves. If our own favorite player does not play well, we feel bad ourselves deep down inside, as if we had failed.

So are we not being harsh on the player when calling them unlucky or criticizing them?

Anyway, the philosophy can wait for a little while. Stay tuned for the What Can We Learn? from these so-called unlucky cricketers section at the end of the article below.

Audience Poll Results – Top 3 Unluckiest

Before we jump into the moral of the story, here are the actual results of the poll we did on who our viewers thought were the unluckiest cricketers of the last few decades.

*Note, the description of the these players before and why their career stalled is here.

1. ODI: Faded XI

  1. Robin Uthappa
  2. Brad Hodge
  3. Neil Johnson
  • Honorable Mentions : Mohammad Ashraful, Shane Bond, Brad Hogg
  • Others: Alex Hales, Lendl Simmons, James Taylor, Hansie Cronje, Sreesanth

2. Test: Washed Out XI

  1. Mohammad Kaif
  2. Simon Jones
  3. Mohammad Amir
  • Honorable Mention: Adam Voges
  • Others: Marcus Trescothick, Mark Ramprakash, Fawad Alam, Prasanna Jayawardene, Simon Harmer, Duanne Olivier, Stuart MacGill, Lasith Malinga

3. Twitter Poll

Where Are They Now?

While Fawad Alam finally made a hard fought comeback and players like Alex Hales, Mohammad Amir, and Lendl Simmons are still fighting for a spot in their national squads, we look back at how some of the former international cricketers are inspiring the next generation.

I. Marcus Trescothick and James Taylor

Marcus Trescothick was on track to be one of the all-time greatest openers and the best English batsman ever produced before he had to stop playing international cricket due to mental illness during the prime of his career.

What he did after his international career is itself awe-inspiring. He continued playing first class cricket for Somerset till the age of 43 and has been open in talking about his struggles, most prominently with his autobiography, Coming Back to Me. Lately, several cricketers like Jonathan Trott and Glenn Maxwell have come out in public with mental struggle of an international career, but it may not have been possible had Trescothick not paved the way.

James Tayor has also had a similar story. Talented young English cricketer but had to retire at the age of 26 because of a serious heart condition.

Did this stop Taylor from doing what he loves most? No, instead he carried on and stayed close to the game with the goal of giving back to English cricket. He is now a full-time selector and is frequently seen in the stands supporting the England cricket team. He also wrote an inspirational auto-biography, Cut Short.

II. Shane Bond, Mohammad Kaif, and Prasanna Jayawardene

Although Shane Bond’s career halted because of recurring injuries, he is having as much impact as a bowling coach now as he did when he was a fast-bowler for New Zealand. Most prominently, he was the bowling coach of NZ between 2012-2015, the period that saw the growth of this team especially mentoring Trent Boult and Tim Southee. Has also coached Mumbai Indians and Sydney Thunder.

Mohammad Kaif joined the Gujarat Lions assistant coach staff in 2017 (under coach Brad Hodge, another name on our list) and is now the assistant coach of Delhi Capitals under coach Ricky Ponting (they are doing quite well if you have not noticed). As one of the best fielders India produced, one of his areas of focus is to actively promote fitness.

Finally Prasanna Jayawardene, regarded as the best wicketkeeper of Sri Lanka, was recently hired by England as a wicket-keeping coach apart from coaching in Sri Lanka.

III. Brad Hogg and Robin Uthappa

Both Brad Hogg and Robin Uthappa have invested there post-cricketing careers in media and broadcasting like several other players. Although Uthappa is currently representing Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, he has already done a few shows at Cricbuzz. Another way Robin Uthappa has been contributing is mentoring and supporting school-age cricketers.

Brad Hogg is one of the more familiar faces in commentary recently with stints in the IPL, Big Bash, and all over the place. Just look at his Linkedin.

So, What Can We Learn?

This was just a small list we picked from. There are numerous such unsung heroes in our sport.

So looking back, were these cricketers really unlucky? Did they really disappoint? On the contrary, their journey has been just as valuable as someone who has played a 100 Tests.

They may be regarded as “unlucky” in their own cricketing careers for one reason or another, but they may become the source of inspiration, the hand of the support, the “lucky” person someone else needs.

We know the scientific axiom that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only be transformed. Similarly, passion never dies. The love of the game just transforms.

You can take a cricketer out of cricket, but can never take out cricket from a cricketer. Even if Kaif can inspire one person to live a more fit lifestyle or if Bond discovers the next fast bowler, they have still contributed to the game immensely.

Ups and Downs, success and failure will occur. That is just natural.

The important thing is to remain not-out and go to the next part of the journey.

So you should never give up and keep whatever you are doing. Just stay in the game.

The journey is more important than the destination. Regardless of what happens out there in the middle, the fact that they have given their all is what matters. I hope all these players keep on contributing to world of cricket in one form or the other and continue their journey.

They have all inspired me. Even if you inspire one person, it has been a journey worth living. After all is said and done, with all your shattered and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world out there.

Image Courtesy: Mark Ramprakash – Onewhohelps at English Wikipedia / via CC 3.0; Mohammad Ashraful – Nurunnaby Chowdhury (Hasive) / CC BY-SA 4.0; Stuart MacGill – paddynapper / CC BY-SA 2.0; Yanni / CC BY-SA 2.0; Alex Hales – Amal316 / CC BY-SA 4.0; Shane Bond – Benchill / CC BY-SA 3.0; Marcus Trescothick – SGGH at English Wikipedia / Public domain;

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


  • 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.”



  • 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)


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.”


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

What Can Ellyse Perry Not Do?

Bowl fast? Check. Score an Unbeaten Double Century? Check. Take Diving Catches? Check.

How about a curling kick at the back of the net as your FIFA World Cup GOAL?

Write 5 Books?

Yes, this has all been done. By a single person.

Her name is Ellyse Perry.

Test match portrait (far left), Ellyse Perry bowling (center-left), playing soccer for Canberra United (center-right), and philanthropy work (far-right)

Ellyse Perry is an Australian cricketer and footballer, who also has a passion for writing and philanthropy on the side. Already being called one of the greatest all-rounders and players of all-time, Perry is just 29.

Her contribution to women’s cricket has already been immense.

The Memorable Debut

Ellyse Perry became the youngest Australian to play cricket at the age of 16 when she debuted against New Zealand, picking up 2-37 as well as 19 runs, batting at #9.

Only 15 days later, she would debut in her first international football match against Hong Kong, scoring a goal in the 2nd minute of the match.

2nd minute. Her primary playing position is supposed to be defender…Digest that for a minute.

It was her Player of the Match performance in the T20 debut a few months later, though, that caught the cricketing world’s attention. Quickfire 29* (25), including a huge six at the MCG, a 4-wicket haul, and even a run-out on follow through.

When the commentator asked, “Is there anything you tried that did not come off?—you had sixes, runs, wickets, back-flick runouts,” she responded by saying, “There were a couple of wides in there, so definitely some room for improvement there.”


The Statistics

The T20 debut was only a sign of things to come. Although she started as a fast-bowler who was a handy lower-order batter, her batting has risen through the years, most notably with the 213* in the 2017 Ashes.

Here is just a glimpse of her brilliant career so far:


Tests: 8 Matches, 624 runs, best of 213*, 78.00 average, 100s-2/ 50s-2
ODIs: 112 Matches, 3022 runs, best of 112*, 52.00 average, 100s-2/ 50s-27
T20Is: 120 Matches, 1218 runs, best of 60*, average 28.32, 50s-4


Tests: 8 Matches, 31 wickets, 18.19 average, Best Innings – 6/32,Best Match – 9/70
ODIs: 112 Matches, 152 wickets, 24.29 average, Best – 7/22, 1 4-for, 3 5-fors
T20Is: 120 Matches, 114 wickets, 19.37 average, Best – 4/12, 4 4-fors

The Moment of Glory – Part I

A World Cup is the greatest stage to perform in. It is the dream stage for any sportsperson. The Final of a World Cup is an even better platform. That is exactly where Ellyse Perry would shine.

2010 Women’s T20 World Cup in the West Indies, New Zealand versus Australia in the final. Australia were restricted to a meager 106/8. At the highest pressure, her bowling figures were 3-0-8-3. She was given the responsibility of defending the final over. 7 needed off 2, and she kept her nerve to seal Australia their maiden T20 World Cup in a thrilling encounter.

Another day, another Player of the Match performance by Ellyse Perry.


The Moment of Glory – Part II, III, IV, V, and VI

Being part of one World Cup team is a memorable accomplishment. Playing an integral role in six World Cup winning campaigns is just superhuman.

Ellyse Perry has accomplished so much already that we had to create a separate section devoted just for her remarkable achievements. From representing Australia in international cricket to the Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash, she has played a starring role everywhere.

  • Youngest Australian to play cricket – at the age of 16 (2008)
  • Only Australian to play both the FIFA and ICC World Cups
  • Only Australian to play over 100 T20I matches
  • Player of the Match in the Final – (2010 Women’s World T20)
  • 2010, 2012, 2014, 2018, 2020 – T20 World Cup winner, 2013 – ODI World Cup winner
  • Player of the Series – The Ashes (2014, 2015)
  • ICC Women Cricketer of the Year (2017)
  • 3rd Bowler to 150 wickets in WODIs
  • Belinda Clark Award, Australia’s highest award for women cricketers (2016, 2018)
  • Player of the Tournament – Women’s Big Bash League (2018-19)

The Legacy

Speaking of Big Bash, against the Melbourne Renegades, she opened the batting, steadied a collapse and carried the bat with an unbeaten fifty, opened the bowling, impacted run-outs, took a catch, and sealed the match with a six in a Super Over.

Once again, what can Ellyse Perry not do?

She is a captain’s dream to have in the team. She is Australia’s opening bowler, death bowler, a fielder that can turn matches around, a batter who can at steadily and safeguard from collapse, or a finisher who can hit quick runs at the back-end of the innings.

My personal favorite shot of hers is— the swipe down the ground for six.

Still in the prime of her career, Ellyse Perry has several years of cricket left in her. She has the potential to break records in all departments, but she has already created a legacy for herself. A renowned athlete and a star, she has also made a name for herself as a media personality by appearing on numerous radio shows, interviews, and book launches.

Four out of her five books are children’s books, Rocket Pocket, Magic Feet, Winning The Touch, and Double Time, in addition to her autobiography, Perspective. The children’s series is one of the ways she has been inspiring the next generation of young girls to take up sport and climb new heights.

In an interview with Jaymie Hooper at Body+Soul, she said,”I know how much sport has given me and I think if kids can turn on the TV and see other girls playing cricket and decide they want to do it, too, then I’ve served my purpose.”

What Can We Learn From Ellyse Perry?

She had to give up professional soccer in 2015, having last playing internationally in 2013. She ended up with 3 goals, including that World Cup goal against Sweden. Yet, just by pursuing two different sports and excelling at both of them consistently for half a decade itself sets a new benchmark for Australian sport and athletes around the world.

So, what can we learn from Ellyse Perry? Well, we can just see what some of her teammates’ think:

“There is actually she cannot do….She is probably one of the hardest workers I have ever seen” – Nicola Carey

“What makes her so good is she can bowl 10 overs, then go out and make a 100…[It takes] stamina, concentration, work ethic to be able to do that” – Nicole Bolton

“She is continuing to get better….Adding something new to her game….Always improving” – Meg Lanning

Ellyse Perry’s journey shows that by working hard, continuing improving different skill sets, always having a team first attitude, and by dreaming big—nothing is impossible.

What Does the Future Hold?

Ellyse Perry’s biggest influence might well be on the next generation of female athletes.

Following the 2017 Women’s ODI World Cup, the popularity of the women’s game grew exponentially. The movement to grow women’s cricket culminated with the 2020 T20 World Cup Final in Australia, which was held during the International Women’s Day- March 8, 2020.

A record 86,174 people attended it. Watch this video to relive the importance of the day. The only bittersweet part of it – Ellyse Perry was injured a few games ago and could not make the final team. Nevertheless, she has been a major part in popularizing the game and has taken women’s cricket to new heights.

That was the last game of women’s cricket before the pandemic hit.

Fingers crossed that the game can recover from COVID-19. We can just hope that the Australia-New Zealand series, due to begin September 26, will go smoothly with players safety in place, cricket can resume back in Australia, and we can watch what Ellyse Perry achieves next.

The Videos – Ellyse Perry At Her Best

  1. Perry’s Double Century
  2. Six-Wicket Haul – Watch it For the Bowleds
  3. “How To Set Up a Batter”
  4. 25 Questions with ESPNCricinfo
Sources: Ellyse Perry website,

Image Courtesy:

(1) Ellyse Perry – Test Match Portrait – Bahnfrend / CC BY-SA 4.0, some rights reserved.

(2) Perry bowling – Poyt448, Peter Woodard / CC BY-SA 4.0, some rights reserved.

(3) Welcome Reception for Ambassadors for Women and Girls (Cropped) – Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade/ via CC 2.0, some rights reserved.

(4) Perry playing soccer for Canberra United – Camw / CC BY-SA 3.0, some rights reserved.

World Test Championship Table: Surprising Changes

World Test Championship III: Implementing the Proposed Points Table

After the conclusion of the England-Pakistan Test series, we decided to update the World Test Championship Table based on our new proposed system in Part II of the segment, WTC: Good Structure But Needs Structural Improvement.

Earlier in Part I, How can the World Test Championship improve?, we described how the Big 3 is creating an imbalance in the World Test Championship via ‘marquee’ series’ like The Ashes and what can be done to improve it.

World Test Championship: Current System

Let us recall why we are discussing changing the World Test Championship (WTC) Table in the first place. Here are some of the flaws that WTC possesses today:

  • Number of Tests Played is uneven: England play 22, while Pakistan/Sri Lanka play 13 each.
  • Currently no distinction is made for Home/Away advantage: So far, England have played 11/4 (H/A), while New Zealand have played 2/5 (H/A).
  • Number of points fluctuate depending on # of games per series: Unfair to shorter series, and hence, discriminating against lower-ranked (and less financially stable) teams.
  • All-or-Nothing System: Test matches occur over 5 days or a max-of-15 sessions. One session can have a huge impact on the series, as the First Test of Eng-Pak exhibited. Yet, the points are awarded on an all-or-nothing basis.

Table I: Current World Test Championship Table

New Zealand311173400180/360
Sri Lanka20114121080/240
West Indies20205140040/240
South Africa20207160024/240
World Test Championship Table: Current System

*Note: Bangladesh tour of Pakistan was postponed after 1 Test match (out of a 2-Test series) due to COVID. Points are calculated as if the 2-match series will be completed eventually.

Brief Review – WTC Points Table Proposed System

Recall, our points distribution proposal is a two-tiered system, based on (1) session by session data and (2) Home/Away respectively.

In our proposed system, each team plays 12 Home/12 Away tests for a total of 24 matches over 2 and a half years, where the total points possible for each team is 1200 points, for an average of 50 points per match. The criteria is as follows:

I. Session By Session
  • Session Won: 2 Points, Even/Wash-Out/Bad Light: 1 Point, Session Lost: 0 Points
  • Points Possible Per Match: 30 (15 sessions)
  • Winning team is rewarded remaining sessions if match finishes early
II. Home and Away
  • (Home Team): Win: 16 Points, Draw: 8 Points, Lose: 0 Points
  • (Away Team): Win: 24 Points, Draw: 12 Points, Lose: 0 Points
  • (Average Total): Win: 20 Points, Draw: 16 Points, Lose: 0 Points

I. Updated Points Table – Session by Session

In the last article, we displayed the process for computing the session by session and overall total score for the West Indies-England series.

After the completion of the England-Pakistan series, we went back and similarly computed session by session points for every Test match in the WTC thus far…by hand.

After analyzing the 34 Test matches completed so far (with maximum of 510 sessions) , we came up with the following summary:

Table II: (New) Series and Session Summary

Played (H/A)Won (H/A)Lost (H/A)Drawn (H/A)WonDrawnWO/BLSessions Left
7 (5/2)2 (0/2)0
New Zealand7
Sri Lanka4
West Indies5
South Africa7
Proposed World Test Championship Table: Session Points

*WO/BL – Wash out/Bad Light

II. Updated Points System – Total Points Based on H/A

After computing the (I.) total session points, we add the (II.) base Home and Away score. Hence, the updated World Test Championship Table looks as follows:

Table III: New Points Table

I.Session Points
II.Points (Home)II.Points (Away)Points Total%Rank (By %)Rank (By Total)Rank by Session (without H/A)
New Zealand97
Sri Lanka51
West Indies43
South Africa 65
Proposed World Test Championship Table: Session Points – Based on Home and Away


  • We went ahead with percentage (%) of points won for the time being, since each team has not (and will not) play the same number of Test matches.
  • Pakistan and New Zealand switch positions as compared to Table I (4/5).
  • The most recent series, Eng-Pak actually received 66-26 points. According to our method, the scores would have been 82-62, which is a much better reflection of the series (and given that Pakistan was the away team).
  • If we had utilized Rank (By Total) as in the current system, we would have England #1, Australia #2, India #3, and South Africa up to #6, who have not had a good WTC so far.
  • Australia has one extra Test match drawn away from home compared to India. Hence, they are rewarded and are ahead based on total points. If we disregard H/A, India would be #2.

*Fun Fact: 32 sessions involving England (both home and away) were impacted by wash-outs or rained out, which is more than 2 Test matches or almost 11 days.


Note, at this point in time, the Proposed Table and the Actual Table look quite similar, but we attribute it to the small sample size, especially for teams ranked below 5.

We conjecture that as teams play similar amount of matches, our table will benefit the lower ranked teams and hence make the championship more competitive.

We will continue to update this table as more WTC matches are played.

In the meanwhile, let us know what suggestions you have to improve this table. Comment below, and we will see if it is possible to implement the idea!

Anyway, share, subscribe, and follow us on social media!

Source: Sincere Thanks to Vandit for helping in analyzing session by session data and computing overall points.

Image Courtesy: South Africa vs England, at Newlands, Cape Town Jan 2005, Test Day 3 Louis Rossouw /CC via 2.0

Lasith Malinga: The Slinga, Slayer, and SuperStar

Lasith Malinga. 3 ODI hat-tricks of which 2 came in World Cups. 2 T20I hat-tricks. 4 wickets in a row twice, once each in ODI and T20I. Enough said.

Alright, let me break that down a little more.

Taking 4 wickets in a match is considered good. He has done that in 4 consecutive deliveries multiple times. One hat-trick in a lifetime is a golden achievement. He has taken 3 wickets in 3 deliveries on five separate occasions.

Lasith Malinga has hat-tricks for breakfast. He is just that good.

Sri Lankan cricket has been struggling since the golden generation of Jayasuriya-Dilshan-Sangakkara-Jayawardane-Vaas-Muralitharan-Malinga came to an end. With Sri Lanka recently folding out for 91 in a T20I match against England, we cannot help but look back at one of the stars of the golden days of Sri Lankan cricket.

Malinga turned 37 last year. He has been playing international cricket for 16 years. It seems he has been playing cricket forever.

Same rocking hairstyle, same slinging action, and the same drive to excel. Lasith Malinga has not changed one bit.

The Beginning

Mali, as he is affectionately called, debuted way back in 2004 in a test match against Australia, picking six wickets in the match.

Among a rising golden generation of Sri Lankan cricket that followed the ’96 generation with mellow characters like Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Muttiah Muralitharan, Chaminda Vaas, and Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sri Lanka had found a rockstar.

He was just so different from the rest. That rockstar hair, the left-eye piercing, the in-swinging yorker, and of course, the slinging action.

Different turned into unique, which became something truly special.

With the introduction of Ajantha Mendis and Angelo Mathews, the new entrants to the M-factor: Malinga, Mendis, Muralitharan, and Mathews, Sri Lanka’s golden generation was complete.

Together, Sri Lanka would win the 2014 T20 World Cup, make it to the finals of 2007 & 2011 ODI World Cup as well as the 2009 & 2012 T20 World Cup along with semi-final appearances in the 2003 ODI WC and 2010 T20 WC.

Lasith Malinga graphic
Sri Lanka have been struggling recently. We cannot help but look back at the golden generation.

The Memory

Although I had seen Malinga a few times before, the first moment which caught my eyes was that match against South Africa in the 2007 CWC.

Chasing 210, South Africa were cruising 206-5 in 44.4 overs. Enter Lasith Malinga.

206-6. 206-7. 207-8. 207-9.

First person to take four wickets in four consecutive deliveries in an ODI.

South Africa squeezed to victory with just 10 balls remaining. Although South Africa narrowly escaped, this was the type of spell that would be associated with Malinga.

If Mali gets into his zone, a flurry of wickets, a moment of inspiration, and a comeback is right around the corner.

The Statistics

Due to knee troubles, Malinga had to take a premature retirement from Test match cricket, playing his final test in 2010, at the age of 26. Still ended up with 101 Test wickets.

But when one door closes, another opens. He utilized his short bursts effectively in T20 cricket, becoming arguably the best T20 bowler of all-time in this new era.

Furthermore, Malinga saved his best for the ODI World Cups. Apart from the two hat-tricks, he took 56 world cup wickets, 3rd highest of all time.

The shorter the format, the more lethal Malinga is, as the statistics demonstrate below:

Tests: 30 matches, 101 wickets, 33.15 average, Best Innings – 5/50, Best Match – 9/210
ODIs: 226 matches, 338 wickets, 28.87 average, Best – 6/38, 11 4-fors, 8 5-fors
T20Is: 84 matches, 107 wickets, 20.79 average, Best 5/6
T20s: 295 matches, 390 wickets, 19. 69 average, Best 6/7, 5 5-fors, 10 4-fors
IPL: 170 matches, 170 wickets, 19.8 average, 5/13, 16.6 strike rate, 1 5-for, 6 4fors

Post-test retirement, he had a purple patch.

He featured in Cricinfo’s Team of the Tournament in the 2011 World Cup, the 2011 IPL (where he was also the Purple Cap holder), and the 2011 Champions League among others.

The cherry on top of the cake would occur in 2014, when he would captain Sri Lanka to 2014 T20 World Cup glory.


No discussion on Malinga is complete without the IPL. Malinga is the highest wicket-taker in all IPLs, even while playing one season less than the next 4 on the list.

Only one of few players to have played for one team, Malinga is synonymous with the rise of Mumbai Indians as he was an instrumental force in their championship wins- 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019.

Even after a not-that-great IPL, he would comeback and defend an amazing final over in the IPL Final 2019.

Apart from being their bowling spearhead, he has played a crucial role in mentoring the next generation of fast bowlers from around the world. Most notably, Jasprit Bumrah’s rise has been credited with Malinga’s influence at MI.

Later in his career, he has been seen on numerous occasions meeting players from opposition camps and giving them tips. Sign of a truly great player and leader.

What Makes Malinga So Great?

The consistency, accuracy, and longevity.

Bowling a yorker is hard. A bouncer even harder. Four World campaigns later, bowling consistently with recurring injury issues for 16 long years? A miracle.

Malinga’s skill set is an envy of the world. Slower yorker, fast yorker, in-swinging yorker, out-swinging yorker, wide-yorker, slower bouncer, fast-bouncer—he has it all. The astonishing part is he can bowl any of these at will. The Australians will testify to that.

Malinga’s bowling has become an art form. He perfected his yorkers by aiming just at a shoe in the nets. Slingy bowling style does not help the batsmen either.

More than the bowling style, it has been his ability to out-think the batsman. In the age of technology and video recordings, everyone knows what Malinga can bowl. They just do not seem to figure out when he will bowl what and still end up getting tricked.

The Legacy

One of the less talked about characteristics of Malinga has been his commitment to the Sri Lankan cricket team. Since the retirement of the golden generation, Sri Lanka’s fortunes have nosedived. Once guaranteed semi-finalists, Sri Lanka now ranks 7th and 8th in T20I and ODI respectively.

Amidst the nosedive, Mali stayed with the national team. He captained them in dire circumstances, even starring in their 2019 World Cup campaign and a little after to help in the transition.

Did he have to do that? Not really. With bad knees and paunch belly showing up, he could have retired from international cricket and enjoyed successes with various T20 leagues around the world.

But Mali being Mali, he decided to stay and give back to the team that has taken him to greatness.

That is what Lasith Malinga teaches us.

There will good times and tough times. Ups and downs will occur, but you need to stay true to your sport, art or profession. Never give up, continue to improve and develop new skills, and most importantly, mentor and help anyone and everyone out. Give back to the sport and your country.

Happy Birthday, Mali. You have given us great memories to cherish.

Rock that IPL 2020 (whenever you get there), and give it one final shot.

The Moments

Apart from the links above in the article, here are some of the hat-trick clips and other favorite memories of Malinga.

  1. 4 vs 4 vs South Africa, 2. Hat-trick vs Australia, 3. 4 in 4 vs NZ, 4. ODI Retirement

What is your favorite Malinga memory? Comment below, subscribe, and share this article ahead!

Source: ESPNCricinfo, YouTube,

Image Courtesy: Lasith Malinga (cropped) – NAPARAZZI / CC BY-SA , Afghanistan Vs Sri Lanka 2019 World Cup (Getty via Cricinfo)