Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Maruti Suzuki to replace Esteem with Swift Dezire


For staunch three-box lovers, Maruti Suzuki is coming up with the new Dezire, the replacement for its long-serving Esteem. With the curtains down on the Esteem after a 14-year long drive, the new offering, Dezire, will have a host of contemporary new features which were otherwise missing in the Esteem and not available in any of the current lot of mid-sized cars.

Dezire, Maruti Suzuki’s new sedan on the Swift platform, will be manufactured only in India for the global market and will be available in both fuel options. It will sport a 1.3 litre petrol and the 1.3 litre DDiS multijet diesel engine, currently available in the Swift hatchback.

The company is taking the SX4 and the Zen Estilo route with Dezire, topping up the car with some luxury features. Besides the twin front ABS and Auto Temp Control, the new sedan is expected to don a new integrated DIN Stereo and new set of alloy wheels in the top line variant.

The company is also working on a few changes in the grille, foglamp and the tail lights to make the Dezire look different from the hugely successful Swift hatchback. It will come in mutli-variant models like the Swift.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Tendulkar inspires amazing series win

                                              Tendulkar inspires amazing series win

Straight up

Straight boundaries come easy to Sachin Tendulkar, with drives that look so simple and neat. But it was surprising to see him go for the slog. Stuart Clark pitched it short outside off, the ball was about 132kph, but Tendulkar, instead of pulling it square, swatted it straight over the umpire's head.

Bhajji cools down

After the tirade of hostilities he's faced on this tour, Harbhajan Singh's had enough. While Tendulkar made the Australians sweat in the Brisbane heat, Harbhajan cooled himself down by sitting on an ice box. That must have surely helped him walk sedately to the crease amid the boos at the Gabba, home to Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds.

Tackling Tendulkar

Australians love bodily contact, and among their favorite sports are Australian rules football and rugby. Michael Clarke might be slim but he made use of his rugby skills to pin down the unstoppable Tendulkar. Gambhir pushed the ball towards mid-on and Clarke tried to stop it in his followthrough. One hurdle: Tendulkar was standing to his left . Clarke ended ramming straight into Tendulkar, who was turning back, and pinned him to the ground. Good 'n you mate, the Aussies might have said; however, it didn't stop Tendulkar from making runs.

What might have been
Ricky Ponting ordered his men into an onfield huddle before the match to outline his plans for the do-or-die encounter. The inspiration might have passed on to his players, but it wasn't grabbed by the captain when Tendulkar fired a square drive on 7. Ponting had placed himself at a catching position in front of point and the ball sped to his right at a comfortable height, but it was going too quickly and didn't stick. An amazing catch would have lifted the team; Ponting's men had to look elsewhere for the spark.

Paying the price

Irfan Pathan was turning out to be ineffective against the Queenslanders Hayden and Symonds, who were steadily repairing the early damage done by Praveen Kumar. As Australia neared the 100-run mark, Pathan offered room and Hayden drove it hard towards cover. The batsmen ran for a tight single. Suresh Raina at short cover tried to intercept but it was Yuvraj who picked the ball at mid-off; he had a aim at the stumps but missed, and the throw beat Dhoni and headed to the boundary.

Praveen succeeds by keeping it simple

praveen Kumar's simple approach played a key role in India's victory

After going wicketless in his first game of the CB Series, against Sri Lanka in Adelaide, Praveen Kumar said he couldn't get much swing because he didn't get the new ball. In the first final, against Australia in Sydney on Sunday, Mahendra Singh Dhoni threw him the new ball and Praveen responded by picking up the wickets of Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting. At the Gabba on Tuesday, Praveen went two better - to those two wickets he added Michael Clarke and began the process of Australia's defeat. Later, he dismissed Brett Lee to break a dangerous partnership.

India had gone into the match without Ishant Sharma but any doubts over the potency of their attack were dispelled by Praveen's understated brilliance. Bowling with vigour and accuracy, and controlling the swing, he worked on the Australian batsmen relentlessly. The rewards came soon enough: Gilchrist edged the outswinger, Ponting mistimed his favourite pull shot, so did Michael Clarke.

There's nothing imposing about Praveen's physique - he stands just under six feet - nor anything intimidatory in his run-up. In fact, his smooth delivery stride ends with a neat side-on action that allows him to keep a good line. His strength is his prodigious swing - thanks to a strong wrist and his ability to use the conditions. Aware that he lacked the pace to beat the bat, Praveen utilised the Gabba's low bounce to keep the batsmen tied down; the ball hurried on to the bat, giving them no time to go for their shots.

Credit must go to Dhoni, who once again displayed the knack of using his bowlers according to the situation and the conditions. What also helped was Sreesanth keeping things tight at the other end. But ultimately the kudos belonged to Praveen, who bowled three spells, each making a difference. The first, 6-1-25-3, left Australia hobbling and on the back foot; the second, 2-1-6-0, pulled down the run-rate when Michael Hussey and James Hopes were scripting a fightback. The third and final one, 2-0-15-1, ended the last real flicker of resistance and brought India within reach of victory.

To think Praveen was playing his fifth game showed how much this tour has been a valuable learning experience for him, as it has been for most of the youngsters. At the start of the tour Dhoni said he would like to play each of his squad but with almost every game a crunch encounter he fell back on his first-choice XI. Praveen was called for in India's sixth game and retained his place since.

Much of his success came from keeping things simple. Against Sri Lanka in Hobart last week, Praveen - coming in first change - bowled to his strengths, getting the ball to swing at 130kph and making the batsmen play. The lack of pace is tempting for the batsman; there's nothing wrong with that as long as one respects the good balls. That fact was lost on Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Chamara Silva. On Sunday, he opened the bowling and showed no nerves while embarrassing the likes of Gilchrist and Ponting.

None of this has come easy for Praveen, who has had to transform himself from just another domestic bully into an international player of impact. He plays his domestic cricket for Uttar Pradesh where, in the absence of a good coach, he has relied on the likes of Mohammad Kaif, his state captain.

Earlier this year, Manoj Prabhakar, the former Indian swing bowler, called Praveen a "magician" after his heroic effort in the Ranji Trophy final, when he picked up eight wickets in Delhi's first innings. Prabhakar's only suggestion was for Praveen to add genuine pace to his swing. Praveen was once a 125kph bowler, today he is in the 130-135 kph bracket and that has already made a marked difference



  SACHIN'S GLORIOUS SHOT               


Sachin Tendulkar has replaced Ricky Ponting as the top-ranked ODI batsman as per the latest ICC player rankings. His elevation comes on the back of successive match-winning knocks of 117  not out and 91 in the finals of the CB Series against Australia.


Tendulkar, with 777 rating points, is seven points ahead of Ponting, who had a poor run in the CB Series, scoring 191 runs from 10 matches at 19.10. Graeme Smith the South Africa captain, is at third place. Meanwhile, Mahendra Singh Dhoni has climbed to 10th place, three points below the ninth-placed Herschelle Gibbs.

India's title-triumph has put them on fourth place in the ICC ODI Championship - New Zealand were ahead when the rankings were calculated beyond the decimal point, while Australia, with a rating of 127, are still the best one-day side, ahead of South Africa on decimal points.

South Africa can overtake Australia if they sweep their upcoming three-match ODI series against Bangladesh, but they will remain in second spot if Bangladesh manages a single win.

Top 10 ODI batsmen

Rank                Name                                      Rating
1              Sachin Tendulkar                      777
2              Ricky Ponting                                   770
3              Graeme Smith                                  753
4              Mohammad Yousuf                         752
5              Matthew Hayden                             740
6              Adam Gilchrist                                 738
7              Michael Hussey                                736
8              Kevin Pietersen                               735
9              Herschelle Gibbs                              731
10            Mahendra Singh Dhoni            728

Monday, March 3, 2008

Triple Treat for Indian Cricket Lovers !!

* Team India (under 19) wins the Under 19 World Cup.

* Sachin Tendulkar Classy 42nd Ton .

* Team India wins the first final against Aussies in CB series.

Its a SUPER SUNDAY for Indian Cricket !!

GMR unveils Delhi IPL team logo

GMR unveils Delhi IPL team logo

Holdings, which owns IPL's Delhi franchise,
unveiled the logo for the team today, and named the team as 'Delhi
Daredevils' at a ceremony in Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium here.

GMR-IPL official looked excited while announcing the name of the team,
saying that the name "Delhi Daredevils' is synonymous with the city's
image of pride and fearless passion".

“People in Delhi seem to be outgoing and want to do things at the
forefront and not back foot," said Yogesh Shetty, Chief Executive

Meanwhile, the demand of the Delhi team to make the dashing opener
Virender Sehwag, its iconic player, will be heard soon as the decision
of the franchisees will be announced on Wednesday.

BCCI Vice- president Rajiv Shukla said: "If the IPL governing body and
franchisees don't have any issues and if they agree to make both the
cricketers as iconic players then it is good. The plea has been
circulated to all the franchisees for their opinions to make Virendra
Sehwag and V. V. S. Laxman as icon players.”

Greg Shipperd, coach of national title-winning Victoria State in
Australia, and his assistant David Sacker have been appointed coach and
assistant-cum-trainer of the Daredevils.

The 'Delhi Daredevils' was shortlisted from other names including Delhi Mughals that was suggested Delhiites in the SMS voting.

Delhi Daredevils will play their first match against Jaipur at Kotla on April 19.

Over 80 international cricketers are expected to feature in a player
"auction" in Mumbai on Wednesday with each franchise allowed a cap of 5
million dollars.

The eight franchises, which spent over 718 million dollars to get the team rights, will be present at the auction.

They are Mumbai team (Mukesh Ambani), Bangalore (Vijay Mallya), Kolkata
(Shah Rukh Khan), Chandigarh (Preity Zinta), Jaipur (Emerging Media),
Hyderabad (Deccan Chronicle), Chennai (India Cements) and Delhi (GMR

While each team will be allowed to register a maximum of eight foreign players, only four will be able to play in the XI.

In the tournament, based on Twenty20 matches, 59 matches will be played in 44 days starting April 18. (ANI)

India Cements Ltd. unveils Chennai IPL team logo

India Cements Ltd. unveils Chennai IPL team logo


India Cements Limited (ICL), franchisee of the Chennai Indian Premier League (IPL) team, unveiled the logo for the team today and named the team as "Chennai Super Kings: Fearless Entertainers who will play to win".

The function held in Chennai witnessed the presence of veteran Indian cricketers like Sivaramakrishnan, W. V Raman and Chandrasekar.

During the function, former Indian captain Krishnamachary Srikkanth was named as the brand ambassador of the team.

Speaking on the occasion, Srikkanth said, "I am very happy that ICL had taken over Chennai Super Kings team. It's a great feeling to be a brand ambassador. Chennai have knowledgeable cricketers and so Super Kings will be a lovely team."

The owner of the team reiterated faith in his team's caliber to deliver the best.

"We want a solid team. We have been in cricket running teams for the last 40 years and we have won local championships many times so we have experience and will get a good blend," said N. Srinivasan, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, ICL.

Over 80 international cricketers are expected to feature in a player "auction" in Mumbai on Wednesday with each franchise allowed a cap of 5 million dollars.

The eight franchises, who spent over 718 million dollars to get the team rights, will be present at the auction.

They are Mumbai team (Mukesh Ambani), Bangalore (Vijay Mallya), Kolkata (Shah Rukh Khan), Chandigarh (Preity Zinta), Jaipur (Emerging Media), Hyderabad (Deccan Chronicle), Chennai (India Cements) and Delhi (GMR Group).

While each team will be allowed to register a maximum of eight foreign players, only four will be able to play in the XI.

In the tournament, based on Twenty20 matches, 59 matches will be played in 44 days starting April 18. (ANI)


After big guns, IPL teams shop for youngsters

The big sale of Indian cricketers in Mumbai last Wednesday was just the beginning. The rush to sign up players for the newly-formed Indian Premier League has by no means ended; franchisees are now eyeing members of the Indian under-19 squad currently playing the World Cup in Kuala Lumpur. Other prominent cricketers from the under-22 bracket are also being wooed with payments running into several lakhs.

On Friday, there was frenzied activity as franchisees chased prominent junior cricketers to fill their quota of four under-22 players. One major signing was UP's allrounder, Praveen Kumar, who is in the CB Series squad currently playing Down Under. According to sources, he has been snapped up by Delhi for Rs 32.5 lakh. Delhi are also reportedly set to sign UP's southpaw opener, Tanmay Srivstava, a member of the U-19 World Cup squad.

Other prominent young stars being sought by IPL teams are Under-19 skipper Virat Kohli, Pradip Sangwan, Ravindra Jadeja and Saurabh Tiwary. From the India-A team, players like Yo Mahesh, Pragyan Ojha and Cheteshwar Pujara are also in great demand.

IPL rules mandate that each franchisee have at least four under-22 players, apart from the four 'catchment area' players.

This means U-22 cricketers are up for grabs, and need not necessarily be from the catchment area, explaining the huge demand for someone like Delhi's Kohli, who can be bought by any of the other teams for a large enough sum.

Franchisees are believed to be persuading those who have worked with these youngsters in the past as team coach or manager to convince them to sign up. The frenzy seems to have caught everyone associated with these players totally off-guard, as TOI found out.

Kohli's coach Rajkumar Sharma said: "We have received offers but we are yet to take a final decision. Actually, we are confused about the rules governing IPL and its offers. We are in the dark about the maximum and the minimum limit a player might be offered. That's why we are holding talks with the IPL as well as franchisees. But money is not going to be the criteria for Kohli. We have to decide which team will be able to give him the maximum exposure. Virat shall chose his team accordingly."

Another promising young bowler from UP, Sudeep Tyagi, who was the highest wicket-taker in the just-concluded Ranji season, confirmed that he had received offers from Kolkata, Bangalore and Chennai. But he too seemed unaware about the upper and lower limits of his salary. "I have received offers from three franchisees. I haven't decided yet which team I will play for but there is a strong possibility of playing for Chennai Super Kings. I have to look into the money part of the deal. I was under the impression (till now) that there is a fixed amount for the U-22 players."