Cricket Sports

Is Dhoni important for India’s success at the ICC WC 2019?

India’s recent perfomance in the 4th ODI against New Zealand has raised doubts whether India is too dependent on its openers and Virat Kohli to score runs.It feels like Dhawan,Rohit or Kohli don’t score runs, India is bound to lose. It might be too early to comment on India’s middle order but they have shown no signs of promise when the top order fails.

Kohli is arguably the best batsman in the world right now. If we look at his scores in the past 25 ODI’s he has scored in single digits only once. He has set the bar so high for himself that if he scores around 40 runs,people think that he has not done well. Rohit is the best opener in limited overs cricket right now in my opinion and his stats in the recent years speak for themselves.And Dhawan can provide a quick start to the innings. Dhawan is actually one of the most underrated batsmen. But what happens if these 3 fail.

This is where Dhoni’s role comes in. Indeed he is not what he used to be and can’t hit those magnificent sixes now but he plays a really vital role. He can stablilize the innings if the other batsmen fail to score. He brings in a sense of calmness to the inning. There is not one, not two but plenty of examples where he took India to a respectable total when the team was on verge of collapse.Moreover him regaining his form back is a big plus. There is no better wicket-keeper in the world right now and even at the age of 37,he can beat most players in terms of fitness. He has lost his finishing touch but he can play the second fiddle to a top order batsman very well and the job of playing second fiddle is very important as no one player can win the game without considerable support from other players. After all cricket is a team game!

Also, the strategic mindset of Dhoni is unmatched and even though Kohli is the better batsman, Dhoni is a much better leader. His understanding of the game, the calmness he brings is unmatched. And this experience is much needed for the WC as the rest of the team is relatively young.Dhoni absorbs pressure much better than his counterparts and is thus very essential to the team. His decision to take DRS is rarely wrong and this is another plus he brings to the team.

His strike rate sometimes is a reason for concern and this was highlighted in the first ODI against Australia ib the previous series but people should understand that he came in when the score was 4/3 and it had to be ensured that they don’t lise more wickets. Even though India did lose the match,Dhoni and Rohit took the team very close to the target. Here again he played the role of second fiddle.Dhoni understands that he doesn’t he does not have the power that he once used to have and thus is happy rotating the strike keeping the scoreboard ticking.

I believe Dhoni should be promoted up the order to number 4 where I would predict him to have an equally impressive average as Kohli if not more than him.I believe he has the capability to anchor the innings.

Dhoni was and is the best leader India has had in ODI cricket for a long time. For test cricket, I believe Dhoni did lack a bit in terms of setting a good field for the batsmen or taking aggressive and bold approaches which are necessary to win test games.

But for the WC, he will be a huge help to Kohli in leading the team and is really important if India wants to win the World Cup

Over and Out

Sports Tennis

When will the younger generation be able to defeat the big 3 in Tennis?

When will the big 3 era come to an end? This is the question asked by millions of tennis followers around the world. Even though it is a delight to watch Rafa, Fed and Nole battle it out against each other, it would be nice if the younger generation give these guys a good challenge and defeat them constantly. Zverev, Tsitispas and Theim all three have given glimpses that they are capable of defeating the big three but they haven’t been able to defeat the big three consistently.

The Big 3 have won 50 of last 59 grand slams combined. The first 3 players on the list of Most Grand Slams won are Rafael Nadal , Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. They also dominate the list of highest paid tennis athletes.These stats alone show the dominance of the big 3

Now when will their dominance come to an end?

The form that Djokovic and Nadal are in,it seems unlikely that they are going to be defeated by the younger generation.There is no doubt that players like Zverev and Tsitispas do have a lot of talent. But they are raw. They do not have the experience to handle pressure. The recent example is Nadal defeating Tsitispas 6-4,6-2,6-0. Even though Tsitispas is not that bad but Rafa just completely demolished him just because Tsitispas couldn’t handle the pressure.

Even before Zverev and Tsitispas came up, there were players like Ferrer, Del Potro, Wawrinka who were all great players but were overshadowed by the big 3. Andy Murray to some extent was able to defeat the big 3 somewhat consistently and people consider him to be part of what is known as Big 4 but according to me he was not able to get up to the level of the other 3 players.Wawrinka too is an excellent player who has won some grand slams but is really inconsistent.This consistency is what separates the big 3 from the rest

Djokovic is 31 years old,Rafael Nadal is 32 years old and Federer is 37 years old. So surely they cannot dominate tennis for more years to come.

But experience has shown that you can NEVER count out the Big Three. When you never expect it, they perform miraculous comebacks. Most famous example is Nadal coming back in 2013 and winning Roland Garros and US Open after suffering from tendonitis in 2012.Now Djokovic,after an injury layoff and bad form has returned strongly winning the Wimbledon, US Open and Austrialian Open consecutively. Roger Federer too, is in a league of his own. He is giving competition to the best even at the age of 37.He is always amongst one of the favourites to win slams and that is no small deal at the age of 37!

Now according to me it looks like it would take another 3-4 years when the younger players like Zverev and Tsitispas would constantly win grand slams and the big 3 would fade away. We are really fortunate to live in an era the same as Rafa,Fed and Nole.

Over and out

Basketball Sports

Are the LA Lakers heading towards becoming a superteam?

With Anthony Davis having requested a trade, the talk going around the entire NBA universe is whether the Lakers are going to acquire and the likelihood of that happening seems to be pretty strong to me.Obviously the Pelicans wouldn’t give away Davis cheaply but Lakers would try their best to get him. They have the assets in Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram,Zubac and Caldwell Pope to trade for Davis. Celtics too have a good chance of acquiring him and if the Pelicans are smart I think they should wait for the trade deadline and start a bidding war between the Celtics and Lakers to decide who gets Davis. But in my opinion Davis is most likely going to the Lakers

Now I am hoing to consider that LA have unlimited cap space and I am going to talk about can they create cap space for the following stars at the last of this post

Now lets consider if Davis comes to the Lakers. Him with LeBron is going to be a deadly combo. In the Pelicans, Davis is usually double teamed but at the lakers other teams won’t be able to do so as LeBron would be on his side.

Next year Kawhi’s going to become a free agent and he has already stated that he wants his next home to be LA.Even though he does seem happy being in Toronto, his main motive to leave San Antonio was its weather and in Toronto , the weather isn’t any better. So I think he too gets traded this off -season. And the Lakers could actually be a good spot for Leonard alongside Davis and LeBron.

Kyrie Irving by stating that he is open to reuniting with LeBron and doesnt owe anyone anything, I think he has distanced himself from re-signing with the Celtics. His apology to LeBron also gives me a hint that he is leaning towards signing with the Lakers. If this happens Lakers are going to be a full loaded squad with LeBron,Kawhi, Davis and Irving

But what happens if Klay Thompson also signs with the Lakers. He has also stated that he would sign with the Lakers provided he gets a max contract and Davis sign with Lakers as well. Looking at the situation, the only way for the warriors to keep him is by giving him a max contract which seems a bit out of reach for them.

Now lets talk about cap space. If we are being real here Lakers can trade for Davis for Lonzo,Ingram , Zubac and some picks. They might even be able to just create the cap space for Kawhi but to create cap space for more players of such high calibre is sinply just not possible

I just don’t see another superteam being created so soon after the warriors’ superteam.

So even though it may seem nice to have such players in one team to compete against the “villain” team i.e. the warriors, it simply isn’t going to happen

Over and out

Basketball Sports

Predictions for the NBA season 2018-19

We all think the warriors are going to run away with 2018-19 NBA title especially after they have added Demarcus Cousins to their squad.Obviously Warriors have the best chance of winning the NBA title but we could actually be in for a surprise. According to me the following teams have a chance of winning the NBA title

  1. Golden State Warriors

The most obvious choice as their entire starting lineup was or is an all star. It is very difficult to defeat them in a series of 7 games as they boast of the best defense and offense in the NBA.They have arguably the best shooter in NBA history(Stephen Curry), one of the best catch and shoot player (Klay Thompson), Second best player in the NBA after LeBron James(according to me)ie Kevin Durant , the best center Demarcus Cousins and a former DPOY Draymond Green.Their chemistry can’t be any better and thus it is going to be very difficult to defeat them.

Chance of winning-85%

2. Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers have a slightly better chance of defeating the warriors than the Raptors just because they have the arguably best player in the history-LeBron James. We all know that playoffs Lebron is much much better than regular season LeBron and he has the pieces around him in Lonzo Ball,Kyle Kuzma and Ingram to win the title.Also if they trade for Anthony Davis before the trade deadline they could actually give good competition to the Warriors. They could actually face the warriors even before the eastern conference finals. They need something special from LeBron to defeat the warriors and then eventually win.A

Chance of winning-6%

3. Toronto Raptors

After adding Kawhi Leonard to their lineup, Raptors have a chance(even though it is small)of defeating the favourites Golden State Warriors. Again their chemistry is great and are arguably the best team in the Eastern Conference, they have a tendency to choke in the playoffs.They have the experiece of Kawhi Leonard though this time around so I am betting on them to win the Eastern Conference finals but they would need something extraordinary to defeat the warriors which I believe they are capable of

Chance of winning-5%.

4. Houston Rockets

They came agonisingly close to defeating the warriors the last time but I have them down the list this time because the warriors have added Cosuisn and Chris Paul’s form is not that good at the moment. I think of Harden as a great player but I don’t think his personal perfomance would be enough to help the rockets win the title. They need Chris Paul to come back in form and Eric Gordon of reviving his long lost touch of hitting 3 pointers at will.

Chance of winning-2%

5.Milwaukee Bucks

Currently occupying the top position in the eastern conference, the Bucks have an outside chance of winning the title. They have the beast Giannis who is being supported very well by Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton who has recently been announced as an all star. However they don’t have the experiece and would need Giannis to step up and unleash his best to have some chance of winning

Chance of winning-2%

Sports Tennis

Is Djokovic a contender for being considered the GOAT ?

Nadal or Federer? Who is the GOAT? is the biggest question that the tennis world wants to be answered.Nole’s name has also creeped up slowly in this debate and is now a force to be reckoned in this debate.Personally Nadal is my favourite player but I dislike Djokovic the most for he has defeated Nadal more times than being defeated by him but after handing Nadal a humbling defeat and winning his 7th Australian open, Djokovic has sparked a debate if he can be considered the Greatest Of All Time. Roger Federer is undoubtdly the best grass court player ever and of course Rafa is the king of clay with a record 11 French Open Titles.Now it seems like Djokovic is on his way to become the greatest hard court player ever. WInning 10 grand slams on hard courts is no big deal ( 7 Australian opens on 3 US Open titles).

Without a doubt, these 3 players are the best on their respective favourite surfaces.But the question that arises is that who is the GOAT..Players are usually compared through their head to head stats and the number of grand slam titles won.We all know Federer is the most successful in terms of the number of grand slam titles won but on the other side is the oldest among the three and would probably win one or two more grand slams titles at the most.Moreover he does have a losing record against Nadal and Djokovic but then again it can be argued that most of the matches that he has played against Nadal have been on clay courts and he has played a large proportion of matches against Djokovic when Fed was out of his prime. People say that Federer faced no competition when he was in his prime.But in his defense , it could also be true that Federer’s game was so good that he made his opponents look bad.One thing to be understood is that Federer completely dominated the tennis scene from 2003-2007.It was in 2008 that Nadal came up and gave Federer good competition on courts other than clay.Nadal too totally dominated the tennis scene for a while in 2010 and 2013 and so did Djokovic in 2015 and 2016 but they did it only for an year or two unlike Federer who did it constantly for 5 continuous years.

Nadal’s case for being considered the GOAT is an interesting one.Obviously no one has reached the level of success that he has reached on clay but people actually undermine his success at other surfaces. If his career is looked into, he has actually done really well on grass as well as on hard courts.The most famous example being him defeating Federer at the Wimbledon in 2008 when Fed was in his prime.He remains the only one who could figure out Federer’s game between 2005-2010 and constantly defeat him. He has a better head to head record against Fed and has just lost 3 times more to Nole than the number of times he has defeated.This year at the Australian Open though, he was completely demolished by him. But well all know Rafa for his comebacks.He has always struggled with injuries but has always come back strongly.Rafa actually has had the worst luck in terms of the competition he has faced.He had to face all Djokovic ,Fed and Murray in their prime and has done extremely well in figuring out on how to defeat them. My bold prediction is that he would win at least 4-5 more grand slams provided he remains healthy.He has a good chance,accoding to me,to be considered the GOAT at the end of his career.

Coming on to Djokovic, he actually has greater chance of becoming the GOAT than any of the two. He is back in form,is looking undefeatable and has the factor of age with him.He has a better head to head record against Rafa and Fed.Even though Rafa’s the favourite at the Roland Garros, he has an. excellent chance of defeating him on the red dirt and becoming the first man in open era to win all grand slams twice .The only problem with him is that once he is out of form, it takes a long time for him to being back to win titles.

Even though I hate to admit it, Nole actually has the best chance of becoming the GOAT by the end of his career.Nadal too has a decent chance and though this sopinio might not go down well with many, Fed,even though right now he can be considered the GOAT,he is likely to be dethroned in the near future by either of two of his greatest rivals

Over and out