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Saturday, Sep 26th

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Rahul Dravid's Retirement Speech

I would like to announce my retirement from international and domestic first-class cricket. It has been 16 years since I first played a Test match for India, and I feel it's time for me to move on. Once I was like every other boy in India, with a dream of playing for my country. Yet I could never have imagined a journey so long and so fulfilling. I have had a wonderful time, but now it is time for a new generation of young players to make their own history and take the Indian cricket team even further.

No dream is ever chased alone. As I look back, as one does at such a time, I have many people to thank for supporting me, teaching me and believing in me.

My junior coaches in Bangalore and at various junior national camps inculcated in me a powerful love of the game which has always stayed with me.

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Rahul Dravid: He wrote the book on Achieving Greatness

"Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them."

It takes a pretty special kind of cricketer to have a tribute story open with a quote from William Shakespeare. And Rahul Dravid was a very special kind of cricketer. Dravid was neither born great, nor did he have greatness thrush upon him. But no one will deny the fact that the exceptionally likeable right-hander from Karnataka achieved greatness - hell he scrapped so hard for so long that he jolly well earned it.

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Philander leads Proteas fightback on Day 2 of First Test

Vernon Philander put himself in line for yet another five-wicket haul as South Africa fought back impressively on the second day of the first Test against New Zealand at Dunedin on Thursday. The Black Caps finished the day on 243/9 for an overall lead of 5 runs and, bearing in mind that their No. 11 batsman, Chris Martin, has absolute no pretentions in this discipline at all, the Proteas should not have to face any substantial deficit. It will boil down to their batsmen learning the right lessons from their poor performance in the first innings and the bowlers then taking advantage of New Zealand having to bat on the last innings.

Philander finished the day with figures of 4/50 in 17 overs and, with the new ball just six overs old, he must fancy his chances of getting a fifth. He has matched the figures of Chris Martin who finished with 4/56 in 18 overs for the Black Caps. Philander has now taken 34 wickets in four-and-a-half Test matches against three different opponents at an average of 13.

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Alastair Cook: An unlikely English Recipe for Success

On 1st March, 2006, on a tame and timid track at the Vidharba Cricket Association in Nagpur, India and England locked horns as skipper Freddie Flintoff elected to bat after winning the toss. There was a unruffled gentleman who announced himself in that test match which ultimately ended in a pale subcontinent draw. Alastair Cook, aged 22, made his debut as a test opener, unlike other Englishmen who generally start their Test careers in their mid-to-late twenties. There was a sense of confidence this young lad evoked, there was a tranquil presence about him which assured those fortunate to watch him bat that this bloke was here to stay. People who have followed English Cricket since can endorse that he has achieved much more than mere survival.

A well compiled 60 and 104 on debut only enhanced his reputation, but excellent debuts by no means guarantee success, they can only act as mere instigators to a good career. More than the runs, the calmness and ease with which this chap appeared to get his runs was nothing less than absorbing. A combination of technique and talent with a level headedness acting as the glue for the aforementioned skill sets, runs just became numbers to support this phenomenal potential's case.

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India's Down Under Tour Wrap - The Much Awaited Escape

It's not easy to find positives at the end of a disastrous project, especially when the air around is filled with criticism and negativity. India's tour of Australia has been something congruent with the preceding statement although there might be some really positive signs looking ahead to Indian cricket's future. Scrutinizing a tour where India suffered 9 losses and only 4 victories, all of which came in the limited overs format with most of them being close shaves, should be a writer's delight.

The worst part of the whole mission down under was the pummeling India received in the four test matches leading to a second consecutive overseas whitewash. Although it may invoke a difference of opinion, it was quite clear that it was the batsmen's perils that really hurt the Indian cricket team. When a team crosses 300 only once in the 8 available hits and that too with heavy contributions from the lower order, it's definitely a problem. It becomes an even bigger issue when the opposition is allowed to cross 500 consistently.

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