After 10 months of cricket blogging and having a considerable number of readers, my own friends have started to call me a "cricket reporter". They watch me always busy with my pencil and notebook, always talking about nothing else than cricket and not doing what nearly everyone else of my age does - run behind every second girl.
So their thought about me is not much wrong, other than the name they have generated for me. I am no Cricket reporter. I am an Indian who loves talking to himself. Loves writing. And happen to have cricket as biggest his biggest thrill. You can say I am a student of cricket, and feel like having every single information on cricket. Day after day. Hour after next.
And "It's only cricket" is a place where I dump all of that in the best possible writing terms. What I have for you today is India's first match against England, to kick start their campaign in ICC champions trophy. Well, may be just a preview only but I am sure you need to know them if you are willing to enjoy this India vs England match lot more than normal.
Lets start with the Jaipur ground -
You must remember Mahendra Singh Dhoni's 183 against Sri Lanka but let me recall for you that, that happened at this very ground - Sawai Mansingh Stadium in the Pink city. Indian team chased down 298 posted by Sri Lanka and never came back into that 7 match series. Which Sri Lanka lost 6-1.
Sawai Mansingh Stadium too, like every other cricket ground in India, has the ability to produce some huge scores. The cricket season has just started which means that pitches are fresh to offer little assistance for bowlers and loads of them to the batsmen. As the Indian domestic cricket goes on, the pitches get roughed up which helps the spinners. But as of now, or till the India vs England match on 15th of October, you can expect batting extravaganza more than a bowlers terror. Here's more about Jaipur's cricket stadium.
The weather report :
So many matches have failed lately because of rain god that I feel I must add this information for you as well. The rainy season has almost ended here in my country and even if you get some rain here and there, you normally have pleasant weather. Almost perfect for playing cricket with not much heat to counter with. Here's a typical weather report for Jaipur if you still feel hungry for.
The tickets :
Well, its not very likely that tickets for this India's first match in ICC Champions trophy on 15th of October, or any of India's matches for that matter, but if you still want to try your luck to buy the tickets and watch this ODI at Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur, read this. But if you want it on your television - read this article.
The two Squads :
Although nothing else than Ashes seems to matter English team, they are here in India to participate in ICC champions trophy. Which they say - are taking as match practice, let me tell you that a lose will hurt as much. The better get their act together and put up a fight against an Indian squad which is not looking too much confident right now.
Here are Indian and England's squads of ICC champions trophy.
The predictions ;
Indian team have failed in their last few ODI's but let me remind you that Rahul Dravid has been redefining Power plays. And this happens more when ODI's are played in India because that's when Batsmen speak louder than the bowlers. I wrote this article on "Power Plays now showing colors" some 2 months ago and it got a very decent review from cricket lovers on Yahoo Answers. Tell me what do you feel about it.
Another calculated prediction for you is Irfan Pathan batting for India at no. 3 and Dhoni at no. 6 as Dravid and Chappell indicated during their press conference yeaterday.
As we wait for this India's first match in ICC Champions trophy 2006.