My column about what our political leaders should learn from Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s stepping down as captain of the Indian team.
There is no dearth of great opening batsmen in world cricket, but when Bradman selected his dream team, his choice of openers did raise a few eyebrows. He omitted legends like Jack Hobbs, Sunil Gavaskar, Len Hutton, Dennis Amiss, Conrad Hunte, Bob Simpson, and Herbert Sutcliffe, and reserved the spots for the South African Barry Richards and his own buddy Arthur Morris. Morris’ was more justifiable because Richards had played only four Test matches. But it was not modern day statistics that Bradman considered for his team; he had more insights into the capabilities of the two openers, especially Morris.
It was shocking to hear about the passing of the Australian opening batsman Phillip Hughes, two days after taking a bouncer blow during a domestic Sheffield Shield match. Irrespective of what happened off the pitch, Hughes remains not out in his final outing. He constructed a solid innings and immortalised it by infusing it with his life. I understand that he was expecting an Australian call up any moment. Is god Australian?
Group stage: Italy lost to Uruguay, 0-1
It was clear – Italy had to secure a draw to advance to the second round, but Uruguay had to win. Italy had the advantage because only ‘loss’ from the three possibilities – win, loss, and draw – could have knocked them out of the tournament. Italy went into the game with good planning. They selected three centre-halves in Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci, and Andrea Barzagli and two forwards in Mario Balotelli and Ciro Immobile. Such a decision was taken by manager Cesare Prandelli for the first time in the tournament. It was a clear indication that Italy would be ready for attacking the opposition goal, but that they were ready to settle for a draw if that did not work. Apart from this, they had two wing backs in Mattia De Sciglio and Matteo Darmian and three in the midfield in Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo, and Marco Verratti. Gigi Buffon stood at the goal, making it an all-four Juventus back line.