Down the road, 24th march

27 Mar 2011 by Vinay Anand in News

This day may not be the most significant of days in cricketing history, but there are a few memorable incidents that have taken place.

In 1998, Michael Atherton faced his last day as England’s Test skipper. England lost to West Indies in Antigua and also lost the Test series subsequently. West Indies were not the strongest side in those times, but England had this uncanny knack of a batting collapse in Test matches, when Atherton was captain. And his tenure ended in that fashion. In the second innings of the Test, England lost their last seven wickets for 26 runs in a span of 26 overs, and the demolition was led by Courtney Walsh.

Today we celebrate three birthdays. One is of the Australian, Dean Jones. He was Australia’s reliable No.3 for a long period in his career. The innings of 210 in the tied Test in Chennai in 1986 was an example of his steadfastness despite him throwing up due to the heat. Once he quit the game, he switched to commentary. He was fired by a TV channel for allegedly calling Hashim Amla, the South African batsman a ‘terrorist’ in 2006 on air. Also lately he has also been under controversy for bearing a love child. Yet, he remains one of the most enigmatic Australian cricketers of all time, who has had moderate success.

The other is of Graeme Swann. He is England’s No.1 spinner at the moment in all formats of the game. Born in 1979, Swann made his Test debut as late as in November 2008 in Chennai against India. And he has been a revelation since that game when he picked Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid in two consecutive balls. He is a wily off-spinner whose guile and flight have troubled many a batsmen across the world. He ended as the second highest wicket-taker in 2010, and is currently ranked 3rd in the ICC Test bowler rankings. His contributions were vital in helping England being unbeaten at home since his debut, and levelling the Test series in South Africa in 2009 as well as winning the Ashes in Australia in 2010 for the first time since 1986.

Bangladesh’s captain, Shakib al Hasan turns 24 today. He made his international debut in August 2006 against Zimbabwe. Keeping in mind his consistent performances, he was rewarded with the national side’s captaincy in June 2009 due to an injury to Mashrafe Mortaza. As skipper, he has led Bangladesh to their first series win away from home, i.e, against West Indies in July 2009, in both Tests and ODIS. As well as a home series win against New Zealand in November 2010, beating them 4-0 in 4 ODIS. He is a cunning left-arm spinner and a handy middle-order batsman. His status as the world’s No.1 allrounder was accentuated, when he was picked by the Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2011 IPL auction.

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