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World’s two fastest men – Bolt and Blake are bowled over by cricket
By IPL staff
Mumbai 13 August 2012
Cricket might not yet be an Olympic sport. But it surely rules the hearts of two men who have established their reign over the athletics track in the London Games. World’s top two fastest men, Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake – the winners of gold and silver medals respectively in the 2012 Olympics in the 100 and 200 metre sprints – have expressed their desire to play Twenty20 cricket.
Blake, who finished second in men’s 100-metre dash in London, announced unabashedly that he had grown up to “love cricket even more than track and field” and that he is extremely interested in playing in the Indian Premier League.
“I am looking at some teams, Mumbai Indians and also [Royal Challengers] Bangalore because of Chris Gayle as he's from the West Indies,” Blake said. “I am asking my agent to get me a shot to try out and I think I can make the team because I am really, really quick. I think I can be one of the fastest bowlers in the world,” claimed the second fastest man in the world.
While his reaction after winning the medals at the Olympics oozed coolness and nonchalance, a mention of cricket lit up Blake’s eyes and his passion flowed in form of words.
“I want to show you that I am better at cricket than running! I am a really talented batsman. I am a T20 batsman. You guys need to see me in action. I am a bowling machine that can bat all day. I have played some cricket... that's my love, that's my passion, every day I watch cricket,” Blake spoke with the enthusiasm of a kid.
Meanwhile, Blake’s legendary fellow Jamaican sprinter, Bolt is seriously considering playing in Australia’s Big Bash League, the top two teams from which qualify for the Champions League Twenty20.
Bolt played junior cricket as a fast bowler and fascinatingly once clean bowled Chris Gayle in a charity match in Jamaica in 2009. During the 2012 Games, Bolt confirmed his intention to take time off from the track to play T20 cricket professionally.
“Twenty20, I love it. Just the fact that it is so exciting, it's about going hard the whole time, not just about playing shots. It's about being aggressive and I like that style of batsman. If I get the chance I will definitely try because I know it's going to be a lot of fun. I don't know how good I am. I will probably have to get a lot of practice in,” Bolt enthused.
The 22-year-old Blake might be second best to Bolt on the track. But when it comes to cricket, Blake says he is better than the Olympic champion. “Even though he is starting to get more bounce than me sometimes, I am really quick. I bowl fast... sometimes I even swing the ball. But most of the time I bowl into the batsman. I bowl really good to left-handers because I swing back the ball inside. And I am a right-hand batsman, a really powerful one. Of course, I can beat Bolt at cricket.”
The very idea of the two kings of the track sprinting towards the likes of Gayle, Tendulkar or Sehwag with the cricket ball in their hand gets the adrenaline rushing.
The younger of the two, Blake, has already announced an open challenge to some of the best batsmen in the world. ”I can even [bowl] out Sachin, you know, and Virender Sehwag. So, I know what I can do.”
Legend says he enjoyed his mentor-leader role with RR
By IPL staff
Mumbai 02 July 2012
Since his retirement, Rahul Dravid has refrained from commenting on his future plans, often saying he wants to take a break before making any decision.
However, the legendary Indian batsman has recently revealed that he was open to the idea of coaching the Indian team in the future. "Who knows? Some day in the future [I will perhaps take up the role],” Dravid said, when asked whether he would like to mentor the side.
After a stint as mentor cum captain of the Rajasthan Royals side in IPL 2012, Dravid feels confident of taking up the role on a larger scale. However, he refuses to commit to anything, acknowledging the qualifications required to coach at that level.
"It was part of my role with Rajasthan Royals this year. It was little more than leadership, I was involved in the tactical and coaching side of it ... Enjoyed doing that. But I don't have the level 1, 2, 3 certificates that people want sometimes,” he said.
The retired legend reflected on his 16-year-long luminous career with fondness, saying the thing that originally attracted him towards cricket was the joy of sharing the ups and downs with teammates.
"That is one of the biggest joys of team sport," he said when asked how his team would celebrate wins. “What drew me towards team sport was the camaraderie and friendship.
"The chance to celebrate victory and success with a group of other people is something I have enjoyed doing. There have been some big celebrations ... Adelaide was one of them," Dravid said, referring to India’s memorable Test win against Australia in 2003. He rates his sparkling double century in that Test as one of his best knocks.
"In terms of control and just the way I have played through the innings, I think it was one of the best constructed innings. Also considering that Australia had scored over 550 runs. But frankly speaking, it was a good batting wicket," he told a news channel.
One of the highlights of Dravid’s career has been his prolific partnership with VVS Laxman. Speaking of his on-field association and off-the-field friendship with Laxman, Dravid said, "It was fantastic and a privilege to bat with him all these years and share some lovely, wonderful partnerships. VVS was a good, laidback South Indian boy.
"I had the opportunity to bat with Sachin [Tendulkar], [Virender] Sehwag, Sourav [Ganguly], [Gautam] Gambhir, Laxman and [Mohammad] Azharuddin. .. guys who are legends of Indian cricket,” Dravid said.
A team man known for his selflessness, Dravid never hesitated to perform any role that the team demanded of him. The unassuming star puts it down to one of the aspects of playing a team sport.
"That's the beauty of team sport, as I had said earlier. I was in the hockey team in school, [an I also] played football. One of the challenges for me was to make the team feel better. It helped me evolve, so batting at different positions was never a problem."
Even after exiting from international cricket, and post the IPL season, Dravid has continued to play in lower division matches. While he admitted to not training or practising like he used to during his playing days, the former India captain said he wanted to play these matches for the benefit of youngsters who were part of these leagues.
"I have not been training ... it's been only a month. I have played a couple of matches over the last two weeks – the final of the TNCA league and a second division final. But no practice, no training and no warm-ups.
"People like Gundappa Viswanath and Sudhakar Rao continued to play even after retirement. I have played with them [early in my career] and it was a huge thrill for me to play against them."