Austin Coutinho
Austin Coutinho
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articles by Austin Coutinho

First Cricket News

Kapil's Devils' Day of Glory: Read a comic on Team India's historic 1983 Cricket World Cup win

On 25 June 1983, the Indian cricket team led by captain Kapil Dev faced off against West Indies at Lord's, for the final of the Prudential Cup. That match marked India's first-ever Cricket World Cup win. On its 37th anniversary, sports writer and caricaturist Austin Coutinho looks back on the highlights of India's victory.

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Indian cricket stars' lockdown diaries: How players past and present are dealing with social distancing 

Despite the lull over the last month or so, there have been some lively cricket conversations taking place over the social media, between players, that have kept cricket fans entertained.

First Cricket News

A short history of helmets: For a game that can seriously maim, cricket introduced protection for the head at a belated stage

Helmets came into fashion in international cricket only in the 1980s. Before that, batting icons like Sir Donald Bradman, George Headley, Herbert Sutcliffe, Wally Hammod, Sir Garfield Sobers and hundreds of other batsmen never wore protective headgear, despite having to face fearsome bowlers

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With Gautam Gambhir's post on Dhoni's World Cup-winning six, fans must decide what they want from players — empathy or honesty

Why do star cricketers, especially after they have called it a day, speak hate against their former teammates? Gautam Gambhir surely isn’t the first player in the history of the game to spew venom against his former captain.

First Cricket News

Sandpapergate, two years on: Five lessons to learn from Team Australia’s bounce back

Two years ago, Australian cricket had plunged into its deepest crisis with the ‘Sandpapergate’ drama being played out in the third Test between South Africa and Australia at Cape Town. Under the mentorship of Justin Langer – master of the mind game – and Tim Paine, as skipper, the much-maligned team has now regained its rightful position among the best cricketing nations in the world.

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Coronavirus Outbreak: From Amazon Prime's The Test to India's 2011 World Cup win, a cricket watchlist for the lockdown

Two 40-minute videos that never fail to give me goosebumps are those of India’s Prudential World Cup win of 1983 under Kapil Dev’s leadership and the ‘85 B&H World Championship of Cricket triumph Down Under, under Sunil Gavaskar’s captaincy, writes Austin Coutinho

First Cricket News

Ravichandran Ashwin and the perils of over-experimentation: To improve game, bowler must re-invent, refocus

With the mindset of a grandmaster in chess, Ravichandran Ashwin usually plots the downfall of a batsman a few deliveries, often, even a few overs in advance. He should consider focusing on getting wickets with his stock delivery and use variations sparingly – without causing muscle memory perplexity, just to keep the batsmen guessing.

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India vs New Zealand: Indian fast bowlers were guilty of trying too hard; did pace attack let us down?

With their ODI and Test series drubbing of India, the New Zealanders have exposed some chinks in India’s armour. More importantly, they have shown other cricket teams that if Bumrah is played with a bit of caution, India can be beaten.

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Is Virat Kohli burning himself out? As fatigue increasingly catches up with players, skipper must re-think his career strategy

Virat Kohli has defied being human perhaps for too long already. In pursuit of excellence on a 24x7 basis, he has been burning the candle at both ends

First Cricket News

Red cards for bad behaviour? ICC can no longer stay silent as errant players are marring cricket's spirit, legacy

Neither captains, nor players, nor umpires of the modern era seem to have understood what the spirit of the game of cricket really means. If the International Cricket Conference (ICC) doesn’t come down heavily on errant captains and players and if it doesn’t ‘punish’ lenient umpiring, the game will soon be known for its hooliganism rather than for its nobility.

First Cricket News

Under-19 World Cup 2020: A look at Team India's stars in the making, and their inspiring journeys so far

Post the 2020 Under-19 World Cup, some of India’s star performers will become household names and may even go on to earn 8-figure salaries. Others may just get to play first-class cricket and may soon be forgotten.

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Mumbai no longer city of dreams for locals? Current India cricket team composition shows migrants have had better luck

Mumbai was the go-to place for the opportunity to learn and play cricket, to find job openings, and if possible, for the very talented to vie for a place in the Indian side. But have cricketers from the ‘mayanagari’ lost out on their dreams to those from far-flung suburbs and migrants from other states?

First Cricket News

BCCI, mistaking visibility for credibility, is damaging its long-term relationship with the media

The Indian media has played a crucial role in sharing the BCCI’s dream, especially at times when nothing was going right for them. Why is the Indian cricket board then hell bent on destroying an edifice that has been built over the years with love and effort by a lot of dedicated and diligent people?

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Buttler’s rage, a fired up Philander and a series in balance: A long history of wicket-keepers getting under batsmen's skins

Great wicket-keepers always team up with their bowlers, feeding them with information and passing on tips every now and then. They also work on the batsmen’s mind, exaggerating the amount of swing and spin off the track, just chatting away with them or constantly conversing with the bowler or the fielders around the bat.

First Cricket News

From Kohli to Sehwag, assembling a 16-member dream India Test squad of the decade just gone by

Cricket, as a game, despite its rules being tinkered with every now and again, lends itself nicely to the conceptualisation of fantasy games and dream teams by its fans and admirers. Imagine, for example, a match where the well-built Mohammad Nissar was partnered with Kapil Dev, and where first change would either be Javagal Srinath or Jasprit Bumrah.

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Quality of National Cricket Academy's services must be reviewed, as several players find training, treatment lacking

We do not know how many instances have gone unrecorded, over the years, where players have given up on injury fears for the dread of being reprimanded. Both Ganguly and Dravid, along with others in the BCCI, need to introspect rather than treat contracted players like bonded labour.

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IPL's business-like nature, competitive auctions are pressuring uncapped players; should their salaries be regulated?

Uncapped players, who usually set their base prices at around Rs 20 lakh at the IPL, get weighed down when, in a war of bids among the franchises, their price tags are puffed-up. A newcomer to the big league would normally like to make an uneventful entry, so that the pressure of performing doesn’t result in stage fright.

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Could Virat Kohli's anger lead to Team India's downfall? Skipper's rage is at risk of being weaponised by opposition

Other teams watching the recent India-West Indies series may have made a note in their little red books of how Virat Kohli reacted to mind games

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Farokh Engineer should be allowed his embroidered tales, as long as they're not malicious: A fan makes his case

Farokh Engineer's anecdotes are famously peppered with some ‘Parsi masala’. Though he had no business taking Anushka Sharma's name to prove his point, which he regretted later, he was not wrong in pointing out the fact that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) should be looking for more experienced cricketers as national selectors. His

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India's first pink ball Test match, seemingly an experiment, holds many lessons for BCCI

Before the next pink ball Test is played in India, the BCCI needs to do a rethink on various issues that will make the game a little less dangerous for the players and more enjoyable for the paying spectator.