Monday, December 18, 2006

India’s first test match victory on South African soil. A wonderful feeling.


India have left behind the disappointment of the one-day series thrashing and have firmly planted one foot forward in the test series. It has to be said that the better team finally won. The best part has been that India have won by a huge 123 runs even without their best batsmen striking. Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Mahendra Singh Dhoni failed collectively(actually with the exception of Sehwag and Jaffer no batsmen, to me, really looked very uncomfortable) . Yet India have won and that too by a huge margin.

Credit should go to the whole team though individual performances like that of Sreesanth, Laxman and Ganguly helped. But contributions from low down the order from the tail such as Zaheer’s batting and VRV Singh’s slog in the first innings were crucial factors too.

But more than the batting it is surely the bowling quality that has enabled this Indian cricket team to register it’s first test match win on South African soil. Zaheer was again impressive as he was in the one-day series. Sreesanth was exciting in every sense of the word. VRV could have gotten more wickets with more luck. Kumble was as usual incisive, cunning, deceiving and fast(the tail enders were quite bamboozled by his quick yorkers)! It is fantastic to see the Indian pacers dishing it out to the opposition as opposed to quite the opposite that this Indian team is used to. Makes me think that India’s poor showing overseas has mainly had to do with the quality of pace bowling than anything else.

But the series doesnt end here. The South Africans will realize their mistake in making a pitch that aided the Indian seamers and will more than make up for it in the next game. Having said that the next match is a good one week away. Ample time for the Indian batsmen to sort out any problems and come good next time round.

And I think its time for Jaffer to be done away with. He is looking more and more cueless and Gambhir deserves a look in. If Munaf is declared it is likely that VRV Singh will give way. The rest of the team seem okay. Wishing you the best TEAM INDIA for the next match.

All said and done the one-day series is still not out of my mind and I wonder whether India would have fared better had the test series been scheduled before the one-dayers as is the normal practice in the cricket world.

10 comments

Sreesanth, Nel and the joys of cricket!

Take that Nel, you hyperactive maniac sledger! Nel was going too far with his verbal crap. Someone had to shut him up. And who better than Sreesanth! Next ball after Nel, for no reason, mouthed something silly Sreesanth charges down and sends the ball crashing into the stands. And then he scripts one of the most hilarious moments of cricketing history with a Red-Indian style jig right in front of a helplessly embarrassed Nel. See it to believe it. This man from Kerala is just too good. And I am in total splits.


And someone once said one-day cricket is the saviour of test cricket. I say cricket needs no saviours if we have (bloggers like me :-} and) characters like Sreesanth and Nel in the game! One big thanks to you for making the day so interesting.

For more cricket news you can visit :
Cricinfo
The home of cricket

3 comments

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Gilchrist's batt(er)ing

Unless there is another dramatic turnaround of events, Gilchrist has sealed the fate of the Ashes Urn. He has mauled the English bowlers into submission WWF style. He has the second fastest test cricket century against his name and the Barmy Army will soon have one-way flight tickets back to home. So much for England’s much hyped Ashes defense.

The absence of Vaughan, Trescothick and Simon Jones has been a factor in England’s poor showing but all said and done Australia has proved to be the better team. Very sadly, England’s exciting victory in the previous Ashes seems to have only been an aberration. Even more unfortunate is the fact that had the team selection not been so illogical England might still have been in with at least a glimmer of hope of winning one of cricket’s foremost contests. Looks like the selectors wanted it this way.


For more cricket news you can visit :

Cricinfo
The home of cricket

3 comments

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Maybe Ganguly's ouster from the Indian cricket team was only for the good

I cant remember the last time Ganguly played the role of an anchor on a paceman friendly track with such unpredictable bounce and threatening seam movement. And when was the last time you saw a Ganguly trying to stretch himself to the limits trying (atleast trying) to catch a totally uncatchable cricket ball? He couldn’t hold on to the catch at the deep square leg boundary because it was impossible but he tried.

Clearly, there is a very perceptible change in the ‘Prince of Kolkata’. The prince is now, very sportingly, willing to do the boring yet vital task of the common man. He is willing to work his back out, concentrate every moment and fight for every a single run. The fiery determination is obvious, and out from that determination sprouted some beautiful cricketing strokes that are the mark of an artist at work.

I had mulled over how Ganguly and Laxman will fare and quite evidently they have done well. Of course this is not the end and the good work should go on…….

Sreesanth, Dhoni and Nel

If VRV Singh’s performance in the practice game was impressive, he didn’t get much chance to show his cricketing skills here in the first innings. This was thanks to a certain Sreesanth who managed to grab a fiver with accurate and pacy bowling; two attributes not often attributed to Indian speedsters. How often do we see 7 wickets falling even before the spinner is brought on? The fact that this happened in this game reflects how good India’s fast bowlers have fared.

And what about Dhoni and Nel? Well, actually I see a Dhoni-Nel battle coming tomorrow. They had some interesting exchanges in the one-day series. Nel, as usual, barked something to Dhoni and Dhoni replied with a beautiful six. Nel again barked and was promptly smashed for an electrifying boundary. Later Nel caused Dhoni’s dismissal with a superb catch. Now, Dhoni will be at the crease tomorrow and is already looking damn aggressive and dangerous for the South Africans. Nel will be fresh and charged up. Will be very interesting to watch.
For more cricket news you can visit :
Cricinfo
The home of cricket

0 comments

Friday, December 15, 2006

What will Ganguly and Laxman do?

India's test cricket series against the South Africans begins today and all eyes are on Sourav Ganguly. He is hardly India's trump card, yet there is something in the air that makes me feel that one good match for him here and it will rub of on the whole team.

We have always come to expect good things from Dravid. If Sachin or Sehwag does well it will only mean they are back to good times. But if Ganguly can get a big one, it will be a massive statement, almost analogous to the rise from the ashes of the mythical Pheonix.

Another man in a slightly similar situation is VVS Laxman. He has been a very unreliable batsman who can come up with world class knocks on one day and fail wretchedly in the next. I can only hope for this match to be one of his better ones.

As far as the bowling selections are concerned, I think we have a very strong bowling unit much on the lines of what I had envisaged. Harbhajan’s omission was predictable. And Kumble will surely play a huge role in the whole series as also the others to come. Too bad Munaf in unavailable.

On paper it’s a world class cricket team with players you can only dream about. Yet on the field one can only keep their fingers crossed and hope for the best.

2 comments

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Jaunty Monty gets a bounty!

 
It's official. A selection blunder has cost England two matches(atleast one) in one of cricket's foremost contests. It is now obvious that Monty Panesar's presence, especially in the second match, could have had England in a much better position than of now.

The respect and admiration that I feel for the Superb Sardar cannot be described in words. His very first Ashes match. A huge stage with loads of expectations. Relentless Aussie sledging. The man soaks in all that like a sponge and comes out with a sterling performance worthy of a Shane Warne or a Muttaiah Muralidharan. You think I am going overboard with my praise? Maybe. But Monty, let me tell you something. You have a fan for life. 

And as for Ashley Giles. He should be taking the Boje way out of cricket. I better get a farewell post ready.

Oye! Balle Balle!

2 comments

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Boje follows Martyn out of international cricket

I had never known of a player retiring from international cricket only days after a recall to the test side. That was until I read this : S Africa's Boje announces retirement.

If Damien Martyn's retirement decision was surprising then what is this?

Just as the South African selectors announced Boje's name for the test squad and everyone was talking about how happy they were for him, comes this announcement. I thought it has to be every cricketer's dream to represent one's nation; more so when you have been there once and are looking for a comeback.

Mr.Boje. What is on your mind?

5 comments

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Unravelling Indian cricket's greatest enigma

Here is a question that poses itself in front of everyone who has been following Indian cricket for the past year or so: Is Sachin's cricketing career converging to an end?

I have asked myself this question a few times and quite frankly, I have got no answer. Sachin’s batting form has really been a mystery to unravel. People say he is short of confidence. Short of confidence for such a long time? Very unlikely. A professional cricketer like Sachin surely cannot take more than a year sorting out problems in his head. Then what is it? Aging? Dwindling reflexes? Or just pure bad luck?

Thinking logically, ‘aging’ and ‘dwindling reflexes’ again seem very unconvincing arguments. Look at Brain Lara. Past 36 and yet going strong. What is it that he has got that Sachin hasn’t? And it is not that Sachin has not been able to put bat to ball at all. The first match in the ongoing India-SA cricket series had a Sachin taking it to Makhaya Ntini of whom he played such exquisite strokes that Ntini for no fault of his, was reduced to a mere school-boy with a lollipop in his mouth. But then, just as I thought “here is the 16 year old vanquisher of bowlers that we know”, he decided to go down without as much as a flicker in the next three matches. Quite an enigma, is he.

So, as of now, the only other reason that I can possibly think of is this: bad luck. Yes, that is the reason. I know it sounds strange and very amateurish but give me a better reason if you can.

And as I come to the end of this post I again have the same old question hovering before my eyes: Is Sachin's cricketing life converging to an end?

You want an answer? I'll tell you what. Just take a look at this little clip at the end of the post. Combine what you see with this adage oft quoted in cricket circles  that says Class is permanent and you have the answer!


5 comments

Monday, December 11, 2006

When money seems bigger than cricket....

The stinking sewers behind the beautiful monument called cricket:

This article had me feeling sick in the stomach. 

Come what may, cricket retains the loyalty of the Indian sponsor. Despite the Men in Blue turning in a series of uninspiring performances, industry sources estimate that the country would be contributing as much as $800 million out of $1.1 billion -the ESPN-Star Sports bid value which won ICC’s global broadcast rights from late 2007 to 2015.

‘‘It is true that the biggest market for cricket is in Asia and India is a very important partner,’’ an ICC spokesperson told TOI on Sunday.

‘‘The broadcaster will get maximum returns from Indian sponsors. About 94% (close to $800 million) of $850 million from the sub-continent is expected to come from India in 7 years with 155 days of live cricket (165 matches going by current schedule).’’ an industry source said.

Makes me feel like some cheap casino slot machine. Yuck. ICC should have kept these gory details to themselves.

4 comments

The muttaiah muralitharan run-out issue

Cricket's bizzare moment:
What happened was this(from the commentary at cricinfo) : "Sangakkara whips that down to fine leg and the single brings up his century, but Murali touched down at the striker's end, turned around and left his crease to congratulate Sangakkara, the throw came in and McCullum whipped off the bails to run-out Murali, what a way for the innings to end. The ball was not dead and Murali should not have left his crease, it's all very unfortunate for Sri Lanka."

It was bizarre and something very rare. Yet it was very much within the ambit of cricket laws and rules. Muralidharan was certainly out. But the debate out there seems to be whether New Zealand was justified in appealing for the wicket or should they have just left Murali to celebrate with Sanga.

Opinion seems to be divided. In fact I am quite surprised that opinion is divided. I did not watch the match but from what I hear and read it really does seem like Murali has made a fool of himself.

How many times have batsmen scored centuries and how many times has the non-striker run over to congratulate the centurion, in each case first making sure of his own safety. A batsman must guard his wicket first and then think of anything else. In a game such as cricket where a team wins only at the cost of the other you cannot expect the other team to be compassionate and benevolent towards you. This is a competitive game where every player is hell bent on winning. Would NZ have forgiven themselves if the partnership had gone on to effect their defeat? You can call it cowardice, desperation or anything but New Zealand have got a win, while playing within the game’s rules, and at the end of the day that is what should matter for every player playing for his country. We don’t have saints here. These are hardcore professionals out there.

1 comments

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Selection quandary for Indians

The biggest positive to come out of India’s game against Rest of South Africa was according to me VRV Singh. How often do we see an Indian bowler hit the 145 kph mark? The fact that VRV achieved that very mark itself qualifies him as an exciting prospect for Indian cricket. Add to that accuracy and bounce and he becomes as menacing as any bowler. He is surely a very strong contender for a Test team slot.

Now, Zaheer has been bowling as well as anyone could. So he is a surety into the squad. Sreesanth has been impressive in the one-dayers. Kumble is always a matchwinner. Munaf is out of contention with an injury. Pathan and Harbhajan are the others with a chance. If Pathan makes it, it will only be because of his success with the bat, and I feel it would be a very negative decision if a bowler is included in the squad only because of his batting skills. However, given the kind of hole the batsmen have dug for themselves, Pathan’s inclusion will be tempting. Very interesting times ahead for the selectors.

My choice: Zaheer, VRV, Sreesanth and Kumble.

Only this quartet, I feel, is capable of taking 20 South African wickets with a very low score (this I can safely assume) to defend.

1 comments

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Welcome to the PCB show

Just take a look at these turn of events (in sequence as reported in cricinfo) 

-       Asif and Akhtar to return home 
-       PCB to have zero-tolerance on doping (??!!)
-       Shoaib and Asif banned for drugs use
-       Shoaib and Asif acquitted           (Whoa!!)

Smell a rat? I cant bear the stench. I thought England's Ashes loss was cricket's greatest turnaround. This beats it by miles. 

2 comments

Ganguly - the messiah of Indian cricket?

W Jaffer lbw b Hayward 0 3
V Sehwag b Morkel 0 1
VVS Laxman c Kemp b Morkel 23 61
SR Tendulkar c Kemp b Morkel 10 27
SC Ganguly not out 70 121
MS Dhoni c van Wyk b Morkel 6 13
IK Pathan not out 54 88


Looks like Ganguly's inclusion has paid off. Good for him and for Indian cricket.  Dont know about Chappell though (Cant help taking a dig at this guy).

 

2 comments

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

England lose. What?!!

Cricket's greatest turnaround : At the moment I am as speechless as England probably are. Australia have achieved the unthinkable. England too has achieved the unthinkable. Just when I thought they had a chance. Ponting and Warne think this is Australia's greatest win. And why not?

And England have managed to pull off some very dubious distinctions, the least of which isnt this one : They are now only the second team to lose after declaring for the 500-plus total in the first innings of a Test. The only other team which managed that was West Indies at Port-of-Spain - ironically against England.

And the Australians meanwhile continue to indulge in their favourite sport : Pom Thrashing.

7 comments

Monday, December 4, 2006

Chappell speaks.....

Cricket coach's cracks :

“We set out to bat as well as we could and make sure we batted 50 overs, which we managed to do. But obviously, it wasn't enough. This type of a wicket does a bit in the morning, and they bowled well under the conditions. Having said that, 200 wasn't enough. We should have made more."

(Thanks for telling us that Mr.Chappell but can you tell us how?)

"The remedy has got to come from within the players"

(Oh yeah. The coach is a guy who cooks food for the players)

"I can't keep giving messages to the Indian cricket fans”

(Thanks. You are so kind. Can I kiss you?)

2 comments

Sunday, December 3, 2006

South Africans humiliate India. *Yawn*

Cricket talk: What a beautiful day for Indian cricket. We crossed 200 runs!!!! Can you believe that?!!! And we lasted 50 full overs!(A million more ‘!’s here)

One person who has to come out with some answers is this nice old man with thinning grey hair from Australia who calls himself the coach(and what does that word mean?) and who has devised this brilliant, innovative and hugely successful strategy called ‘experimentation and rotation of players’ which neither allows youngsters to settle nor gives seniors the time to rub in some of their experience.

And why has the experimentation stopped with the Rainas and the Kaifs? And what about the batting order? Sehwag and Sachin are not at the top of their games. Why couldn’t Dhoni have been promoted? Come on Mr.Chappell. Give us some answers.

7 comments

ENGLAND IN WITH A CHANCE?

Cricket talk: Cricket is truly a very funny game. 2 days ago the title of this post would have had me rolling on the floor laughing. But now I find myself asking this very question. All credit to England for coming back so strong after the drubbing they got in the first test.

Collingwood , Pietersen, Hoggard and co. have played with pride and purpose. Well done guys! This is what we want to see. Give the Aussies some stick. Show them they can’t always win. Only that can make cricket and the Ashes more interesting.

Three cheers for the English!

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Saturday, December 2, 2006

Nice game this Twenty/20 - Cricket's new Avatar

This is clearly the future of cricket. Cricket sure has come a long way. From the gentlemen’s game of test cricket to the game of fun, dance and music.


India played its first Twenty/20 (pro20?) game yesterday and I saw a twinety/20 match for the first time. Kinda liked it. Has the atmosphere of a soccer game. The crowd cheering at their loudest. The loud music between overs. The dancing cheerleaders. The players and coach sitting just outside the boundary ropes egging their teams along. And above all the endearingly exciting and hectic pace of the game.

It was almost bizarre. Well, India won. Can it get more bizarre than that?

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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Aha! Look who's made it to the Indian team.

Ganguly is back. Dada is back. Why? How? Wasnt he the man who was ousted off of the team very ungraciously? I can think of three possible reasons for why he is back:

1) His century at the Duleep trophy.
2) Dilip Vengsarkar is fond of him.
3) For want of a better player.

Did I hear someone shout OPTION 3?

 

3 comments

Aaaaaarrrgggh!! Yet another docile loss for India.


I had made an optimistic post here about how we will see a swing in fortunes for Indian cricket. But the last match tested my optimism to the limit and it finally had to give way. 

I am totally irked by the way the Indians have been playing their cricket for the past few weeks. There seems to be no end to the Indian batting woes. From the first we have heard talks of the SA cricket pitches being bouncy and that in time the Indian cricketers will get adjusted to it. I only see them getting worse. I think it is about quality. India’s batting line up is no longer the feared vanquisher of foes. There are only a handful of good batsmen in the team and when some of them are injured India’s poor bench strength stands exposed. The inclusion of Jaffer and Kaif who were simply not upto the task reflects how less choice the Indian selectors have when it comes to replacements.

With the exception of Dhoni and Pathan, the way we went about with our batting in the 4th ODI cricket match against South Africa was akin to sheep walking into a lion’s lair only to get mercilessly slaughtered. Either of Sehwag or Sachin had to get runs for something to happen. Instead both chose to get out to not-very-menacing deliveries.

The bowlers, however, got their act right with incisive spells from Zaheer, Kumble & Sreesanth. Some good bowling in the death and some very economical bowling by Sehwag and Tendulkar in the middle overs constrained the South Africans to 242, inspite of a well-srtuck 93* by Gibbs and a ferocious 49 by Kallis, who actually did well to comeback from losing 2 quick wickets. But for the Indian batting line up this was just too much.

Look at the FOWs for yesterdays match. No lasting partnerships at all.

FOW : 1-23 (Jaffer, 5.4 ov), 2-24 (Tendulkar, 6.2 ov), 3-38 (Sehwag, 9.3 ov), 4-39 (Kaif, 12.4 ov), 5-82 (Dhoni, 19.5 ov), 6-109 (Karthik, 24.1 ov), 7-128 (Agarkar, 28.2 ov), 8-145 (Khan, 31.1 ov), 9-150 (Kumble, 34.3 ov), 10-163 (Sreesanth, 38.1 ov)

And we are talking about a team which is fancying its chances in the coming ICC Cricket World Cup. I say just forget about it.

2 comments

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Dravid’s injury will hurt India badly.

Dravid joins Munaf Patel and Yuvraj Singh in the list of injured Indian cricketers.

His absence from the next 2 matches is surely going to hurt but one good thing to come out of this is the recall of VVS Laxman. I still can’t understand why VVS with so much class, experience and of course style had to sit out of the team for so long. If ever India has needed anyone badly it was him. Surely the likes of Mongia, Raina and Kaif cannot be replacements for a batsman of such high quality. I strongly feel he must be a part of Indian cricket’s scheme of things for the 2007 Cricket World Cup. If he can sneak in a good performance here he could get the selectors to think so too.



 

2 comments

Pakistan vs West Indies – from wicket feast to run feast to wicket feast

Quite a roller-coaster series this is being for the West Indies, as has been West Indian cricket for the past few years. From a humiliating defeat in the 1st match to a respectful (almost dominating) draw in the 2nd to again a very unenviable position in the the 3rd Test.

Reeling at 191/6, are the West Indians with a deficit of 113 runs to cover. With their only consistent performer Lara in the hut, Darren Ganga (77*) and Jesus Christ seem to be their only hopes to salvage a draw in this series.



 

2 comments

Monday, November 27, 2006

Yes, South Africa have got another big win over India. But did you notice those really positive signs for India in this game?

A lot of people who watched the 3rd ODI between India and South Africa would put down India’s performance on the cricket field as abysmal, inexcusable and horrifying. Now, I really cannot disagree. After all conceding 105 runs in the last 8 overs and allowing the opposition to get to 274/6 from 76/6 can hardly be termed as commendable.

But for some strange reason, I thought they were not that bad after all. For starters getting 6 South African wickets for 76 runs was a feat worthy of praise. Specially notable was Zaheer Khan’s almost unplayable first spell. Two quality wickets in the first over (of Smith and Kallis) is ample proof of how good he was. Splendid bowling and a very good sign for the future of Indian cricket's pace bowling department.

Another significant feature of the game was Kumble-the-eternal-matchwinner’s comeback to ODI cricket after a gap of 2 yrs. And what a comeback it was. 10-1-24-0 read his figures. That last column could have been different had some pretty close LBW shouts gone his way. Unlucky. But that is expected in a cricket game.

The other bowlers though were very very ordinary. I still think Agarkar is too inconsistent to be a part of the team. Pathan has no pace and will have to bring in more variations into his bowling. Harbhajan looks ineffective on South African pitches.

As for the batting we had two contrasting players forming a beautiful combination in the middle threatening to take the match away from the Africans. Dhoni and Dravid. Dravid got into his usual role of resurrecting yet another woefully lacking batting effort. He was literally a brick wall, technically sound and amazingly skillful in stealing singles. He was slow but in that situation even the craziest cricket fan cannot and should not expect him to go blazing away.

And Dhoni. Wow! He was breathtaking to say the least. That six that sailed out of the stadium could have as well landed in the sea. 4 huge sixers and 3 immaculately struck fours. Had Loots Bosman not come up with that excellent catch in the deep to dismiss Dhoni the game would have been a different story. But there was one more man who bettered him when it came to hard hitting. And that man was a South African. Justin Kemp, the man who scripted the result of the match. 7 sixers and 6 fours. Very hard not to end up on the winning side with such an effort.

As for the rest of the Indian batsmen, they really didn’t look out-of-form to me. They were not touchy and all that. Sehwag, Sachin and Dinesh Kaarthick did look confident. I think they will provide us some entertainment in the coming matches.

On the whole I must say the Indian team was not as clueless as that scoreboard shows and we are going to have some good games ahead. I promise! You can call that incorrigible optimism. I call it informed opinion!

0 comments

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Ashes come alive : Pietersen vs Shane Warne

Wow! Just when I thought the Ashes were getting boring Pietersen has shown us all why it can
be so compelling. He's really smacking Warne black and blue at the Gabba. One more boundary as I type. He's taking Warnie on man. What a lovely cricket player to watch. Collingwood has joined the party too. Down the track and a four over long on.
Wherever you are tune in to Ashes. There is a real cricket match on guys.
Just Imagine: What if England wins this game? Ponting will have to kill himself or his fellow Australians will do the job........

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

My Interest in the Ashes is waning. Maybe yours is too.

England are being chickens guys. What is it this time that they have not been able to produce the same magic on the cricket field as the last time? The absence of Simon Jones? Of Micheal Vaughan? The presence of McGrath? Or the out-of-form Harmisson?

Whatever is the reason; this is being a cheap series man. Not the enthralling, absorbing, exciting, stick-to-the-TV kind of contest that was the last Ashes.

And with Australia not enforcing the follow-on and further torturing the English, it looks their fate is sealed. Anyone thinking about a draw has gone nuts or doesn’t understand cricket. I mean the English couldn’t manage 200+ and 700+ would be too harsh on the little kids.

More cricket: Elsewhere, India is getting belted badly at the hands of the South Africans. I feel the Indian batsmen have to sort out their discomfort against the SA pace attack. Sachin was looking very good the other day and hope he gets to a big score on Sunday. He and Dravid are our only hopes.
 

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Australia indulge in their favourite sport - Pom beating

England are looking hapless at the moment. Day 2 ends and we have had another cricketing day of pure unadulterated Australian dominance. Even Stuart Clark had to smash two consecutive sixes to really show the English what they will have to face for about a month and a half. Ponting & Hussey played like they play all the time, but with an added glint in the eye because they were hitting the ”Poms” this time.

602/9 decl. read the Australian total. Before concluding that the wicket is a batting beauty for that kind of score to be possible, look at what England’s score read like at the end of the day : 53/3. Lo! The pitch has suddenly become a bowlers paradise.

I dont know what the English are going to do now. Pietersen and Flintoff will have to put their hands up now and post big scores. Bell too is capable of hanging around at the wicket and should do just that. All said and done one thing is clear: it is going to take some extraordinary cricket from the English to thwart this Aussie challenge and a great amount of optimism to expect them to do that.
 

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Ashes arrive and Australia roar form the word go.

The most awaited cricket series of the year, the 2006 Ashes are here at last! And the cricket
world is left wondering if the Ashes will keep up to the hype.

The first day has come to an end and the English are left looking like a shadow of the team that won the Ashes in 2005. It was Australia all through the day. And I hope it is not Australia all through the series. Of course, being a neutral observer, I dont have any favourites, but if cricket has to win, the games have got to be close enough. A 3–2 scoreline would be the best, right?

The previous Ashes series was so great a success only because of the unpredictable nature of the games till the last ball was sent down. I can still recall the wicket Harmisson took in the very last over. What an absorbing cricket match that was!

I am yearning for a repeat. We all are. And I hope it happens. But somehow against all my hoping, I have a feeling Australia are going to rout England. The home advantage will play a huge role. Combine it with the high quality cricketing talent that runs through the Australian ranks and you have a very potent force that will take a mammoth effort to defeat. Again I hope England can produce that mammoth effort. Nothing wrong in hoping after all……

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India get stomped over

It seemed like a cricket match between Aus and some club team in Uganda. India fell like a very weak pack of cards succumbing to the pace and movement of the Proteas’ seam bowlers. These quickies were really too good man. Sachin was playing so well. He was taking it to Ntini, smashing the cricket ball to the fence with regularity. Then comes Nel and uproots the stumps.

This is the thing with the Proteas’ bowlers. You negotiate one guy and safely put everything in place and in comes another quality quickie who is totally different in style of operation and totally baffles you. It is amazing how all the bowlers can be of such high quality.

All said and done the Indian batting ws pathetic and unforgivable. Sachin was looking Godly before he too fell, and thus fell the only man, apart fom Dravid, who could make a difference. Once Dravid too went then as they say the rest was very forgettable history. All the others: Jaffer, Raina, Kaif, Mongia and to some extent Dhoni are people still finding their feet and such quality bowling was too good for them.

Where is VVS Laxman? With so may youngsters in the side India could hav done with the experience of VVS, i feel. Dunno whats going to happen in the rest of the series. Its a scary feeling, just thinking of it.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Smashing Lara on the verge of Sachin's record

Cricket is made lovely by great players. And Lara has done as much for the game as anyone could have. Many great players have known to have diminished with age. But the way he is playing against Pakistan, Lara only seems to be improving. A 100 of 77 balls(9th fastest in test cricket) and then 96 more runs and many more to come on day 4. The Pakistani quickers and spinners were flogged with equal disdain in a flawless display of authoritative batting. 7 sixes and 21 fours in all.

And by the way this was his 34th century. One more and he equals Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 35 centuries. Two more and he goes past. Given the way he is batting it doesn’t seem  very unlikely. Way ta go Brain.

3 comments

Monday, November 20, 2006

These Aussies are amazing sledgers. Warnie does the job this time.

Cricket news:  Look at what Shane Warne has to say about Jones’ and Giles’ inclusion in the English team for the ashes: "Duncan Fletcher has definitely got a few favourites. I think that's well-known between everybody. That's why some blokes keep coming back into the side, because they are favourites. But in Australia you need your best keeper because the ball does bounce and carry, and so I'd be very happy to see England go back to Jones and Giles."

"It's surprising that they'd go back to Jones" said Warne. "He'll be under enormous pressure. I think it's a known fact - and it's not me sledging him - that Jones is in the side more for his batting than his keeping. His keeping is steady at best and we saw him drop some crucial catches [in the last series]. You don't want to be dropping Ricky Ponting when he's on half-a-dozen in the first Test of the series, especially when you've just been brought back into the side."

Sounds quite familiar right? How many times have we seen the Aussies single out a few players from the opposition and target them with damning remarks and making uncalled for comments. Its almost getting predictable now. Just before a big series some Australian player or the other unfailingly finds something to poke fun at or provoke a player in the opposition team. The most intriguing part is that it is not always the captain or a particular player that comes up with these comments. It is more like the players taking turns – one for each match or series.

Now, to me this sounds less like a person talking his mind and more like strategic & calculated sledging. I can very well visualize the Aussie team and management seriously discussing who is going to make what comment and on whom rather than about game strategies in their official meetings. And looks like Shane has landed the job this time. And Jones and Giles are to be the victims.

Nothing wrong of course. From the way the Aussies have dominated the cricket scene, it sure does seem like the “strategy” has been quite effective. Who knows when other teams will catch on and cricket will become a war of words rather than a bat and ball game.

 And remember what McGrath had said about Monty Panesar's visits to the psychiatrist? So maybe McGrath has got part of the job too. Too much additional responsibilities on professionals these days.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

India's tour of South Africa

Cricket News : India got thrashed at the champions trophy and India again got thrashed at the hands of South African ‘A’ team in their tour opener. What a life these Indian cricketers lead. Wow!!Do no work and get paid in millions. Okay maybe I’m being too harsh. But I’m sick of hoping for a good series victory. But as they say hope is what keeps the world going. So lets hope the Indians return victorious from this tour of South Africa.

The series is sure going to be interesting. The Indians will be tested by some hostile pace and bounce and it remains to be seen how they will contend with it. The ODIs are going to be played first and then the five-day matches. What is going to be interesting is the twenty/20 match scheduled on 1st of December. Indians play very few of these and this one is going to be a rare treat indeed.

These are the fixtures:

 

South Africa A v Indians

Benoni
16 Nov

Twenty/20

Johannesburg
1 Dec

1st ODI

Johannesburg
19 Nov

5th ODI

Centurion
3 Dec

2nd ODI

Durban
22 Nov

South Africa A v Indians

Potchefstroom
7-10 Dec

3rd ODI

Cape Town
26 Nov

1st Test

Johannesburg
15-19 Dec

4th ODI

Port Elizabeth
29 Nov

2nd Test

Durban
26-30 Dec

 

3rd Test

Cape Town
2-6 Jan


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lots of stuff happening dudes!

Cricket and more cricket news: Its going to be a great season of cricket people. The ongoing Pak-windies series & the coming India’s tour of SA and ofcourse the Ashes are going to ensure quality action in the cricketing world.

“The Ashes” is going to be interesting. England is sure a depleted side. No Simon Jones, no Trescothick (the papers say he is suffering from mental stress; does that mean he’s gone mad?), injury problems for Flintoff etc. etc. etc. With the kind of drubbing they got in the Champions trophy at the hands of Australia, I guess they are the minnows here. But the Ashes always induces some sudden spring in the English side and with people like Pietersen and Harmisson in their ranks England is in no way incapable of turning the tables. This is gonna be exciting man. We are all waiting……..      

 

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Agarkar necessary?

Cricket talk : The Champions trophy really did show the Indian fast bowlers in very poor light. In fact I think they were the main reason for India’s cheap ouster in the tournament. Everyone thinks so I guess.

                     I was browsing through cricinfo and came across a piece of news which said Agarkar has recovered from his injury and is available for the SA tour. Now I dont know if this is supposed to be good or bad news. For one thing I suppose he is one of the bowlers who will get flogged more than claim wickets. Till when will the selectors prefer him to others like Zaheer, Nehra and Balaji? Whats happening? Politics? Surely seems so.

 

2 comments

Thursday, November 9, 2006

The pawar sho(ve)w!

Cricket gossip :

What happened was this : Sharad Pawar being the chief guest of the prize distribution function was standing on the dias after awarding the trophy to Ricky. The whole aussie team(uninvited) runs up to the dias to lift the cup. There is a stampede of sorts and Ponting it seems asks Pawar to “please step off the dias” and Martyn “gently pushes” Pawar off the dias. What nerve!

It seems this is what Sharad Pawar has said about the "pushing" incident.
"This is not good at all, but I have decided to play it down because we have an extremely good relationship with the Australian board and we would like for that to keep going. Those players were not allowed to come onto the dais. It was only supposed to be the captain. Certainly I would accept an apology because then we could close this chapter. The Australian board is headed by a respected and civilised man and our relationship is extremely good. If they apologise, it would be a good signal to the people in this country."

James Sutherland, Cricket Australia CEO had said yesterday that the relations between both boards were absolutely fine. "It's unfortunate that there has been an interpretation of disrespect from that. I know that no disrespect was intended by the Australian players; I have spoken to Ricky about it. Perhaps sometimes these things can happen between different cultures.”

The last sentence is interesting. I feel it is important for a visitor to understand the conventions and practices of a host and behave accordingly. It is inexcusable for a guest to claim a “clash of cultures” after he has willingly been a guest. Would any other team have behaves the same way? No way. The Australians at the moment are surely too full of themselves and need to be taught some humility. Right? Hope they fail miserably at the world cup. Woe befall this team on the cricket field. That would hopefully strip them off some of their ego.

3 comments

Monday, October 23, 2006

Champions trophy predictions - This is what the **stars** say

Matches that have already happened

Sri Lanka v Bangladesh                                                                   
Sri Lanka won by 37 runs                                                   

West Indies v Zimbabwe
West Indies won by 9 wkts

Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe
Sri Lanka won by 144 runs

W Indies v Bangladesh
West Indies won by 10 wkts

Bangladesh v Zimbabwe
Bangladesh won by 101 rns

Sri Lanka v West Indies
Sri Lanka won by 9 wickets

India v England
India won by 4 wickets

New Zealand v Sth Africa
N Zealand won by 87 runs

Pakistan v Sri Lanka
Pakistan won by 4 wickets

Australia v West Indies
West Indies won by 10 runs

New Zealand v Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka won by 7 wickets

Australia v England
Australia won by 6 wickets

 

Games that are yet to happen

South Africa v Sri Lanka
Ahmedabad - 24 Oct

New Zealand v Pakistan
Mohali - 25 Oct

India v West Indies
Ahmedabad - 26 Oct

Pakistan v South Africa
Mohali - 27 Oct

England v West Indies
Ahmedabad - 28 Oct

India v Australia
Mohali - 29 Oct

1st Semifinal
Mohali - 1 Nov

2nd Semifinal
Jaipur - 2 Nov

Final
Mumbai - 5 Nov

 

 

 

My predictions – lets see what happens

 

South Africa v Sri Lanka
Ahmedabad - 24 Oct                       Sri Lanka wins

New Zealand v Pakistan
Mohali - 25 Oct                               New Zealand wins

India v West Indies
Ahmedabad - 26 Oct                       India Wins

Pakistan v South Africa 
Mohali - 27 Oct                               Pakistan wins               

England v West Indies
Ahmedabad - 28 Oct                       West Indies win

India v Australia
Mohali - 29 Oct                                India wins

1st Semifinal                                      will be between West Indies and Sri Lanka
Mohali - 1 Nov                                  Sri Lanka wins

2nd Semifinal                                     will be between India and New Zealand
Jaipur - 2 Nov                                    India win

Final                                                   will be between  India and Sri Lanka
Mumbai - 5 Nov                                  India win and lift the Champions Trophy

 

What do you have to say?

 

 

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Murali's magic.

Cricket News :  Today was the 5th match of the Champions Trophy between Sri Lanka and New Zealand. New Zealand recieved a drubbing at the hands of Sri Lanka as the Lankans cruised to victory after having achieved the target of 166 with 14 overs to spare losing only 3 wickets.]

                          And today was the day when a left handed Jacob Oram got bowled behind his legs (not around) as the ball pitched on mid stayed straight and hit middle while Oram was playing for the turn with his bat planted on the off stump line.. He looked quite silly . But the ball Murali bowled looked magnificient and just perfect. The line, length, amount of tweak eveything. Thus continued Murali as he grabbed 4 wickets and devastated the Kiwi batting line-up.

                         But the Kiwis had a face saviour too – Daniel Vettori. His little cameo of 46* saw NZ cross the 160s which seemed impossible when they were about 125 / 9.

                          But still 166 proved grossly insufficient as Sri Lanka sailed through with Jayawardene and Tharanga playing pivotal innings.

Want detailed analysis of the game, scorecards etc? Visit the following webpages :

Cricinfo

Read more about the match at Cricinfo

 

BBC

Read more about the match at BBC

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Why doesn't Gayle smile?

Cricket news : Lemme be frank. I didn’t expect the West Inidans to win. Up against a strong Australian side, they really put up a good performance with Lara leading upfront. I think the highlight of the match was the tight bowling of Samuels and Gayle as much as the heroics of Lara and the Taylor hat-trick.

              Okay the pitch did deteriorate and all that stuff which helped the West Indians. But all said and done the team really looked good and in a fighting spirit. Especially Gayle who seemed unusually irked by something all through the game. I dont know how Gayle manages to be so serious and grim even when the team has won and with all his teammates smiling around him. He really is a comic figure really. I couldnt help laughing even as Gayle was behaving like as though smiling was banned by the ICC. All said and done he is a great man, a solid team player who will really contribute somehow or the other. What a guy! Heee Heee..Hoo..Hooo..Haaa…Haaa..Oh sorry just remembered Gayle’s face when the Windies won.

If you came here to read about the Windies vs Aussies game you should be looking at these links :

 

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                                                                                                Cricinfo

Read more about the match at Cricinfo?>?>?>?>?>?>?>?>

 

Cricket Australia - The australian perspective

Read more about the match at Cricket Australia

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

What a guy is Razzaq!!!!!!!

Pak win the match by 4 wickets and 11 balls to spare.

Cricket news : Razzaq! Wowww! He is a merciless butcher. Pak is struggling, needing more than 7 runs per over with not many wickets in hand, when Razzaq strides in. He whacks a few sixes, a few fours and suddenly the match is finished. Chaminda Vaas got smeared with cream and sauce and then devoured. One Vaas over gave some 15 odd runs that turned the match. Of course the 15 runs included a Razzaq super six and a fabulous four.

                         The Lankans made 253 riding on a quickfire start by Sanath Jayasuriya who scored 48 of 35 balls. But Pak got 255 in style riding on “you know who’s”  back. Shoaib Malik too impressed with a mature and skillful performane on the field. But Razzaq O! Razzaq! What a fella he is.    

If a detailed match report is what you are looking for with neat tables and stuff here are some of the places you should be visiting :

Cricinfo

Read more about the match at Cricinfo

 

Rediff

Read more about the match at Rediff

 

BBC

Read more about the match at BBC News

 

Supercricket

Read more about the match at Suprcricket

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Monday, October 16, 2006


Oct.16th ICC Champions trophy Match 2 :
The Kiwis claim victory over SA in another low scoring match.
Signs of a dry tournament to be?

Cricket News : An inspired captain's knock by Stephen Fleming and a sterling performance by the Kiwi bowlers saw New Zealand through in a low scoring encounter against South Africa at Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai today.  
                              
                               I have always liked Stephen Fleming for his gentlemanly ways and thinking captaincy. And today his innings was a treat to watch. Any one can easily make out that the conditions were not very congenial to batting - what with scores like 195 & 108 (The SA score - out of which 42 were scored by Smith). With batsmen tumbling all round him (like "bicycles in a cycle stand" as Mr.Navjot Sidhu would put it) Fleming shone like a lone star in the darkness. His 89 really lifted the kiwis from deeeeeep depths thus rewarding him with a well deserved Player of the Match Award.
                              
                              People expected the South Africans to cruise home in style. Instead they bruised themselves with some pathetic batting. The New Zealand bowlers bowled with zeal, Kyle Mills especially. Mills removed 3 top order batsmen and then there was no looking back for the Kiwis. For some brief moments when a free scoring Smith was at the crease, the South Africans did look like being in with a chance. But oin comes Oram to get Fleming to spoon
one to a thankful Vettori at mid-off. Oram, Patel and Mills got 3 wickets each while Vettori could manage only one. The other bowler Franklin had to go wicketless. The South Africans were bundled out for a meek 108 giving NZ the first blood for them.

Get a detailed report of the match here : Cricinfo
                                                                                  BBC
                                                                                  Cricket Next



Akhtar, Asif to be sent back home to pak after failing doping test

Cricket News :
 The Pakistan board has decided to send Akhtar and Asif back home after they failed to pass an internal dope test. Akhtar has of course denied this vehemently.
Well...........I always wondered where Shoaib Akhtar got all his stamina from. :-)
                 
                    It is sad though that the tournament will miss players of such calibre who can spruce up a dead match with their performances.
                    
                   Sri Lanka who'll play Pak on the 17th should consider themselves lucky. Right?

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

YO! The men in blue impress!


Cricket flash : What a first match for India!!!! It could have been better though, had we not lost 6 wickets on the way to a well earned victory. Everything seemed to be going right for the Indians right from the toss. Rahul Dravid walked in with Flintoff 
for the toss and called. Rahul won. But the decision to field first was a 
surprise. Perhaps the dew factor influenced his decision. Whatever be 
the case, he was proved right. England succumbed to the Indian bowlers 
and managed to set a meek target of only 126 runs for the Indians to 
chase down. With the exception of Collingwood and to an extend Pietersen 
none of the English batsmen impressed. 

On the other hand the Indian bowlers were real damn superb. Each one of
them - excepting agarkar who was unlucky I think - had decent figures to
show. Munaf who went on t0 bag the Man of the Match award was the best.
The others too  - Pathan, Powar, Agarkar, Harbhajan - were very accurate
and impressive. Powar and Munaf got 3 wickets apiece while Pathan and Bhajji got 2 & 1 respectively.

Sachin back in form

What was most heart warming was to see Sachin bat so fluently. Boundaries 
today flowed out of his willow almost at will. He was unfortunate to have been
 trapped LBW by a ball that stayed really low after a quick 35. Pathan was 
good in streaks. Yuvraj Singh too contributed. Read about the match at Cricinfo

Read more about the match here :  
Cricinfo
Read about the
match at Cricinfo


Rediff
Read about the
match at Cricinfo

BBC
Read about the
match at Cricinfo

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

West Indies crumble. Sri Lanka strikes a hard blow.
Maharoof stars.


Cricket flash :          What is happening to the Windies? The West Indies - Sri Lanka match was to be the first 'real' match of the tournament. Instead it turned out to be the most lop-sided match of the tournament so far. The scores are, I should say, shocking. West Indies were bowled out for a paltry 80 ina a mere 30 overs.
  
                                   The Lankans then come out and score the needful in a quick 13.2 overs. Jayasuriya and Jayawardene scored 45 and 34 resp at about a run a ball, the only aberration in the lankan innings being the wicket of Upul Tharanga, who got out for nought off the first ball he faced (dragging an Edwards delivery to his stumps).

                                   The West Indian innings was more a parade than a batting display with batsmen coming and going in quick succession. The highest scorer for them was Hinds with 28 of 86 deliveriieeessss. Get the full scorecard at cricinfo here : http://content-ind.cricinfo.com/iccct2006/engine/match/249744.html
  
                                    What is happening to the Windies? They do have stuff in them what with players like lara, gayle, chander, sarwan among others. But something is not going right for them. Lets pray to God for this to be a one-off game for them. If the West Indies too turn into mere sacrificial lambs, what fun would be left in cricket with only a handful of competitive teams?

Cricket flash :            Bangladesh posted a win against Zimbabwe yesterday. Someone had to win after all.

Cricket flash :            What is wrong between the BCCI and the ICC. Modi od BCCI makes some remarks about some contract with the ICC. Malcolm speed of the ICC hits back with some sharp words. Now the BCCI is threatening a pull out? Wow, cricket is a gentleman's game allright. That doesn't apply to the administrators, I guess.




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Friday, October 13, 2006

Why do these matches happen at all?

The teams who qualified into the champions trophy are Sri Lanka and West Indies. I am damn sure every guy knew this a long time ago. Zimbabwean team formation involves more politics than Indian elections I guess. Bangladesh is a hopeless team which will "learn from its losses" till eternity.

No one is interested in these matches. The results are known and the matches are too one-sided. Do such matches happen only in cricket? Such a beautiful and interesting game suddenly turns so lacklustre and irritating. These are the freckles that mar the beauty of cricket.

The argument is that how else are the minnows going to learn if they dont play matches against the better teams. Not a bad point actually. Let them learn. Meanwhile let me have a nap and wait for a better match on Oct 15th.

Cricket flash : As type this two well matched teams are fighting for.....well nothing. Some pride maybe and some prize money. The teams : Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. I know you dont care what the scores are but just for the sake of some information...Bangladesh seems to be in an ok position : 205/5 in 45.3. Some guy called Shahriar Nafees has scored a century. God bless him!

0 comments

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Gibbs - The dude in question!

Cricket flash : After a long time Herschelle Gibbs arrives in India. And of course what had to happen happened. He was grilled by the Delhi Police for over two hours regarding the match fixing fiasco. Looks like he has revealed three SA names to the police and the police now want to question them. We dont mind this at all, do we?, as long as cricket is not affected. Lagey Raho Delhi Police.

Cricket flash : The BCCI vice-president (who cares what his name is) blasts out against the ICC regarding something in the Member's Participation Agreement. Something in it that would mean lesser money for the people in BCCI, I guess. I cant understand and nor do I want to know what exactly all this hue and cry is about, but God! hope this thing does not mar the Champions Trophy all set to commence on 15th. What do you say?

Cricket flash : By the way Windies won the qualifier against Bang damn easily. Gayle(what a player!) scored an excellent century. They won by 10 wickets. Some 165 odd for no loss. The other guy was Chanderpaul with a typical Chanderpaul fifty of 100 odd baaaaaaaaaallllllls.

0 comments

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The champions trophy! Happenning in India!

I've not blogged for quite some days now. My net connecition was down.
Meanwhile all these days a lot has been happening.

Cricket flash : Sri Lanka beats Bangladesh quite easily(Surprise! Surprise!) .But it was actually quite a surprise, the way Bangladesh batted. They loooked OK I should say. Good luck to them.

Cricket flash : And SriLanka beats Zimbabwe too, this time even more easily. Upul Tharanga stars in both these matches with back to back centuries. He is not bad you know. The whole Lankan team is not bad, but of late I think they have slipped. Good players are few and far between. But when they are good, they are really good. Sangakkara, Atapattu, Jayasuriya, Murali, Jayawardene all these guys on their days,can wreak havoc on the field. But they can't fire every match, can they? And precisely here lies Sri Lanka's problem.

Cricket flash : Meanwhile the West Indies are playing Bangladesh today. Bang were some 80/1 from where the have slipped to some 170 odd all-out. Sad. The West Indies we know are quite capable of bettering Bang as far as a batting collapse is concerned. So the match is still open. Remains to be seen what happens........

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Friday, October 6, 2006

Countdown to the champions trophy
Cricket flash : The teams are trickling into India. Warm up matches are happening. Srilanka and Zimbabwe won some practice matches. Yes you read that right..Zimbabwe won a match..sounds unbeleivable. The defending champs West Indies have arrived.

Cricket flash : PCA complains against BCCI for imposing matches on Punjab CA. Less revenue is what they hold against the BCCI. But things seem to be ironing out.

Cricket flash : Meanwhile I dont have high hopes of India doing too well. The team has been struggling and each victory is going to be herculean...going by the recent results. Anyway lets hope for the best.

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Thursday, October 5, 2006

The HAIRy controversy

Cricket flash : God knows what more can happen to the game of cricket. Hair calls Inzy for ball-tampering. Inzy refuses to take the field after tea-time. England which is sure to lose the match is declared winner.

Some time later....Inzy is cleared of ball-tampering charges. However he is charged with disturbing the game and awarded a 4 match ban. Meanwhile Hair "drops out" of the Championship Trophy. Cricket never ceases to create gossip. Does it?

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My new blog. wow. From a cricket fan to a cricket fan.
This blog will be about the latest happenings in the game of cricket from an ordinary follower point of view. Wish me good luck.

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