Monday, January 22, 2007

India won. West Indies lost. Thats all.

India won. Ganguly played well in an ideally scripted comeback innings (except for having fallen 2 runs short of a wonderfully well deserved century). The pitch was a total belter. I mean when even Dravid could thrash the cricket ball around for clean sixes on a regular basis, the pitch has to be nothing short of a scorcher! I bet Sehwag would have been smacking his lips at home!

Now, we should understand that this match is no indication of things to come. We have to understand that Indian cricket is only as predictable as a drunkard's ramblings and that this match itself could have gone the West Indian way on another day (What if that run-out chance against Dhoni was not missed?). In other words, to warrant a safe bet about the Indian cricket team coming good in the World Cup, we should have done a lot better, especially so in the bowling department. We were way too expensive. Sreesanth and Agarkar were ducks in a pond. Zaheer, though is getting more and more impressive and looks a lot like a man on a mission - to be one of the best bowlers in world cricket. The self motivation is obvious as is the pride with which he values the India cap. Way ta go Zaheer bhai!

Bhajji was all guile and great to watch but again really couldnt plug the flow of runs(really, Anil Kumble is the man for such occasions. He is a master at frustrating the batsman with precise bowling and making the most of the resulting pressure induced on the batsman. Mind games are so important in cricket. Sadly, the selectors think otherwise).

As for India's batting the effort was good, but still not very convincing. With wickets in hand and a beautiful and fast scoring opening partnership having happened we could have done with some risks in the middle overs. Well, if the West Indians could come so close, the Aussies would have cleaned us up.

All said and done, I think the cricketers from the Carribean have a nice team stitched up. With some good hitters in the middle order and also the advantage of "home-conditions" they could well be the dark horses in the World Cup.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Gibbs and South African cricket's quota system

South African cricket just refuses to drop Gibbs. The match-fixing scandal in India he got involved in, the case of racial abuse charge slammed against him and the recent run of horrid form he went through are all classic cases where it seems like the player is almost begging to be done away with.

But no said the South African cricket selectors. We will not keep you out. You will be banned for a few games but you will be back.

Now, I doubt if Gibbs would have recieved the same treatment had he been a white man. It could very well be possible that the South Africans want Gibbs in the cricket team since his ouster would mean another good 'coloured' batsman, who may be hard to come by, needs to be found. In short his presence is necessary only to fill in the gaps.

So the question is : Is it ethical to keep a cheater, also charged of racial abuse, in the national team only to satisfy a quota system which ironically is in place to counter this very same racism in cricket?


Monday, January 15, 2007

Good. Sehwag gets the axe.

Sehwag was looking a lot like a man having taken his place in the team for granted, wasnt he? A lot like Sourav Ganguly of the yore. The prince of Kolkata went back, worked on his cricket, did a lot of thinking and came back afresh as a different man. Not radically different. But just that slight change in attitude required to survive the expectations and pressures of competitive cricket in India. He is still the same cricket player (he's still clumsy with the short ball), but he is a different human being. And one of cricket's most watchable piercers of the off-side field IS BACK, atleast as of now.

Now, Sehwag has been dropped for the coming cricket series against the West Indians. And he too will have to emulate Ganguly. And I dare to say HE WILL. He will untangle the knots in his head (not the hair! he's bald for God's sake!) and come back as the same attacking and free-wheeling cricketer but as a whole new human being. He will play and miss. He will top-edge the cricket ball into the boundary behind the slip cordon and all that. But he will never take things for granted again. A changed VIRU WILL BE BACK! Much quicker than Sourav. You hear that?

And as I say that I should also mention that Sehwag's future will depend on how well or how bad Robin Uthappa (his replacement) performs, doesnt it? Ganguly got in riding on the back of other's failures. Sehwag might require something similar now. So if I was Sehwag, I would be rushing to the nearest temple and praying for. . . . . . er. . . . . . well. . . . . . . you know what!


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Australia hell-bent on dismantling English cricket

Another win for the Aussies. Another loss for the English. Another huge margin. Another doubtlessly convincing thrashing. Only difference being the format of the game. This time its twenty20 cricket.

Thats the thing about the way Aussies play their cricket. They will first strangle you. Then they will make you drown in cold water. They will then pull you out only to smash your head against a rock and finally they will throw you off a high cliff into abyssmal depths. Merciless.


Monday, January 8, 2007

Didnt we see it coming?

Didnt we see India's defeat coming? When Dravid, the great wall of cricket, goes without a half-century for six consecutive innings, we know something is amiss. And something is really amiss in Indian cricket. Oh no, I am not going to indulge in mudslinging for the defeat. But you could see that lack of surety and severity, couldn't you? And just how many times have you seen Sachin Tendulkar take 62 balls for a paltry 14 runs? Remember we are talking about a batsmen know as the masterblaster. Sounds quite paradoxical. The master blaster has scored 14 runs of 62 balls, goes the newsreader!

Doubts. The Indian cricketer's mind is full of doubts. Will we win this match? What if we lose? You hardly say the word lose and you are lost. Surety and severity. That is what we need. Its there in the younger members of the team. Dhoni, Sreesanth, Kaarthick and co. But with the seniors its a different story. Maybe that's the only difference between the Indian and Australian cricket teams. One is sure and severe. The other mild, timid and unsure. But this is only a passing phase, is what I hope. We will come out of it in time for the 2007 cricket world cup, is what I hope.

One man is sure to bounce back. Rahul, THE WALL, Dravid. And Sachin might have a surprise in store too. But about one other man you can only get down on your knees and pray: Sehwag.