Friday, June 29, 2007

What was inevitable has finally happened..just a lot quicker

It was all very nice to see the top five Bangladesh batsmen hold fort against the likes of Murali, Malinga and Fernando for as many as 80 full overs on the 3rd day of their test match against Sri Lanka. But then we all knew Sri Lanka had the game firmly in their grasp right from day one.

And on the 4th day Malinga's toe-crunching yorkers and Murali's cunning doosra's, quite a handful for any team, unsurprisingly proved a little too hot for the Bangladesh boys.

Malinga and Murali, in the space of just 5 overs between them, managed 5 scalps and sealed the match. Wow! That was quick! I knew the victory was coming..but not that quick!

And let not Malinga's colourful curls fool you. This man can talk a lot of sense. This interview of his where he talks about his unique bowling style, his inspiration and his strategies makes for some especially interesting reading.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Remember Dodda Ganesh? Remember Mohd. Azharuddin?

It is no secret that Indian cricket is flooded with more political presence than is necessary. And now Indian politics is going to see some cricket presence too. Dodda Ganesh has made an entry into the realm of Indian politics by enrolling into no lesser a party than the JD(S), that of our very own former Prime Minister Mr.H.D.Deve Gowda!

Now, I wouldn't be too surprised if you said Dodda Ganesh who? For his has been only a fleeting presence in International cricket playing for the Indian team, what with just 4 test matches and a single one-day international to his name. But he has been a leading pace bowler for the Karnataka team for over a decade and just recently he decided to announce his retirement from all forms of cricket. And now he is going to experiment with some politics.

This bit of news partly interests me because of the fact that not too many Indian cricketers have tried their hand at politics apart from the odd Kirti Azad of course, which is surprising given the amount of publicity the average Indian cricketer enjoys here. But what makes things even more interesting and, may I say, gossip worthy is that Mohammed Azharuddin, the former Indian skipper, has a hand in this decision of Ganesh! Actually, not just a hand but a while lot more. Apparently Azhar is gifting Ganesh with a whopping Rs.10 crore to help him in his political aspirations! Now, who would have thought Azhar and Ganesh were such chums.

If you are too confused as to how this sudden friendship could have blossomed you could do with this little piece of news:
According to reports the former captain had some business interests in the city(Bangalore) connected to hospitality industry.
So there is the catch! Azhar has a business interest in Bangalore and perhaps he thought gaining some political clout in the city would not be bad.


Muralidharan tormenting Bangladesh

Sri Lankans have a serious knack in dealing with lesser teams of the cricket World or otherwise the 'minnows'. Every time Sri Lanka is pitted against a minnow, the minnow invariably gets horribly crushed under the Lankan attack. While other teams too generally manage to win against the weaker ones, Sri Lankans almost always run through them like a mighty cyclone. Bangladesh is getting the treatment this time and spearheading the assault is Muralidharan. With 5 wickets in the first innings and two more as of now in the second, he is brutally wounding Bangladesh in the ongoing test match against them at Colombo. And he is currently about 40 odd wickets away from overturning Shane Warne's record of most number of test wickets. Two more test matches against Bangladesh and I think he will achieve that mark with ease!

That said, some credit should be given to the way the Bangladesh batsmen have performed in the second innings. Their first innings was a disaster with them falling for a mere 89 all out and to be honest I didn't expect anything better from them in the second innings too. But surprisingly they have done really well so far sticking to the crease with an almost stubborn resistance. Of course the match is practically in Lankan hands now but this unexpected Bangaldeshi resistance has been a treat to watch. The Fernando-Ashraful duel was especially entertaining to the core. But unfortunately Ashraful fell trying to hoist one over long on. And guess who got the wicket. Yes, the wily Murali again.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Another messed up oppurtunity

Even with all those players(Dhoni, Sreesanth and Agarkar) down with flu India could still have scored a victory against a strong South African team if only the batsmen had done a less messier job doing the last 10 overs of the Indian innings. The total dependence of the lower order on Dhoni's antics during the slog overs is too obvious and his absence in this match clearly showed. Like South Africans Mark Boucher, Andrew Hall and Shaun Pollock in the lower order the Indian team too is in dire need of some similar players who can murderously swing the bat during the death.

Fortunately, Tendulkar and Dravid struck a good partnership (one of those rare ones) to take the Indian score to 190/2 with 8 overs to spare. One of those 8 overs yielded 18 runs belted by the ever improving Dinesh Kaarthick. That means of the remaining seven overs the batsmen could only score a meager 34 runs! And having 8 wickets in hand that is just atrocious.

Anyway that said, it was nice to see Tendulkar gather some runs in the match. Though the innings was surely not of the quality that you would expect from the man, the fact that he got some runs itself, given his recent performances, is a big thing. Too bad that he had to miss out on the century by just a run.

But the man of the day was surely Kallis. He has tormented our bowlers for quite some time now and if not for his stubborn stay at the batting crease, I think I can safely presume, Piyush Chawla's efforts with the ball would have been rewarded with with a sweet victory.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Cricket teams and their boards

It is interesting that when a team is suffering with its on-field performance the respective board also begins to struggle with its functions and vice-versa. Here are some facts:
* The Pakistan team is struggling on the field and the board too is neck deep in all sorts of controversies, allegations and counter-allegations regarding selections, coaches and what not!

* Same with the Indian board. The playing team has lost its way entirely and so has the board. What with all that ruckus about coach selection and player's contracts etc.

* Zimbabwean cricket has always struggled. The board and the players hardly recognize each other's powers. Hell, the whole country is struggling over there.

* And ofcourse the West Indian cricket board. While the team of cricketers have been busy exploring unknown depths, the board is in a complete tangle regarding contract issues and tour management. The captain and the board are eternally going after each others throats and mutual satisfaction seems a far dream.
Looks like there is some mysterious connection between a cricket team's form on the field and it's concerned cricket board's management duties off the field.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Pray tell me this isnt true!!

Why should politics always be so entwined with Indian cricket? Hell, why should politics always be so entwined with anything that involves huge money? Why cant the Indian Board just have a respectable former Indian player or for that matter just any respectable man at the helm?

First it was Jagmohan Dalmiya, the biggest crook and the dirtiest scheming politician of all times. Then from nowhere came in the Agriculture minister(!!) for the post and now, god save Indian cricket, coveting the role is the Railway minister! If you have been following Indian politics, you know what that means. Yes, the former Bihar Chief Minister, the one known for those endless scams, the one known more for his Gundagiri, Laloo Prasad Yadav has his eyes set on filling the post of BCCI Chief when Sharad Pawar, the agriculture minister, will vacate it for the even higher post of ICC Chief.

The BCCI is already in an obvious mess with all the recent shams and farcical happenings concerning its rather basic function of finding a decent coach for the cricket team. Added to that is all the criticism they are raking in regarding the players' contracts and the tour games in Australia. The reason is obviously mis-management. So why cant we think of a real manager for the post of chief atleast this time when the Sharad Pawar reign comes to an end?

And by the way, just take look at what one of Laloo's campaigners has to say:
"I think Laluji is the ideal person to run the BCCI. After the way he stood up to Dalmiya when the BCA was removed from the BCCI and Jharkhand given its vote, Laluji has been closely following the goings-on in Indian cricket," a senior BCA official, who did not want to be identified, told IANS on telephone from Patna. "It is only a question of convincing the members, and several affiliated units are keen on the idea of Laluji taking over from Pawar next year after the way he has turned around the fortunes of Indian Railways," added the official.
Ideal indeed! No wonder the person did not want to be named. He was obviously too embarassed to be talking such crap but was only saying it to gain some political favour.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Vaughan does what Ganguly couldn't

The last few months have been quite a heady time for Vaughan. When England pathetically lost the Ashes to Australia everyone pointed at the absence of Vaughan's guiding hand. He came into the World Cup with a big load of expectations and failed miserably, both in 'guiding' the team to much needed victories as also with his own personal performances with the bat and the experts were again there to ridicule him and demand his neck. Then there was the 'Fredalo' controversy which undoubtedly took away the already diminishing respect Vaughan commanded. And so he decided the time was ripe to relinquish one-day captaincy and that is what he has done.
"Since our disappointing performances in the World Cup, I have been giving careful consideration as to what is the best way forward for the England one-day team and my own role within the side," said Vaughan in an ECB statement. "I reached this decision some time ago, but I did not want to announce it until after the end of this Test series to avoid it becoming a distraction to the team."
Atleast that is always better than being roughed up by the media and eventually by the selectors.

In many ways, I feel Vaughan's situation was a lot similar to that of Saurav Ganguly before he was dirtily ousted by Greg Chappell's horribly tasteless schemes. Ganguly too was neck-deep in similar controversies and suffered from poor form. If Ganguly had made the same decision some time before, all those sour incidents involving the sneaky Chappell letter to the BCCI could have been avoided. Rather unfortunately that did not happen and luckily now it has happened in the case of Vaughan.


No end to Monty praise...

Mudhsuden Singh Panesar, better known as Monty Panesar, is quite in the thick of things now. Only a few weeks ago his inclusion in the England eleven was much debated and now he has been the most reliable wicket-taker for England against the West Indians. While England's pace attack has always done most of the work, Panesar's arrival has been gladly recieved as the much needed 'quality spinner' in the English attack. And the encomiums continue to pile up. Here is the sampling of the Monty wave on the Internet.

Monty Magic!

Monty's got mettle

An example to us all - Monty Panesar

Could Monty Panesar become England's top wicket-taker of all time?

And here is the crème de la crème in case you are not already aware of it: Monty Panesar has a whole website dedicated to him and his exploits. The site,, features anything and eveything about Monty and even offers Monty merchandise not the least of which being T shirts shouting out stuff like 'mmmmmmmmmmmmmMonty!' and 'I love Monty'.

This is not just a wave Monty is causing. This is a whole damn cyclone!


Its Monty again

The England team must be enjoying life at the Carribbean. I guess the players just don't want to come back from the tour and want to keep playing the West Indies all year long.

There has been this age old joke about Indian cricket that if anyone need to regain form they just need to play India. And unfortunately that seems to true of the West Indians now. Inspite of a horrible Ashes tour followed by an even worse World Cup, the English now look like champion cricketers. The invincibles.

Vaughan wanted blood. He was talking earlier in the series about ruthlessness and the need to convincingly wrap up the series and ruthless they have been, ably helped but a very condescending West Indian outfit.

And so in combination with some great bowling by Panesar, Hoggard and Harmisson and some pathetic batting in the West Indies' part the match turned out to be
another frustrating one-sider where cricket again lost. Finding new lows consistently, the West Indies have been a big let down.

Honestly, Chanderpaul was the only man in the West Indian camp who looked like he was comfortable with the bat. Another man who looked mildly comfortable was Dwayne Bravo. But Chanderpaul was brilliant and played some really delectable shots. But then he too had to succumb. What with Monty spinning magic like that! He has been a pain in the neck for the West Indian team all through the series and this match was no less. 5 wickets in the second innings with as many as 3 of them being clean bowled.

So now the English are all pumped up. This surge is all the more significant for me because the Indian visit is next up. Wonder what Monty & co. will have in store for us. And I can only hope the Indian team doesn't do another West Indies out there.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Bedi at it again!

Whether he does it to get into the public eye or he really believes in what he says Bishan Singh Bedi has obviously been one of the more outspoken men in Indian cricket circles..possibly even among all international cricketers.

I clearly remember reading about an interview of his that had happened long ago when he was asked what he thought about Murali as a spinner. His reply was typical Bedi: Let him bowl first, we could then talk about his bowling! Yeah, he is outspoken, no doubt. He had further gone on during the same interview to shower praises on Darrell Hair for being brave and courageous, something that no other man would have dared to say, given the controversies that were surrounding hair following his calling Murali for chucking. He is outspoken but he does create some great cricket gossip for the media and the fans to lap up in no time.

And now he is at it again. This time his rants are aimed at Sunil Gavaskar.
"Cricket circles had immense and blind respect for him [as a cricketer] and he successfully used this to ensure that board officials remained in awe of him," Bedi told Outlook, a weekly Indian magazine. "He wants the glamour, the position and if there are any financial gains so much the better ... but he does not want any accountability. He's always liked power without accountability."
Now that is a big allegation. One that can cause more than just a flutter. But then that is Bishen SIngh Bedi. And again whether he said just for some attention garnering or whether he actually meant it will never be known. But his quotes make some good gossip anyway!


Friday, June 15, 2007

You could be the next coach of the Indian cricket team

Are you interested in being the next coach for the Indian cricket team? Here's a sure-to-work step-by-step process to achieve just that:

Step 1: Build a lot of hype around yourself.

Step 2: Get around 5 senior players around the world to talk positively about how great a man you are etc.

Step 3: Go on record expressing your willingness to coach the Indian team and talk about how great the country is, how beautiful the coaching job is, how good Indians in general, how much you love the land and its people etc.

Step 4: Make some friends among the gentlemen at BCCI.

Step 5: (Once you are asked to appear before the panel) Bring a stylish and shiny laptop for the presentation. Make sure the presentation itself is totally awesome. Awesome in the sense, it should have lots of impressive animation, senseless yet colourful graphs and beautiful & imposing pictures. The content can be anything. You could even talk about Little Red Riding Hood, her wrinkly old granny and the big bad wolf. Also make sure the presentation lists a lot of jaw-dropping goals, however unachievable and far-fetched they may be..

Step 6: Make and present more such lists of goals. The more the merrier. This is the critical deciding factor. The more goals you list the more your chances are. And need not worry about elaborating on how you will go about meeting these goals. Nobody cares about all that crap. All you need is to tell the panel that you will take the cricket team to the stratosphere. And they will be convinced.

Step 7: That done all you need to do next is do some more lobbying, praise the BCCI politicians in the media and flash some toothy grins and you are done! The job is yours!



Thursday, June 14, 2007

A revamp of sorts

The selections have surprised us again. Luckily this time they are more pleasant. What was long due has finally happened. Sehwag and Harbhajan are sent out and this time, hopefully, they will not be back unless they manage to do something major in domestic cricket.

Sehwag is not new to being dropped. He was overlooked for a series at home just before the World Cup began. And I had hoped then that that would do his form some good. Only, that never happened. He came back again into the World Cup team and continued with his horrible run of form, not counting the century against a weak Bermudan team. Frankly, his deterioration from being an opening batsman capable of instilling fear into the minds of opposition bowlers to being a walking wicket has been appalling.

Ditto for Harbhajan Singh. Great debut against the mighty Australians even effecting a record wicket haul in the series and now struggling to retain his spot in the team.

So now with the duo gone we get to see some new faces: Rohit Sharma and Ranadeb Bose.

This is how the squad looks:

India's one-day squad (for Ireland tour): Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid (capt), Yuvraj Singh, Dinesh Karthik, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (vice-capt, wk), Rohit Sharma, Romesh Powar, Ajit Agarkar, Piyush Chawla, Zaheer Khan, RP Singh, Sreesanth.

India's Test squad(In England): Wasim Jaffer, Dinesh Karthik, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid (capt), Sachin Tendulkar (vice-capt), Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Romesh Powar, Anil Kumble, Zaheer Khan, Sreesanth, RP Singh, Ishant Sharma, Ranadeb Bose.

Piyush Chawla and Romesh Powar will do the spinners' duty for India. The openers slot in the one-dayers will be a competition between Gambhir and Uthappa. Should be interesting to see who gets the thumbs-up.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Darren Gough's interest

"I might apply for that ... it's a good job that ... I like India."
Thus spake Darren Gough on the Indian cricket coach job. Yeah. You damn sure do like India, Darren! And the liking has sprung up quite suddenly too! Oh man! Anyone can be the Indian coach now. Such a farce...


Oye Maninder! What's gotten into you?

The human being is unfathomable. There are so many people out there dreaming of being international cricketers some day and Maninder Singh lived the dream. That said, there are also so many former international cricketers out there dreaming of being able to do something to avoid fading into oblivion after their cricketing days are over. Maninder Singh could materialize that dream too.

Yet he now pathetically lies in a hospital with slashed wrists apparently resulting from a suicide attempt. And that after being caught in possession of banned drugs with him which he apparently was taking to combat 'personal stresses'. I know I should be pitying the man for all he has gone through, but actually I am dazed. How did this man who has entertained us so many times with his commentary on television stoop to such lows? Bewildering.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Ford makes things very interesting

So one day Graham Ford says about the Indian coaching job -
"This is the biggest job in world cricket - there's nothing bigger than this and if I have to land it and retire after a stint with this country - whose players are outstanding and who have a core of really world class stars, supporters who are passionate about the game and in a country that lives the game - then I would have achieved everything a cricket coach would want"
and less than a week later he says -
"After careful consideration, I have decided to continue my work here at Kent. This has been a really difficult decision. I am honoured that India have shown such interest in my capabilities, but feel that this is the right decision for me and my family."
And by doing that Graham Ford has turned a major part of the BCCI's plans, efforts and decisions taken so far into useless trash. And now what lies ahead is a very interesting and intriguing task for the BCCI and the coach selection committee. They have chucked out Dav Whatmore and John Emburey, as I had mentioned earlier, is not at all a genuine contender. So will the committee eat humble pie and request for Dav Whatmore's services once again after having haughtily refused them the first time? Or will John Emburey, comically, emerge the unlikely winner? If not any of the two then who is the alternative? Interesting times ahead. Stay tuned!


Saturday, June 9, 2007

Back to square one

Aw! Just when I thought the West Indies were doing well and had recovered from their 2nd test drubbing dealt out by England, they have faltered again. So its back to square one again.

Of course I did fear this would happen, but the romantic in me still thought Gayle or someone would come up with a neat knock resulting in a first innings lead for the Caribbeans. But that was not to be. The batsmen, except Chanderpaul, just couldn't sort things out. Undone by Sidebottom and Panesar.

And now the English batsmen are turning it on. At 263/3, as I am typing, and a total lead of 404 runs and with 2 days to go, an unassailable 2-0 lead for England is well and truly on the cards. Luckily for the West Indies, Kevin Pietersen got out hit wicket when his helmet fell onto the stumps. He was playing coolly and calmly and I was expecting him open up anytime.


Some fight, at last

Happily for them and for us cricket followers, West Indies are showing some teeth in their 3rd test against England. The 2nd test match was a total disaster with them suffering a record-breaking loss. And it was also equally disheartening for me to watch the Caribbeans go down like they were a glorified school cricket team.

The bowling has been good with some aggressiveness from Edwards, Corey Collymore and Jerome Taylor. So far so good. But what remains to be seen is the West Indian batting. They are playing without the services of Brain Lara and Ramnaresh Sarwan and the pitch being as green and bowler-friendly as it is I only hope the batsmen can carry on with the same aggressive spirit as the bowlers. Bowling out England for 370 runs was all very nice. But getting the 1st innings lead is a totally different thing and if West Indians can do that, only then can anyone get excited about their 'comeback'. Lets see how things span out. For now Darren Ganga, the captain, is gone. Maybe Chris Gayle has got to come up with something special now.

And by the way, very interestingly Andrew Miller at Cricinfo notes:
And - as a footnote, in light of the week's hot topic - Ganga's appearance in front of the press was one of the most heartening sights of all. Cool, authoritative and clinical in his opinions, he sounded like a long-overdue voice of reason. Maybe, as the result of Sarwan's misfortune, West Indies have found the man they need to ensure that today's denial could yet be tomorrow's revival. On this pitch, however, Ganga will first need to prove equally cool at the crease.

Wow! That is a lot of praise. I hope Ganga can live upto it. He has lost his chance with the bat in the first innings but there is still a lot to go in the match. So if he can come come up with somthing magical, Sarwan's captaincy job may be in jeopardy. Talk about destiny!


Friday, June 8, 2007

Why John Emburey?

This coaching job in Indian cricket is a very interesting one. Every time some unheard of name is proposed for the post and you can't just stop wondering why in hell was this man nominated over all those huge names in cricket that are just in your backyard with their services available anytime. This time John Emburey is that name. Graham Ford's name is understandable with many senior Indian players having played under him in county cricket and with him also receiving rave reviews from many associated with him. But pray tell me what the logic could be behind Emburey's nomination? I think Mukul Kesavan has got it right here:

But I can guess how his name got there. Consider this scenario, freely and speculatively adapted from real life. You're a member of the coach-hunting committee. You're hostile to the idea of a foreign coach but you know that given the unanimous player preference for one (and the fact that the name they've come up with has respectable coaching credentials) the team's likely to have its way. So to indicate that your opposition counts for something, you strike off one name (Dav Whatmore) because the secretary of the BCCI has had the temerity to pre-empt your deliberations the previous evening by indicating that he was the front-runner for the job. Then, to signpost your contempt for the idea in general you make a short list of two in which the second man is so undistinguished in coaching terms that the only thing that qualifies him for the job is that he's foreign. It helps your cause that in his playing life he was the kind of finger spinner who might have struggled to make it into a strong Ranji side. It's your way of saying to the team: "You're so slavishly fixated on the idea of a foreign coach that you'd pick a lamp post over over an Indian. So here's your lamp post." Emburey.

If that is not a fitting explanation then what is? Emburey is the typical lamp post and is the face of the ego tussle between the coach selection committee and the players. Graham Ford is the only serious contender for the job. I will be surprised beyond speech if Emburey is voted for ahead of Ford.


Thursday, June 7, 2007

Afro-Asia Cup's first century!

Wow! The Afro-Asia sure has kick started with a lot more than I imagined. With a lot of stars missing out of the action and the African side looking more like some county side, I for one did not expect the match to go down as deep as it actually did.

It did almost end up being a horribly lame no-contest when the Africans were at 7-87 off 20 overs nowhere near the 317 that the Asian team managed, but luckily Pollock had different ideas and decided to have some fun spanking the cricket ball all over the ground. What a delightful player he is! That 130 of 110 balls was an innings of high quality and very very surprisingly was the first century of all the Afro-Asia tournamnets! That's interesting!

Anyway the point is that one aging hero, Shaun Pollock, was enough to turn the game head over heels and almost earn a victory for the African team. And that inspite of the star studded bowling attack the Asian team featured. Believe me, it has to be very tough to slog against an attack consisting of Zaheer Khan, Mohammed Asif, Mashrafe Mortaza, Harbhajan Singh and Sanath Jayasuriya. Pollock is my many years in international cricket and yet going so strong. That is something very few can boast of.

From the Indian perspective it was good to see Sehwag and Ganguly striking it moderately rich out there. However considering that the African attack wasn't all that imposing enough those performances are maybe not worth getting excited about. But that reception that Ganguly recieved from the crowd was surely worth getting excited about! Infact that was totally unexpected to say the least.

Anyway it was also not very nice to see Harbhajan Singh nailing just one wicket while Sanath Jayasuriya claimed three. Harbhajan is having problems nowadays and these matches could be made good use of to try and improve himself.

I am looking forward to the next match. All thanks to Shaun Pollock that this series did not start off with lazy one-sided frustrating cricket.


Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The BCCI treatment for Whatmore

I am not all that sure whether Dav Whatmore is unhappy about being left out in the race for the post of India's coach. Considering the way the BCCI has treated him he should only be too glad not to be associated with such an organization.

Whatmore left his post as the Bangladesh coach, turned down an offer from Pakistan and took great pains to communicate his readiness to be the next Indian coach. Now, it is fine that the expert committee setup for choosing the coach turned their back on him because they have the power and authority to do so based on their reasons whatever they may be. But after choosing to ignore Whatmore for the job, the board should atleast have had the courtesy to inform him about the decision after all that the man had done to nail the job.

But apparently Whatmore had to read about the decision in the papers just like everyone else! Just how haughty could the Indian board get!


At last Bangalore will see some cricket again

After a gap of, I think, at least two long years international cricket has finally returned to the Chinnaswamy Stadium here at Bangalore City with the Afro-Asia Cup. Actually, it is exciting in a silly sort of way to know that the match I am watching on television is happening not less than 15km from my home. But I guess I am the lazy sort who prefers to watch the match at home on the television rather than jostle around with the crowd to buy tickets for the match.

Anyway here are the fixtures for the Afro-Asia Cup:

Tue 5 Only T20 - Africa Women XI v Asia Women XI
M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore

Tue 5 Floodlit Match Only T20 - Africa XI v Asia XI
M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore

Wed 6 Floodlit Match Afro-Asia Cup
Africa XI v Asia XI
M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore

Sat 9 Floodlit Match Afro-Asia Cup
Africa XI v Asia XI
MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk, Chennai

Sun 10 Floodlit Match Afro-Asia Cup
Africa XI v Asia XI
MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk, Chennai


Monday, June 4, 2007

Second only to the Don

As English cricket has been busy over the last few years taking some giant leaps backwards, one man though has just risen and risen right from the day he became a part of the England team and doesn't seem to be showing any signs of letting up. Ladies and Gentlemen, give it up to Kevin Pietersen.

From tormenting the Australians in the Ashes to the present West Indian tour of England, Kevin Pietersen has never ever shown any mental let-ups at all. He takes on all the bowlers with the same arrogance and air of superiority and almost every time comes out as the victor. Unluckily for him he has ended up on the losing side more times than his individual performances deserve. But that aside this man is just supremely impressive. No wonder Justin Langer(yeah, the same famous sledger) talks about KP with so much admiration:

The reason we don't really like Kevin Pietersen is that he displays traits which rub us up the wrong way. He struts a little, he is aggressive in everything he does, he takes on any bowler and he stares you in the eyes with the confidence of a prize fighter.

We would love to have him in our team, because we love the way he goes about his business. He is an outstanding player in that he backs his ability to the hilt and he makes the game go forward every time he is in the middle.

And very deservingly and not very surprisingly he now has the second highest runs for any test cricketer during his first 25 matches of test cricket. Pietersen has scored 2,448 runs at an average of 54.40 including eight centuries and nine half-centuries in just 47 innings. And the legendary Don Bradman scored 3,194 runs in his first 25 matches at an average of 91.25 scoring 13 centuries and five fifties.

Kevin Pietersen is second only to Don Bradman. How impressive is that!!