Monday, April 30, 2007

End of a great career

After Inzamam and Lara it is time to wish another cricketing great goodbye. And this time it is the Aussie quickie Glenn McGrath. End of a glittering career I must say. Some call him a bowling machine for his impeccable control and accuracy. Some others call him a work horse for the way he has carried the mantle of strike bowler relentlessly for years on end defying age and injuries.

Of course he'll be known for a lot of other things he has done on the cricket field too not the least of them being the "pleasantries" that he has so often offered to opposition players. Well, McGrath doesn't want to be remembered for sledging but then thats how the world works mate. You've done it and you'll be made to remember it. I dont think he'll actually regret it though,  given the number of times it has worked out in his favour.



I, personally, will remember him for one reason. I was watching an interview of his with Harsha Bhogle on Harsha Online and at one point Harsha started belting out McGrath's wicket numbers(253rd ODI wicket for example) at random and McGrath could exactly pinpoint who's wicket that was, where it was taken and how. That was amazing and really goes to show how serious he is about his cricket. Maybe that is one reason why he was so successful in what he did.

Anyway opposition batsmen will not miss him at all but opposition bowlers might. He's got a huge number of ducks after all. No one is perfect.

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A messed up end to a messed up tournament

What a fitting end to a totally senseless tournament. Everything about the ICC seems disgusting to me now. Afetr torturing an innocent, frolicking, unsuspecting public with high ticket pricings and ridiculous rules such as restrictions on carrying water and musical instruments(even conch shells!) into the stadiums, looks like they have turned to degrading the whole game now.

Cricinfo
has a neat account of the whole incident:

6.17pm It's what is traditionally known as night. It is so dark but the umpires are now saying the match will continue. Heads should roll for this. The man is out putting the 30-yard circles back out. He needs a torch to do so. The batsmen are heading out to the middle accompanied by a guide dog.

6.15pmThis is a very unfunny joke, almost as if cricket was determined to show the world that it couldn't organise a whatsit in a brewery. The umpires are insisting the game is not over, everyone else thinks it is. Aleem Dar seems to be saying they can all come back tomorrow.
Steve Bucknor's looking quite embarrassed in the background, letting Dar lead the process. Jayawardene is now on the pitch to talk to Bucknor and Bowden.

6.12pmAnd the farce continues! Now the stands for the ceremony have been brought on... and are off again, as the umpires shoo them away. My word. Here's a man who can tell you more, it's Martin.

Now what's this? Aleem Dar is having a word with Australia, telling them they can't yet celebrate. Officially this match isn't over. You couldn't make it up. You don't have to.
In fairness, this doesn't stop Australia celebrating. McGrath's all of a beam and there's a thumbs up and a smile for the tv cameras.

The light's been offered and Sri Lanka have taken it - meaning Australia have won the World Cup again. They certainly deserve it and are huddling in celebration. A bit of a damp squib of an ending, which is of course fitting.
Wow! What an act! The ICC appointed officials either don't know cricket cannot be played in the dark or they don't know that when a match cannot continue further and the teams have already played 20 overs each, the match can be called off and decided by Duckworth-Lewis method. Apparently there was even some talk of using the reserve day inspite of the required 20 overs having been played! Ha ha..this is funny. 

I remember how the FIFA World Cuphad caused a huge and new enthusiasm about Soccer all over India. And I thought a cricket World Cup would spread a similar excitement in non-cricket playing nations. But then I had forgotten the ICC factor then....

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Australians have done it!

A famous third consecutive World Cup victory for the Aussies to savour for a long time to come. Such a huge feat and yet so less surprising. If ever you needed an example for total unquestioned domination then this is it. Forget the Federers and the Tiger Woods.


Congratulations to ye all Aussies! Every one of you deserves every inch of that trophy.

And so ends the World Cup. A very very bizarre one indeed. Actually bizarre is an understatement. Phew! I am tired.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

The big day arrives!

The seemingly invincible Australians take on the Lankan lions tomorrow the 28th of April. And as I have been maintaining thus far I give the Australians a 10% chance of losing and the Sri Lankans a 90% chance. But then lets not forget this is cricket that we are talking about and we still have to wait for the match to end to identify the victor.

And as normally happens before a big event a lot of action is happening before the actual action itself:

And by the way, I remember giving a similar title as this one to my post on the eve of the first match of World Cup 2007. Back then my fingers were trembling in the excitement. I might be exaggerating( *wink*), but the point I am trying to make is that likeness in the titles in no way means that the enthusiasm in me is the same then and now. Perhaps its because my team is not part of the World Cup anymore or maybe it is the stupid schedule of the World Cup that has got me tired. Whatever the reason, the next World Cup better be shorter and sweeter.

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This is INZAMAM-UL-HAQ they are talking about...

....and I just can't believe it. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest players of all times and apparently the Pakistan Cricket Board is almost sure of leaving him out of the test team. Just a month ago he was the captain of the test and one-day sides and his place in the team was taken for granted. And now the burly, cool effortless strokemaker has retired from one-day cricket and is finding his test place in jeopardy.

I dont know about you but this looks pretty weird to me. The man who is even now capable of slaying any bowler has to beg for his place in the team. The reasons if any have to be other than his performance on the cricket field. Maybe they feel he is too religious or maybe they dont like his laid-back attitude. Whatever be the reason I would always love to see Inzamam with a bat in his hand and would hate to have to miss him in action. Hope you are back dear Inzy. 

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Murali's wish

Muralitharan's words(from Indiatimes):
"It(winning the World Cup) would be a bigger achievement than all my personal records. Team success is something we all strive for. It will act as an inspiration for youngsters and we being a team of different nationalities, it could also help tide over the problems our nation faces. We are going through a bad situation in our country but this could achieve something different. When we did it in 1996, I was very young and didn't know what it takes to win the World Cup. Now I know how tough it is to do it," said the ever-smiling Murali in the team hotel.
Muttaiah Muralitharan has always been one of the more emotional guys in the cricket arena. His emotionally charged outburst about returning to his farming days when he was called a 'chucker' of the cricket ball is still fresh in my mind. He also is known to have suffered a lot of mental agony when the Australian crowd hackled him around making racist comments about him so much so that he had even refused to tour Australia at one point of time. And of course his untethered emotions once even caused a funny mix up leading to a controversial run-out decision. And with an ever-ready smile on his face he does come across as one of the less plastic players out there in the middle who actually feels with his heart.

And now the great man has one touching desire: to get the World Cup home not for himself but for his motherland and for his people. You are a lovely person, Murali and I do hope you have this desire of yours fulfilled though I know the task is almost an impossible one.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Lankans on a dream run

This World Cup is not springing surprises at us. There is more a shooting spree of surprises going on here.

Let me be very frank. A month ago, not in my wildest dreams had I imagined a World Cup 2007 final with Sri Lanka in it. New Zealand, South Africa and Australia were the favourite choices going around and Sri Lanka were far behind at maybe No.5 or No.6 on my list. And yet here I am now finding the Lankan lions roaring from hilltops announcing their arrival. They are looking really good, no doubt, but then I have to say I don't really see them winning the World Cup. It would all be too romantic of course to have them repeat their World Cup 1996 feat where they ended up surprising everybody by clinching victory against Australia and taking the World Cup away with them but then most romantic dreams do remain unfulfilled(this ain't bollywood men!).
Australians are here with a mission and that is to grab a hitherto unheard of feat of a hat-trick of World Cup victories. And dare I say that they WILL end up achieving it. Remember that we are talking about a raging tornado that has so very concincingly demolished every opposition on it's way to the finals with no fuss whatsoever.This team just can't lose.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ex-players basking in the limelight

Don't you think these former Indian cricket players are just going too far?
Indian cricket is in ruins. Everyone is saying that. Players who were no match to Tendulkar's skills and abilities are now handing out 'advise', sympathising with him, lashing out at him, criticising his commitment and so on and on and on. Ex-players are blaming Chappell for having thrown Indian cricket to the dogs. There are opinions everywhere. Some want Dravid sacked(poor fellow)! And in between someone throws in Mohinder Amarnath's name for the position of coach. And everyone is lapping up the idea and he seems to be the hot favourite among the ex-players now(god knows the reasons). Ravi Shastri is the Manager of the Indian team for the Bangladesh tour. Meetings are happening every other day. The only news on Indian cricket nowadays is that of some 'ex-player' or the other giving out his few golden words on what Team India should do to become the blue eyed boys of tomorrow(Some of these comments can be aggregated and compiled into a '101 ways to turn around your life in a day' book). These are important men now. And it is obvious that they are enjoying all the attention. Wonder where all these people were when India was performing well. When we reached the World Cup finals in 2003.
Reminds me of Bishen Singh Bedi who used to, and continues to, come up with his sudden insights into Murali's or Harbhajan's bowling actions and the media would make a beeline to his residence. Unfortunately it is only criticism that attracts media attention as it makes for some good gossip. And people do really know how to make use of it. I may be wrong. But then this overdose of criticism is getting quite heady for me.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Lara gone

Brian Charles Lara does get his timing right on most occasions when he is out there with a bat in his hand. And I feel he has managed it one last time though in a different way in that he has timed his retirement from international cricket quite well. He really has not retired amid personal peaks and glorious victories for his teams. But then we atleast are spared the cruel sight of watching a man struggle with doing what he has always been a master of.
Anyway another illustrious career has come to an end and it is quite sad really that we will not be able to watch him grace the cricket filed in an international cricket match anymore. We will surely miss those ferocious pull shots and equally delicate glances and cuts ensuing from his bat. One thing is for sure though. It will take some serious cricketing talent to break some of the records that he has managed to set and it might take a long time for that to happen too.

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Three big matches to go

Ah! Fiiiinallllly the super eights are done with. Its been a long World Cup and now are to begin the three biggies. The two semi-finals and the final. Australia, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and South Africa are to fight it out for the trophy and inspite of complaints of a long drawn World Cup, I really do feel that the top 4 teams have reached the tournament semi-finals(though the super 8 were maybe not that super).
Sri Lanka plays New Zealand today and South Africa plays Australia tomorrow and I am in a predicting mood. Going by very recent Sri Lankan and Kiwi form in the final matches of the super eight, Sri Lanka should be able to pull of a victory. Their main strength is their spin bowling and a lot will depend how Murali and Jayasuriya perform with the ball. And of course there is the Malinga factor too. Will be an interesting match no doubt.
And about South Africa and Australia, need I even mention who will win?Considering recent form or any form or any factor Australia is the team to take the match and I will not be just mildly surprised if anything to the contrary happens. Poor South Africans.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Hayden doing some steamrolling

You know whats special about the Australian team? Many have said this before, including yours truly too, but I repeat the point again: Everyone in the Australian team is a matchwinner. Be it a newly inducted Shaun Tait, a returning Brad Hogg or a seasoned war horse like Ponting or Gilchrist. And everytime the Australians take on the field all they need is for two or three players to strike form and you can consider the job done(the job being nothing less than victory every game).
And now it is Hayden's time to strike gold. Just look at the guy's 2007 World Cup record: 580 runs so far including 3 quickfire centuries! He might have some detractors with reports about a spat with Damien Martyn leading to the latter's sudden retirement but then I suppose no one would be complaining when he is doing so well for the team. Actually 'well' is an understatement.
Hussey is out of form. So is Symonds. And to the rescue comes Hayden. And of course Ponting never seems to be bothered by such puny things as form. Sledgers or not, they are an amazing team! No wonder they keep winning and winning big every match they play. I have been mentioning various teams as possible World Champions throughout the competition and before that. But now I, as everyone else, am convinced that the world will not see a new champion. Australia will continue to reign supreme. Damn!

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

South Africans truly arrive

England are well and truly out of sorts and out of the World Cup too. And the South Africans have sounded a bang. A huge one too. What a victory for South Africa this one is. And at the right time too. To be frank their loss to Bangladesh left me wondering about how they cold have been the No.1 side among all other cricket teams just 2 weeks ago. But then this smashing victory they got over England in just 19.2 overs with the loss of only one wicket just shows the level that they can lift their cricket when necessary. They needed to win this game to go the semis and boy! Win they have done.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

India's own domestic Twenty20

Twenty20 has started of in the Indian domestic scene. It is the first of its kind in India and given that some of the big guns of the Indian team are participating, I did do the mistake of expecting some big hype and interest surrounding it. But no one is talking about it. Many are not even aware of its happening. Maybe cricket has got a punch in the jaw with the Indian team's horrible show in the World Cup. But then the Twenty20 World Cup is fast approaching and maybe that is the reason the BCCI has introduced it this domestic season. Please prepare, my men! We don't want another first round exit....
And interestingly, already football seems to be trying to attracting eyeballs here with the FIFA president's visit to India. An event which is surely recieving more attention than necessary in the media thanks to the 'men in blue' and Bangladesh.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Sri Lankans on a roll! A lesson for India here?

Who would have thought that the Lankans would have had such an easy outing against the Kiwis. A totally concincing, stroll-in-the-park victory is what they got against a much celebrated Kiwi side. The Kiwis have been playing some great cricket of late. What with the 3-0 win against champions Australia and all the heroics they have come up with in this World Cup. But then cricket's beauty is it's unpredictability and suddenly they have suffered a meek loss here and the Lankans are looking a much better side than them!
Really, the difference between the two teams was the start that they got. Sure, Tharanga got out for 11. But then Jayasuriya, in the kind of form that he is in, made sure that the Lankans got of to a flier of a start with Sangakkara to support him. In contrast the Kiwi start was slow, cautious and dotted with the fall of early wickets. That is what one-day cricket is all about. The first 10 overs and the last 10. You do well in these phases, the game is almost always in control. That is why players like Jyasuriya are important. And that is precisely why, I feel, India's very own Sehwag's poor form is hurting our team so much. It feels like it has been year since we got off to decent start.
A slow start means a lot of things. Bad things. The self-asssurance is gone. There is added pressure on the middle order to score as well as save wickets and the entire structure comes down. Such a crucial person is the opening batsmen and also the one-down slot. And what have India got? An out of sorts Sehwag, and a slow, scared-for-his-spot-in-the-team Ganguly. Absolutely unfathomable selection.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

When Ponting went after Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen has been one of Australia's biggest headaches for quite some time now. Sort of like an unconquered mountain peak. Right through the Ashes series he has been causing problems to the Australians and now he continues to do so in the World Cup.
It was no wonder therefore that an exasperated Ponting(who is anyway a compulsive sledger) just couldnt hold himself from going after him in a war of words(read as sledging). I dont know what he said but there sure were some exchanges between them in the game. Haha! This is what adds spice to the game. Good or Bad, such incidents do make the game exciting. We dont want drab plastic players on the field, do we?
And for more fun, take a look at what Ponting said of the incident after the game.

"Pietersen's name came up at a team meeting and I had got the feeling that he is a little like Tugga (Steve Waugh), Matty Hayden and Brian Lara in that when you have a go at them it makes them play better ... they enjoy it. I actually said to the team 'if he starts something let him go'. But as soon as he started I could not help myself. I jumped all over the top of him. It wasn't great leadership as far as I was concerned. But I am not sorry I did it."

Well, no surprises here. Typical Ponting and typical Australia. But no one is complaining. This game needs some fun and excitement.

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West Indies practically out of reckoning for the World Cup

I was backing the West Indians for a long time, even before the start of the World Cup. With a team boasting the likes of Lara, Chris Gayle, Sarwan and Chanderpaul and playing in home conditions, I thought they could be the dark horses in the World Cup. But that was not to be. And South Africa with an amazing comeback after the defeat to Bangladesh, have really kicked the West Indians out of the World Cup.
Looking at the scorecard, it is not surprising that the South Africans were the No.1 one-day cricket team just a few days ago. They are really there at the top with the Australians. With a batting line up consisting of AB De Villiers, Graeme Smith, Kallis, Gibbs, Boucher, Pollock, Kemp etc. and given the fact that they can always play extra batsmen with Kallis and Pollock doubling as bowlers(that too frontline bowlers!) too they are certainly a formidable side. And they made no mistake this time. AB De Villiers just launched himself into the game scoring a mammoth 146 runs in good time. Kallis played well. Gibbs was aggressive. And Boucher was just stunning, hitting the ball with ease like it was a baseball game.
And with Ntini, Nel, Kallis and Pollock pegging away at the West Indian batsmen, they really didnt look like getting there at all. So now the host is out. They apparently still have a slim mathematical chance but then there is a limit to optimism too!
And by the way, it is just unimaginable that the South Africans had to lose to Bangladesh just a few days ago. Cricket is surely a funny game.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

More jokes on the Indian team

Apparently there are certain vacancies in the Indian cricket team that need to be filled. And this is the advertisement calling for those interested to apply!

Vacancies
1) Captain (P-001),
2) Vice Captain (P-002),
3) Coach (P-003) and
4) Team Members (P-004)

Eligibility Criteria
We are looking for Audience who have consistently watched all the world cup matches and who have scored over 65 runs in Room Cricket & Street Cricket. Experience in Football, Volley ball is an added advantage ….

Models, Actors (Advertisements) are most preferable…..

LKG & UKG Teachers are preferable for the post of coach.

Selection Process
1. Batting Test (Vs Bermuda ) (Candidate must score at least 50 runs )2. Bowling/Fielding Test (Candidate should not bowl more than 3 wides /no balls in an Over) 3. HR Interview (Candidates will be called upon for the selection process based on the Eligibility Criteria)

Send ur resumes with subject Name/Post/Max runs scored E.g. Dhoni/P-004/37 to callforcric@bcci.com

Venue : YMCA Grounds , nandanam
Natesan Park , T.Nagar
Date: 01-Apr-2007
Reference Books: (This is the funniest part)

1) “You can be a batsman too” by Munaf Patel
2) “Cricket in 21 days “ by 'Know-all' Sidhu
3) “Murder and cricket" by Inzamam
4) “How can you safeguard you house" by Dhoni

Sponsors
1) windtel
2) which
3) Kabsi
4) State Bank of Athur
5) Akka Mala
6) Anniyan Bank
7) Bank of Buruda

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Monday, April 9, 2007

Australia walkover England and regain ICC top spot

It was not not too many days ago that I had blogged about New Zealand beating Australia and South Africa taking over the top spot in the ICC one-day cricket rankings. I had then thought Australia were at the begginning of a decline and they would recieve fierce competition. Now though I guess all my bright ideas stand totally unfounded.
Australians have formally resumed their England mauling and the brief period when England were actually beating the Aussies remained just that: brief.
That characteristic aggressive attitude has won god-knows-how-many matches for Australia and this match against England was no different. Shaun Tait, the tearaway quickie and Mr.Glenn 'workhorse' McGrath provided the aggression in the bowling department while Hayden, Gilchrist, Clarke and specially Ponting plotted the run carnage.
And now amply aided by the South African loss to Bangladesh they are back to the now familiar No.1 spot. But they couldnt stop the South Africans from pocketing the US$175,000 though as they were the No. 1-ranked country at the end of the ICC year on April 1. Ha ha!
Wonder who will have the last laugh when the World Cup comes to an end.

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Oh ho! Bangladesh score another upset win. South Africa takes the rap this time

 Hmmm..three upset wins for Bangladesh. Victims being New Zealand (in the warm up match), India and now South Africa. These wins are getting more and more regular now and maybe they dont deserve to be called 'upset' wins any more. Bangladesh and Ashraful have really done well and have a lot to celebrate. I had mentioned earlier about Bangladesh being minnows in the tournament though they are a test team. Guess I'll have to take that back now.

I am envious of their fans though! So much to celebrate for them and so less for us here. Unfair.

And now, through this unexpected win, Bangladesh have set the World Cup alive too. England and West Indies now have a better chance of sneaking through to the semis. The equation remains unsolved which means more surprises could be in store.



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Sunday, April 8, 2007

BCCI brings down an iron hand

Such a shame that Indian cricket has come down to a level where it has become necessary for a panel of former cricketers and some others to do some headmaster-esque schooling and punish a bunch of spoilt kids. But anyway this was long due and now has been done. One very welcome decision is on the player endorsement issue which says:
A player will endorse not more than 3 sponsors / products

No Sponsor can contract more than 2 players.

The players will not be allowed to do any sponsor-related events 15 days before the tour and also during the tour.

No player shall have exclusive contracts with electronic or print media. Only the captain can write a column or talk to the media but not exclusively.

The players shall take prior approval of the Board before signing any endorsement contract and will submit a copy of the agreement to the Board. All the players shall submit a copy of the existing contracts with sponsors to the Board.
Hope this will help the players realize that playing for the country is a responsibility first and a profession later.

That done the real challenge now lies in improving the quality of cricket at the Ranji level. Quite a few plans have been laid out in this regard too. But only time will tell if the panel has the strategies in place for this to happen.

But by far the masterstroke, I feel, is the inclusion of the former bigshots of Indian cricket in the thought process. Apparently a cricket advisory committee consisting of former Indian captains will be formed. Now that has to be a good thing. Better than one Greg Chappell, I'm sure.

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Friday, April 6, 2007

A sport plagued by cheap pimps

This outpouring at cricinfo by a volunteer working for the World Cup presents the disgusting and pathetic way in which the cheap pimps in suits at the ICC deal with the game and the fans. Already the people at the ICC have blatantly shown their greedy lust for money in the case of the associate nations' participation, the youtube ban etc. and now they have to show their high handedness to the poor fan and leech out every penny in his pocket. This part is especially moving:
The biggest impression in my mind was the curtailing of freedom in your own country. It was martial law in the confines of a cricket ground. At the ground, water was TT$12 (US$2) a bottle - outside the fence and in the UWI café it was TT$4.50. A beer was TT$18 a cup - over at the café it was only TT$6.

The spectators passed the bars and concessions and simply walked away. One spectator, who on the first warm-up game arrived with his own water, was told he could not enter the arena with his plastic bottle, especially with the cap on, as this was clearly a weapon of mass destruction. He was taken from the UWI by paramedics at 3pm suffering from dehydration, because he could not afford to purchase water at the inflated price .

This was the highlight of the World Cup for me. I continued to volunteer (but the fire was out) as I was moved by that cricket fan who waited a lifetime to be a part of the first World Cup and almost paid the ultimate price.

What kind of an organization does that? Do we want cricket to be something like the WWF or something where players are only some kind of puppets on the stage aiding in money spinning? Someone is making too much money out there. And as long as politicians in black suits and shining boots are wiped off the face of cricket, such atrocities will continue. Maybe we need more former players who actually care for the game, at the helm.  It will never happen. But no one can stop me from wishing it would happen.

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Sri Lanka truimphs against England

While all the drama about the coach, his allegations, counter allegations, team changes etc. is unfolding here in India, the World Cup is chugging along. And it took a thrilling 2 run victory for Sri Lanka to remind me of it.

A great game and a great finish; for the Lankans that is. The English though will spend sleepless nights mulling over this match. Their team is obviously struggling and could manage only an unconvincing victory over minnows Ireland. They have got tough games ahead and a victory here would have done them a lot of good. And they would be hating themselves to have let go of a chance to do just that. The small margin of defeat will be making Vaughan pull his hair out in frustration.

On the other side the Sri Lankans are hanging on with grit and determination. They too were only just defeated by the South Africans but they also have 3 wins from the other 3 games. A victory against Ireland is a surety. Australia and New Zealand are the other two teams they need to play against and they better get well prepared for those games. Jayawardene and Jayasuriya are in good form now. So are Malinga and Murali. They are not looking a superb side but good enough.

You never know what can happen, though. This World Cup has already flung quite a few surprises and I wouldn’t be betting my money on anything now, except maybe on West Indies exiting the World Cup at this stage.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Greg Chappell calls it quits

What was imminent has finally happened. After Sachin Tendulkar's uncharacteristic outpouring to the press it was pretty clear that the coach and the senior players in the team had only hate for each other.

It was obvious earlier too. Ganguly hated Chappell. Sehwag hated Chappell. Harbhajan had mentioned it too. But inspite of all this the coach continued to 'coach' the team under a fiegned disguise of total normality. Unspoken thoughts led to pressure building up in the dressing room and stars became worthless non-performers. The result was a belittling loss to Bangladesh and a quick exit from the World Cup after a pathetic display of brainless cricket from the 'boys'. And there started the search for the scapegoats.

Chappell was blamed. He was enraged. What does he do? He passes on the blame(and correctly too, I feel) to the 'senior players'. It was okay till here. 'Things can still be worked out' was the favourite line. But then Chappell being the outspoken, ruthless, almost arrogant and blunt man that he is, went one step further. He committed the cardinal sin of smearing black blame on the one man that the average Indian cricket lover STILL worships as the pure white GOD of Indian cricket. And that provided the spark in the already high pressure atmosphere. Then came fire and smoke and finally CHAPPELL CHOKES.

---------------------------

But actually it is the selectors who should have choked. This World Cup debacle only validates everything that Chappell believed in and everything that he wanted to do with Indian cricket. He wanted young blood. Young, confident and strong men such as Dhoni, Yuvraj, Raina and Dinesh Kaarthick who could belt the cricket ball with complete surety like a Symonds, a Hussey or a Pietersen. But what he got was an unsure Tendulkar, a totally messed up Sehwag and a scared Ganguly. Who is at fault then? The selectors or the coach? Unfair to blame Chappell. Anyway his manner of almost arrogant blatantness was sometimes uncalled for and his presence can only have caused further friction in the Indian team as if what is already existing is not enough. So with a smile on my face I'll say: so long mate!

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Chappell has gone too far?

Chappell seems to be fast progressing in terms of unpopularity ratings in the Indian camp. He started off with an imfamous spat with Ganguly. Then there was Harbhajan accusing him of dividing the team. Then came Sehwag and now the big man Sachin Tendulkar himself. Chappell had pointed accusing fingers at the so called GOD of Indian cricket terming his commitment as questionable. And Sachin, normally a no-comment man when it comes to criticism or controversies made it clear that he was 'hurt'. And when you 'hurt' a national icon it is only suicidal. I guess Chappell has gone too far this time. This might very well be the last piece of criticism he has handed out. Sachin is hurt. And that means Greg Chappell is done....

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Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Sachin Tendulkar - the model cricketer (Hilarious!)

Of late Sachin Tendulkar is featuring a lot on this blog. See here and here. And this is one more post on him.

This is one hilarious video done by the Times Of India on Sachin Tendulkar mixing up his two lives as a model and as a cricketer(this part is in doubt right now :o) ). Funny...yet quite a telling video.



For more fun on the Indian team's dismal cricket visit this post and this one.

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War of the words

For some reason there has been lots of criticisms, counter criticisms and verbal spats between players and former players of late. First there was the Gavaskar-Ponting incident, then happened the Lara-Andy Roberts friction over team selection and now Ian Chappell and Anil Kumble have gotten into the act over the former's comments on Sachin Tendulkar.

Apparantly Ian Chappell somewhere mentioned that it is time for Sachin Tendulkar to retire from cricket. And Kumble in an interview replied saying: "Ian Chappell has got nothing to do with Indian cricket. Of course everybody is entitled to his opinion but Ian Chappell is not going to win matches for India, Sachin Tendulkar has been doing that for us and we should be supporting him.....Chappell is a former cricketer and has the right to make statements about the game but he does not know Indian cricket."

Maybe it is the boring World Cup that is to be blamed for these verbal exchanges. Journalists are forced to poke around at players and get out some controversial comment or the other to make digestable gossip for the excitement starved cricket followers. Or maybe the players themselves are bored enough to pass a comment here and another there just so they kill some time!

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Monday, April 2, 2007

Awesome Jayasuriya! Awesome Sri Lankans!

The Sri Lankans are thankfully doing a face saving job for Asian cricket. India and Pakistan made a quick and shameful exit and Bangladesh are back to doing what they know best: being 'minnows'. And Sri Lanka is now the only Asian team in the World Cup and they are not just managing to stay in but also kicking some good ass. 

They have beaten the West Indians so easily with such meticulous cricket that they have now surely instilled respect and fear in the other teams. And the win also leaves the West Indians hanging to their semi-final hopes by the thinnest of threads.

And what can be said about the ever smiling Jayasuriya except that those powerful forearms are getting some great workout in recent times. Just look at this series of nine balls from cricinfo commmentary:
16.4 Bradshaw to Jayasuriya, FOUR, short and Jayasuriya on it like a flash, pivoting and helping the ball down to long leg

16.5 Bradshaw to Jayasuriya, FOUR, two steps and hammered over mid-off for a one-bounce four. A clear change of strategy here, and about time

16.6 Bradshaw to Jayasuriya, 1 run, steered to backward point, and a quick single made less risky by a misfield

17.1 Smith to Jayasuriya, FOUR, a little width and too full, Jayasuriya launches that high over the covers

17.2 Smith to Jayasuriya, no run, more middle-stump line in response, Jayasuriya content to block

17.3 Smith to Jayasuriya, SIX, Jayasuriya steps down the track - risk free as Ramdin is back - and driven high and hard back over the bowler's head. Straight as a die

17.4 Smith to Jayasuriya, no run, on the spot and blocked

17.5 Smith to Jayasuriya, FOUR, slower ball, Jayasuriya sweeps behind square
Lara, who was looking relaxed two overs ago, is now frowning.

17.6 Smith to Jayasuriya, FOUR, bad ball, pure and simple, short and wide and smacked off the back foot through the covers
Those were 27 runs in 9 balls when the Lankans were struggling with two wickets lost early and were going at a run rate of 3.3 per over. Jayasuriya single-handedly, with able support from a hitherto out-of-form Jayawardene, turned the match around in that period of play. What a belter of a performer.

Go Lanka!

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"Incomplete Registration Email" - my thoughts


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This is an off-topic sponsored post......


I have participated in a few seminars and other events registering through online event registration forms. Many a time though I have stopped midway through the registration either when I come across the fee part or may be when I suddenly reconsider my decision. And sometimes I rue the fact that I had not continued then. Maybe if I had received a reminder e-mail with a slight discount or a few more personal words of encouragement I would have gone on with it. And I hear that Regonline has now made this possible.

This, I feel, is a very ingenious method to capture more registrations. One is because of the ability to negotiate the fee charged while the other is because an e-mail is more personal and one-on-one than an online form. And I don’t think this is spamming either because I have chosen to participate and a polite well-worded reminder would not be considered intruding at all.
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Sunday, April 1, 2007

Whats wrong with Sachin Tendulkar?

Brian Lara, Sanath Jayasuriya and Sachin Tendulkar are three contemporary batting greats. Though Tendulkar is four years younger to the other two, all the three batsmen made their ODI debuts more or less around the same time.

And now, Brain Lara,37, is going great guns after bouncing back from an almost two year mid-career slump. Ditto for Jayasuriya. Tendulkar, though, got into a slump and doesnt seem to be able to come back at all. If at all anything he is only sinking deeper and deeper.

Could the reason be the Indian cricket fan's mentality to further torture an already troubled player? I wonder. Brain Lara and Sanath Jayasuriya didn't have to deal with a booing crowd at their home grounds. Tendulkar did. Brain Lara and Sanath Jayasuriya never had to worry about continued destructive criticism everytime they underperformed during their mid-career slumps. Tendulkar did and still has to. Who was in a more congenial situation for a comeback is anybody's guess.

As such Tendulkar's ridiculously prolonged dry run could be more due to the attitude of the Indian public than due to other problems of his own. And now, everybody wants his neck. Shame on us.

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