Sunday, November 2, 2008

The 100 percent cricketer

Another great bows out and it is time for another grand farewell and more fond memories. I don't think anyone will ever forget Anil Kumble bowling with indomitable spirit and passion with a fractured jaw or his extremely transparent determination and sheer pride in the Kotla test that ended today.

Well, here's a real neat article written by who else but Rahul Dravid who has probably played the most games alongside Kumble both in first-class and international games combined. And I suppose this little paragraph embedded in an article that clearly reflects the admiration that Dravid has for the man, says it all:
His attitude makes him a dream to captain. When I led against New Zealand in 2003 at Mohali and we lost the toss and had to bowl first on a flat wicket, not once did Anil complain. Occasionally a bowler, faced with an unresponsive wicket, might give up mentally, but not Anil; never did he say, "Rahul, give me a break." He just bowled on and on. He does not know what giving up means.
You can say that again, Dravid.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Symonds Story

You've got to feel sorry for Andrew Symonds. For all the talent he has, the imposing Australian is one player who can and will rewrite record books with ease and grand flourish, if only he can put everything behind and continue playing the game and entertaining the audience. There are talks already of how he will be missed in the upcoming Australia's tour of India and I can't help but agree.

The Symonds fishing story reminds me of what happened with a co-worker of mine who wanted a week's leave from work in order to be able to attend his brother's wedding (a wedding is a long-drawn affair in India). He was denied the permission by his manager and ended up loosing his cool, yelled at his superior and took the drastic step of walking away from his job. Anyway, when he later saw the stupidity of what he had done, he waked right in again, apologized and was forgiven. He got his week's leave too!

Goes to show what happened to Symonds can happen to anyone, doesn't it? The employer holds the money purse and as long as that's true, it is also true that you are required to bow down to the demands of the job. Hope Symonds too can clear all his cobwebs away and come back to cricket just to play and enjoy the game.

All said, this pic interested me.

Mean? Probably. Funny? Well, in a crooked sense, yes! :D


Friday, September 5, 2008

Has India done well?

India won the CB series beating Australia 2-0 in the 3 match final in Australia. India have again won the ODI series against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka which is a great feat considering how strong the Lankans are at home and what an absolutely outstanding record they have there. They are also the World Twenty20 champions and that is no mean feat too. However, the question still remains as to whether India are still a world beating side. Why is that? Aren't those earlier wins proof enough?

Well, not exactly. Infact I believe this team is not even close. The problem seems to be too much dependence on one or too batsmen throughout an entire series. This, I think, seemed to have been all the more pronounced during the recently concluded India-Sri Lanka series. I hated the way only two batsmen really clicked throughout the series. If not for Raina and Dhoni, I don't think we would have even gotten close to winning the series. And even if we did win this time round, I think a lot of credit should go to the bowlers.

Take a look at the stats and you will know what I mean. We really need more batsmen performing well or you could say goodbye to any hopes of the Indian ODI being and staying even in the top 3.

As I see it, there will and should be a lot of changes in the selection and the batting order. Badrinath looks neat to me. But such a compact batsman coming so low in the batting order hardly makes any sense. And I think we need Yusuf Pathan back. I'm all for big hitters at the bottom of the batting order. India has always struggled for big runs in the final overs. Yusuf Pathan in place of Sharma and pushing Yuvraj further down the order might work wonders for India in the final overs. Besides, Badrinath anyway looks to be a batsman who can easily hold one end up calmly and coolly in a Dravidish fashion. So getting him to replace Yuvraj at one down or two down should make a lot of sense. Thats just a small list of things. I think (I hope, rather) the India think tank is chewing on similar things too. Let's hope they come out with something good and more logical next time.

And all that said, I think the bowlers were excellent. Zaheer should never again be dropped. He's just a gem!


Friday, August 22, 2008

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

What the hell was Dhoni thinking?

I think by the time Dhoni played his knock of 36 off 66(?!!) balls and then got out, the damage was done. Australia were well and truly on their way to victory.

I mean, 36 off 66 precious deliveries? Alright, they needed to ensure they didn't lose any more wickets. But then, a strike rate of just over 50 in a one-day match while chasing a huge total of 317 runs?

By the time he got out, India was left needing 169 runs off 117 deliveries at a rate of about 8.5 an over with 5 wickets in hand - an almost impossible task that was only made to look possible by Uthappa's brilliant cameo.

The Indian skipper should have done better than what he came up with today. I hope all those recently played matches where he has had to graft an innings picking up ones and twos, have not robbed him off his shot-making abilities.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sachin deserves that knighthood even more now

I had written about that knighthood that could possibly come Sachin Tendulkar's way. Now, after this sterling, still unbeaten, performance from Sachin at Adelaide, I guess the officials concerned need to rush with the honouring formalities!

He has really proved his class by the manner in which he totally dominated the bowlers. Man, you've got to respect him for the way he has carried on and on doing his stuff inspite of all that has happened around him. So much pressure, so many expectations. Anyone else will have definitey crumbled.

Anyway, that's just about one innings in one day of one test match. Still a long way to go in the game. I guess we'll get upto about 400 in the first innings. Then it's upto the bowlers to rework the magic that hapened at Perth.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Knighthood for Sachin?

I hadn't thought about this earlier. But I guess the English should be enjoying every moment of the ongoing test series against India where the Australians have surprisingly found themselves at the receiving end. Atleast, the British Prime Minister seems to be happy.

Just a little something that I came across on the Internet:

Can Sachin Tendulkar join the honoured ranks of Sir Don Bradman or Sir Gary Sobers? Well, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown certainly seems to think so. If he had his way, he would recommend the little master for a knighthood.

"I would like to see some of the great players of the modern era — like Sachin Tendulkar — proposed for honorary awards so the British nation can salute their achievements in these sports."

If Brown's remarks come true, we could be looking at the first Indian sports knight. In between courting trade and investment from India and China visiting British Prime Minister Gordon Brown showed where his heart really lay — at the WACA stadium in Perth.

"I believe it was a good tradition to celebrate the achievements of the great Commonwealth cricketers. Obviously these are issues for the independent honours committee, but - hope they will consider it."
Well, looking at the way Sachin Tendulkar has made a silent yet thumping comeback inspite of all the criticisms, he does deserve any honour, I suppose.


On dropping Ganguly and Dravid

Now, there has already been so much said on the selectors' decision to leave out Ganguly and Dravid from India's ODI team for Australian series. So I will spare you the pain of reading all that stuff again.

All I'll say is that my take on the issue is that it is surely better for the team. After all, ODI cricket is almost totally about slambang stuff and yougsters can do the job better. Plus, there are so many talented(and powerful!) young guys waiting to get into the team too.

So lets hope this young team does well in Australia and we get to see some awesome cricket.

And by the way, Sreesanth has already gotten into aggressive mode. This is going to be fun!


Sunday, January 20, 2008

We've won...and how!!!

No joy like the joy of victory. No joy like the joy of defeating a World Champion team in their own backyard. No joy like the joy of watching rookie pacemen rendering doyens of the game in the opposition clueless. No wonder these guys have gone mad with joy!! So have I...

Uncork the champagne bottle everyone..


Thursday, January 17, 2008

A beautiful day of cricket ahead

What an awesome contest this India-Australia match at pacy Perth is turning out to be! No Zaheer, no Sresanth and no Munaf and yet there were three Indian fast bowlers who could skittle out the Australian batsmen for a mere 212 runs. Booming hurrays for RP Singh, Irfan Pathan and Ishant Sharma who have done what I, atleast, had thought to be unthinkable. If bowlers win test matches, then India must and should win this one.

Also, looking at the way the Australian batsmen themselves struggled against the subtle movement and extra bounce, I am full of awe for the way Dravid and Sachin played yesterday. Truly fine batsmen, they are.

The lead for India is now a good 170 runs. Sehwag is still there and looking very very good. The Indians are surely in the driver's seat and if they can give the Australians a target of above 400 to chase then we should be in with a very good chance of winning the game.

But then as Ponting had said before the match commenced, the Australians are desperate for victory. A win here will enable them to create history, which means they will make it as tough as possible for India, which in turn means there is a riveting third day's play ahead!


Anil Kumble's 600

Congrats, Anil! What a feat!


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Eveything was fine, but the collapse

The Indian team has again fallen down from a situation that they could easily have capitalised upon. I can't help thinking what the score would have been at the end of first day's play if only Sachin had not gotten out(to a poor umpiring decision, again!) or if only Dravid had kept his cool and not played that shocking un-Dravid like shot that resulted in his dismissal or if only Ganguly had not chased that wide delivery or if only Laxman had been a little more watchful.

I mean, all four of Ganguly, Tendulkar, Laxman and Dravid seem to be in such awesome touch and they have got to make it count. Instead, just as they seemed to be on the verge of frustrating the fierce Aussie pacemen, all they did is to just gift their wicket away, thereby frustrating us expectant fans. And the fact that this has happened so many times in the past, makes the pill all the more harder to swallow.

Anyway, the fact remains that the Australians have gotten 6 Indian wickets and I can only hope that Irfan Pathan makes his selection count. If the Dhoni-Pathan pair can add another 50-80 runs atleast and India can reaches a score of 400+, we will have a good match going!!


Sunday, January 13, 2008

No end to "monkey" and umpiring jokes

My Inbox is flooded these days with jokes on Steve Bucknor, Andrew Symonds and some others.

So I thought of posting some of them on this blog...and here they are.

Now, some of these jokes might seem racist or something...but then, it is all in good humour and they are quite funny too!! Laugh away.....

Why Bhajji was banned....
Procter: Did you call Symonds a Monkey?

Bhajji: No, I called a monkey, Symonds.

Procter: You did what?!!

Bhajji: (Silence)

Procter: How dare you insult a monkey. You are banned for 3 matches!!

Bhajji: (Sad)

Ponting& Co:!!! ?

Ponting: Hey, Symonds.What did he say?

Symonds: Whatever, he is banned. You can bat well next game.

Ponting: No, Anil is there too, ask Mike if he too can be banned too.

Symonds: We'll see in the next match. If he takes your wicket, we'll complain.

Ponting: Fine then. Come.

Spot the monkey contest!!

Rare pic of Steve Bucknor


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Some jokes on the Australian cheaters and the horrible umpiring

There is no better way to vent your frustration and anger over an incident than crack a few sarcastic jokes about it.

And so, after having watched the controversial India-Australia test match at the SCG, someone has written down some rules about cricket in Australia so that any other team touring the place could benefit from the knowledge of these undocumented rules:
(1) Ricky Ponting , THE TRULY GENUINE CRICKETER OF THE MODERN ERA AND WHOSE INTEGRITY SHOULD NOT BE DOUBTED, should be considered as the FOURTH UMPIRE. As per the new rules, the FOURTH UMPIRE's decision is final and will over ride any decisions taken by any other umpire on or off the field. ON-FIELD umpires can seek the assistance of RICKY PONTING even if he is not on the field.

(2) While the AUSTRALIAN TEAM is bowling, if the ball flies anywhere close to an AUSTRALIAN FIELDER(WITHIN a distance of 5 metres), the batsman is to be considered OUT irrelevant of whether the catch was taken cleanly or grassed. Any further clarification for making a decision should be seeked from the FOURTH UMPIRE. This rule is made so as to ensure that all teams play within the SPIRIT OF THE GAME.

(3) When batting, the AUSTRALIAN players will always necessarily wait for the ON-FIELD UMPIRE's decision (even if the catch goes to the FIFTH SLIP as the ball might not have touched the bat, you see!!). Each AUSTRALIAN batsman has to be out for a MINIMUM of FOUR TIMES before he can be told to return to the pavilion. In case of THE CRICKETER WITH a high degree of INTEGRITY, this can be higher.

(4) UMPIRES will be awarded a huge bonus if an AUSTRALIAN player scores a century. Any wrong decisions made in the course of the innings will result in an additional bonus being rewarded to the umpire and all such decisions will receive the full backing of the AUSTRALIAN team and board.

(5) All AUSTRALIAN players are allowed to make any comments about all players on the field. However the OPPONENT TEAM should never make any comment as they will be spoiling the spirit of the game. Any comments made by an opposition team is to be considered as RACISM only.

(6) The MATCH REFEREE's decisions will be taken purely based on the AUSTRALIAN TEAM's advice only. Player views from the other teams will not be considered for hearing. MATCH REFREES are to be given huge bonus whenever this rule is implemented.

(7) NO VISITING TEAM should plan to win in AUSTRALIA. This is to ensure that the sportive spirit of the game is maintained.

THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE: If any bowler gets RICKY PONTING - "THE MOST GENTLEMANLY CRICKETER OF ALL TIMES" - out more than twice in a series, he will be banned for the REST OF THE SERIES. This is to ensure that the best batsman/captain will be able to play and break all records and create history in the game of CRICKET.

Any team visiting Australia is requested to go though these guidelines and strictly follow them. Any appeals made against these rules will be considered as EXERTING PRESSURE on the ICC.

Thank you everyone for your time and hope you have a nice time Down Under!


Monday, January 7, 2008

Champion Cheaters

Apart from being champion sledgers and champion players, the Aussies have added a new dimension to their game and their image: that of Champion Cheaters. Regardless of how well they play their cricket or how many games they win, this pack of ruthless, unsporting cricketers will never ever deserve the same respect that they enjoyed before the Sydney game.

Ponting's and Clarke's shameless feigning of having taken clean catches was disgusting and lowly.

As for the umpiring, even if Mark Benson's and Steve Bucknor's erronous decisions maybe condoned, at best, as "human mistakes", Benson's 'bright idea' of asking Ponting whether Clarke had caught the catch cleanly was utterly stupid and even suggested a degree of favoritism towards the Australian side.

Anyway, let's not let the umpires take the limelight away from the dirty Aussie doings.

At the end of it all, nothing could describe whatever happened in the cricket field beter than Kumble's little quip about only one team having played within the spirit of the game....and we all know which one did not...