Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Technology > Umpires

I will use this space for venting my dis-approvement against those who run the game.

The topic this time, is the power vested in umpires.

Umpires, for long, have decided the results in this glorious game played over years.

They have been deciding factor by virtue of their competence- or lack of it, judgement, biases, inadequate tools to give a fair judgement, personal likes, dislikes and agenda, so on and so forth.

I personally believe that cricket as a game deserves a fair judgement (as does everything else in life).

When you have an option to use the available technology, why is the last word always that of the umpire?
Why can a wrong decision given by umpire never be 'righted' when the whole world can see it as a wrong one?
Why should an inning (and sometimes the whole career) of an individual be decided by someone's wrong decision?
Why should a nation suffer because of a wrong decision?
Why should judgement and fairness suffer because of an umpiring error?

While umpires are necessary for on the field control, I think it is high time that administrators use the technology to ensure that the game is played in the right spirit.

Not only the game has been abused by wrong decisions due to incompetence, situational mistakes etc., but it has also been abused by high-headedness of certain individuals who have abused the power of being an on-field umpire (e.g. Darryl Hair, Mike Dennis etc.)

Also the umpires on the field have no easy tools to take a split second decision and often err due to this constraint.

I think that 3rd umpire should be given powers over and above those vested in the field umpires and he should overrule the decisions taken on field based on the tools which help him take the correct decision.

Another point - Why do cricket lovers dislike fixing? Because is alters the natural way a game is played. It makes you feel 'cheated'. Erroneous decisions are no less, and equally unfair.

Law and decisions should not necessarily be a blind lady holding weighing scales, especially when more than 1 billion set of eyes can decide easily and fairly.

Please ensure that this gloriously uncertain game gets its uncertanity from the way it is played rightfully and not through fixing or errors.

How The Mighty Have Fallen...

What’s up (down) with the Aussies? Losing 4 consecutive matches? Losing to 2 different teams twice on a trot ? Losing convincingly?

Update (20 Feb) : Make that 5 consecutive losses !!!!!

Someone pinch me, will ya?

I mean these results are fine with any other team, but the Mighty Invincibles themselves???

Ponting's absence did them in? Or was Shane Warne's guile missing? Has McGrath finally grown old?

While a part of me secretly snickers at the results, another part asks me seriousness "Is it the beginning of the end of another era?"

Well, whatever the case may be, I, for one, am enjoying cricket and its results!

Well done, Kiwis - we will keep an eye and some warm feelings for you this world cup!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar - these 2 words lit up the lights in any young kid's eyes in the last decade, warmed many a cricket fans' hearts, swelled many Indian's chests with pride, draw admiration and appreciation from girls (conservative aunties included), brought more money into game, ensured hope in cricket lover's mind and heart after the match fixing saga, and converted a game into a religion.

The same 2 words, over last couple of years, have now failed to evoke much emotions except those of despair and helplessness, evoke sad dialogues like "don't know what wrong with him" and "will he show his magic this time at least?"

What has happened to the god? Has he become a mere mortal after 17 years of being a god? He has become more of an enigma, a puzzle which every cricket lover, commentrator, critic and just anybody around the corner has tried to solve, but has not been successful in doing so.

I am no exception and as others, have my own theory of 'probable causes'.

My theory says that cricket is, all said and done, a game played in the minds of those who play the game.

Over last 1 and 1/2 decade, Sachin Tendulkar grew in stature and bowler's eyes due to immense talent and commitment to the game and as he grew in stature, he became more and more confident in the way he took on bowlers all over the world. With his knocks, his mind told him that he is one of the greatest and this is what all bowler's minds told them as well. Everyone thought he was special and so did he. With a strong mind fuelling this immense talent, there was little the bowlers all over the world could do. And he kept on batting, breaking and smashing all the records that came his way. He believed in himself - this was the key to his success.

Failures were there, but were rare and brushed away by him with disdain they were by others.

During this period, he was vulnerable to physical gruel and injuries as were the others . Only his injuries kept on eating more headlines and made a nation's heartbeat skip.

But with time, somewhere, there was a dent in the great cricketing mind of Sachin - a dent which burst the bubble of his confidence - a dent which also was lapped up by media who in turn increased the dent - by blowing every small inch out of proportion - there were other experts who added to this by saying that he is no longer 17 years old and that his body is not so young anymore and that he cannot play like Sachin of yesterday and that he will be mentor of the team now - all of this actually punctured Sachin's confidence and he actually started believing in what the experts said about him....so much so that he actually started echoing their words in his interviews...he started playing cautiously against bowlers which was never his style.

He had started to believe that he could fail. he believed that Sachin Tendulkar can fail now.
He justified it to his own mind. heart and close people around him that he is no longer the Sachin of yesterday - he is no longer the master blaster.

And this is what made a mortal out of a god.

As the adage goes: Whatever goes up, must come down.

Sad, but true.

However, the human race survives and thrives on hope ... A hope - that one day, the fortunes will swing again.


Watch Out for these in WC

Watch out for
Shane Bond (Tormentor of world champions)
Shaun Pollock (Evergreen)
Ricky Ponting (The man on top of the charts)
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (The Blaster)
Mohd Yousuf ( Solid as ever)
Chris Gayle (Gaylestorm)
Kumara Sangakara (Mr. Reliable)
Mike Hussey (Doosra Bevan)

Yes, obviously there will be more (surprise) performers than those listed above, but I would want to stick my neck out for these.....

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Indian WC Squad - An Analysis

Firstly, Sehwag should have been dropped. No player (apart from Agarkar) has been given as many chances as Sehwag. We already have enough talented openers in the team. Uthappa has proved himself on Indian pitches and rightly deserves to be checked out here.

Secondly, Harbhajan should have been dropped. No one has lived so much based on pure legacy and absolutely no form.

Ramesh Powar definitely deserved a chance. He has been unlucky.

Kumble's case is curious - a wonderful player at heart, gives 200%, but wickets have eluded him on foreign pitches - Having said that, we have not nurtured Piyush Chawla as he should have been to be the next frontrunner leg spinner to play for India. That means, we have to pick Kumble for he is the only quality leg spinner in view today and has a good experience of playing on Caribbean pitches.

Ganguly has been batting like he is on a song and that deserves an auto berth for him in the world cup.

Tendulkar the cricketer deserves a chance more than Tendulkar the batsman, which is sad, but true. His experience and support to Dravid and team apart from his current (inconsistent) form will be useful to the team.

Dravid the batsman is back, but Dravid the captain is still lacking the killer instinct required for ODI's. Yes , yes, I know he has scored 10,000 runs 2 days back and has become the only 6th player in the world to do so, but sorry, for ODI's you cannot be conservative in anything you do - you MUST play to win, you must be aggressive in your field settings, you must have plans and backup plans ready - just to WIN. Sadly, Chappell has not been able to put this quality in Dravid (yet). He should learn fast, for a team to win a world cup, you need a capable captain who breathes for victory for sure.

Kartick has been excellent in the chances offered to him and absolutely deserves a place based on his current form. However, Dhoni is the man to watch for in this World Cup is what I have to say - so the selectors have done well by picking both of them - Dhoni will set the WC on fire - is my prediction.

Zaheer has been wonderful on form and has to be the first choice for a fast bowler. Pathan too is a great team player to have in the team and will surely fire on the Carribean pitches. Agarkar has been bowling well off late and deserves a place in the side based purely on current form. Munaf Patel has developed well and he too, deserves to be on the bus, ship, aeroplane - whatever. Sreesanth's is a curious case - erratic bowler, may not be the best choice for the WC - Ranadeb Bose could have been given a chance here.

We are left with Yuvraj Singh who was batting as wonderfully as he has ever been able to before the injury struck him - he , too is an automatic choice.

I think that the selectors should have included VVS Laxman for the stability and solidity in middle order. He has been playing well. And heck, who knows, if we run into Australia in any of the stages, they might actually be scared. ;-)

Having said all the things above, if any one of you have still managed to hang around , here is my WC team for you:

Robin Uthappa
Saurav Ganguly
Sachin Tendulkar
Rahul Dravid
VVS Laxman
Yuvraj Singh
Dinesh Karthick
Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Anil Kumble
Romesh Powar
Zaheer Khan
Irfan Pathan
Ajit Agarkar
Munaf Patel
Ranadeb Bose

More about India's WC chances in the next post!


Welcome to a blog where I play cricket - the way it should be !

I am going to use only one shot - A straight drive - through my views which will be - to the point, frank, precise, straight from the heart and sometimes, straight from the mind as well.

I am going to use this space to cut players, administrators, support staff to size, and at times to make them bigger than life as well.

Yes, I am going to play Cricket as a Gentleman should.
A game as it deserves to be played.
A fair play.
Let the best win!

A Straight Drive - Coming your way.