Sunday, April 29, 2007

Australiaaaaaaaaaaaa !!!!!

Yes, - Australia are the World Champions yet again!!!! That is a hat-trick as was Gilchrist's performance in the 3 consecutive finals !!! What a performance by Australia!

If ever there was a clear winner in a WC tournament since the West Indian dominance ended, it was Australia in WC 2007 !

Let us not taking anything away from the fighting Lankans, in fact they bowled excellently and batted like fighters in the most difficult conditions!!! But after Jayasuriya and Sangakara, there was no one left to take them home against the Aussies!

I think that both teams played excellent cricket and were fitting finalists and there was only one difference in two sides - Adam Gilchrist!

And that difference won Australia the world cup and deservedly so - they have dominated the cup right from onset and it would have been unjust if they would have lost today! As my friend Kannan pointed out, it makes one think that there should be more than one match for the finals - may be best of three or something.

Coming back to the nicest man in the 'baddest' team, Adam Gilchrist played an amazing innings on a track where others like Hayden, Ponting, Jayasuriya etc. struggled to stroke the ball with same ferocity as his. Gilly was on his way right from the beginning while Haydos was surprisingly subdued and Gilly set the on side on fire and in fact equalled the record for maximum sixes in an ODI innings jointly held by Ponting and Imran Nazir! One has to only see the wagon wheel of Gilly's innings to see how much he scored on the leg side! Amazing strokeplay, exhilarating display of batting by the ever-dangerous Gilly! Paisa Wassool !

Others played their part in the whole match and so did the spoilsport weather, but it was a good game of cricket overall and the side that deserved to win, did! That brings me to another point that a final should not be curtailed and definitely not be decided on the D/L method, but more on that in some later post.

But this game was not all about Gilly's strokelplay and it was also an important game for 3 people retiring / moving on from their current roles:

Ever-accurate and nagging Glenn McGrath, an awesomely effective John Buchanan and also the fighter Russel Arnold!

McGrath capped his career by the player-of-the-tournament award (which I personally feel should have gone to Hayden), but what a man he has been! He has been accuracy personified in the world of cricket and no bowler even comes close to the accuracy with which McGrath bowled in both forms of cricket. Often disliked for his aggressive sledging by lot of people (including yours truly), one has to applaud the discipline and effectiveness that this great man brought to Australian Cricket and world cricket.
Glenn McGrath - Take a bow!

I was fortunate to listen to and meet John Buchanan in person and he is no doubt effective as Gilly called him a legend today! It has been a fairytale for John and his team and kudos to them for showing and teaching others how cricket should be played!

Congratulations and a big "thank you" to Australia ! The True World Champions!

(Images Courtesy: Cricinfo)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Australia: Threats

Just one more match to go and Aussies will reign supreme officially once again!

Let us put ourselves in shoes of Lankans and see what we have on our plates:
(Aussies in their current form)

Batting :
Matthew Hayden: Clearly, the man of the tournament so far - in the form of his life - their biggest threat if Aussies bat first. (or second, or third...oh, just don't give the bat in his hands)
Adam Gilchrist: As explosive player and more dangerous than Hayden himself! If clicked, a dynamite! Has been inconsistent in the tournament so far, but you never know when he might just come on top again. A threat even though he is not as much in form.
Ricky Ponting: A thorn in flesh of bowlers all around the world - sticks to his wicket in ODI's like the combined efforts of Rahul Dravid+ Jayawardane+ mcMillan+Chanderpaul in test cricket! Currently in the form of his life.
(Do we even need to go any further and analyze the rest of the players?)
M Clarke: Was supposed to step in the shoes of Steve Waugh, and is warming up to the task handsomely. Unbelievably(?), he has the highest average in the entire Australian team in the world cup currently!
Brad Hodge: Started with a , but hasn't got a bat in his hands and played only 1 inning after the century!
Symonds and Hussey: They were supposed to light the world cup up, but have not done much so far - against spinners, both have the ability to turn a match around!
Shane Watson: Believe it or not, no bowler has been able to get him out in this tournament! His 32 ball 65 were any indication, he is a threat as big as Gilchrist!

Bowling :
Glen McGrath: The pigeon is flying higher than everybody else! As accurate as ever, he is the silent assassin. He runs in, throws the ball, ball lands on the off stump line, moves just to take the edge and lands happily in Gilly's gloves! Wicket - after wicket- after wicket! This man is not a pigeon, he is a warhorse! Big big threat. (as always)
Shaun Tait: Not thought of much before, has been the pleasant surprise for the Aussies. Has bowled the new ball extremely well and swung the ball superbly to trouble both right and left- handers. Bowls a lot of wides, but takes a lot of wickets too! Big threat!
Nathan Bracken: They say that the best hunters 'hunt in pairs'. Bracken and Tait have done just what no other pair could do in the World Cup. Bracken almost averages as good as McGrath in this world cup and is in a great form too. Big Threat!
Brad Hogg: Bowling on top of his form. Just to give an example of his current form, here is a small comparison:
Murali : 78 overs - 23 wickets. Hogg: 80 overs - 20 wickets.
Not bad, eh? But if I am a Lankan, I wouldn't be too bothered about Hogg, he is not a threat. If Lankans manage to flay the first 3 bowlers, Hogg would not be a problem.

The only time Sri Lanka have ever won a world cup, that has been against Aussies in the finals.

This time, it only looks tougher!!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Finals : Australia vs Sri Lanka

It is Australia in the red corner and Sri Lanka in the blue!!!!

Yes, the Australians have crushed Proteas very comfortably and as expected by all at the beginning of WC, they go on in the finals to meet Lankans.

Almost nobody gave Lankans a chance at the beginning of the WC that they will reach finals, and neither did they fancy themselves is my guess.

Well done to both the finalists!

A preview of the game coming up soon.

PS on Aus-SA game: Why did Smith not bowl himself? The most creative / innovative and thinking captain of the tournament, but will not play in the finals. Sigh.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Awesome Aussies Unstoppable

Man, what are they made of?

South Africa are 27/5 in the semi finals and all Aussie pacers led by McGrath are creating havoc !!! Great stuff, Aussies!

This sure looks like it's going to be another one sided affair ! :-(

Sri Lanka Rewind To 1996

Captain Mahela Jayawardane paced his innings superbly to help Lankans take one foot in the Finals. And then Malinga along with Murali destroyed the Kiwis to storm into the Finals!

What a performance, for a while it reminded me of their stupendous bowling against India at Eden in the semi finals of 1996!

Lankans exploited the conditions extremely well - did well exactly what they were supposed to do- batted their way to a well made respectable score of 289 and then crushed the wingless Kiwis by excellent pace and spin attack.

Kiwis simply choked in their 5th semi finals and off went the collective wish of many Indians (especially girls) to see talented, handsome and fighting Kiwis win the world cup this time!

But Kiwis lost the plot in the last 2 matches and were comprehensively beaten by Aussies and Lankans and will return home a dejected team.

The Lankans, on the other hand, will want to go back to 1996 where they defeated Aussies in the finals to win the World Cup for the first time!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Kiwis vs Lankans

The best 4 teams of the tournament have finally made it to the semi finals and rightfully so.

The stage is set for the first semi final - to be played between Lankans and Kiwis and it promises to be the match of fighters.

There are obvious players to watch out for in both teams like - Bond, Fleming, Styris, McMillan, Murali, Vaas, Jayasuriya, Sangakarra etc and then there are others who keep a low profile but play when it matters like the Malingas, Silvas and Orams.

But let us face it - on paper and by form - Lankans look to be a better team to win tomorrow.

However, Kiwis are stung badly the defeat against Aussies and will want to get back in a big way. Also, let us not forget that this is the knock out match - everyone is going to give his best - The Kiwis have never won the world cup and if there is a chance, they know that this is the one. Fleming has led by example and will need his team to play out fo their skins idf they have to pull this one through.

Lankans know that they are the best team to put Aussies under pressure if they reach finals and they will want to be the first team from sub-continent to win the WC twice!

Both teams are fighting teams and the only deciding factor is going to be this:

If Kiwis can play Murali better than the way Lankans play Bond, then Kiwis can win this match, otherwise, it will be Lankans in the final.

(Image Source: Google Images)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Fletcher 1 Lara 0

What a fantabulastic match!!!!

The send off match for 2 individuals - a send-off by their teams for their tremendous contributions to the respective teams - one of them a coach who helped England win the memorable Ashes victory against all odds and the other - a player who enthralled the audiences world over by his amazingly beautiful batting style and hunger for runs.

Both teams were badly bruised and humiliated in the tournament so far and needed to go out on a high for themselves and the two individuals.

And it couldn't have been better than the match it turned out to be!

For the WI, the only hope, as I have always said, was the final arrival of Gayle storm, and boy did it come? Chris Gayle finally thundered and played a wonderful innings for his 79 complimented well by the new opener Smith (instead of Chanderpaul), Samuels got his act right too in the final match and scored wonderfully to his potential (hopefully that would have reduced his guilt of getting Lara run out) and even Chanderaul played a breezy knock with a SR of 88!
Final total - a formidable 300, which would have reduced Lara's agony of being run out stupidly.
For the England too, it was a response that had failed them earlier in tournament. Vaughan finally came good with bat (and surprisingly with ball too) and played an excellent captain's innings for his 79 but WI kept their grip on the game as wickets fell at regular intervals. The only man standing between WI and victory was Pieterson who was p laying a characteristically aggressive innings. WI were awesome in the field and it was Bravo who had kept them in the hunt by effecting 2 run outs, 1 catch and 2 key wickets including that of England's man friday Collingwood. But apart from Pieterson's century, almost equal contributor to England's hopes was the old chap Nixon who played a superb cameo to bring the equation to 4 of final 6 balls. Lara turned to Bravo yet again who responded by taking out the dangerous Nixon, but Stuart Broad, all of 21 years old and 6 match experience denied the honours to Bravo and won the match for England, and for Fletcher.

England won with 1 wicket and 1 ball to spare - doesn't get any more interesting than this, does it?
Wonderful game by all players from both sides but finally Lara didn't get the send off victory game. That was unfortunately as characteristic as Lara's role in WI cricket - that of valiant innings and disappointing losses.

Thank you guys for another memorable game in this World Cup!
(Images source : Cricinfo)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Brian Lara Retires!

Oh, No!

This is almost as sad a news as Bob Woolmer's death for ardent cricket followers from all over the world. :-(

The art will suddenly disappear from this game without Lara.

Unbelievable, the world will have to now look for a newer hero, someone who makes the batting look so beautiful and someone who single-handedly takes the game to a new lever everytime he puts himself on the field!

Saturday will be the last time cricket fans from all over the world will watch him take the crease against England.

Hoping for the Last Hurrah!

Thank you for the shuffle at the crease, the back-lift, the posture, thank you for the cover drives, the straight drives, the pulls, the flicks, the sweeps, the hooks, the paddles, the nudges, the defence, the attack, the jaw-dropping records, the humility and the art of it all.

Thank you for bringing music in a game tarnished by million other things, and thank you for ensuring that we still love the game!

Take a bow, Brian Charles Lara!

(Image Source : BBC)

India Team For Bangladesh

Well, to start with, I am happy for the following reasons:

1) Bhajji has 'finally' been dropped! :-)
2) Ditto for Agarkar
3) Tendulkar and Ganguly have been 'rested' - we all know what it really means to rest them after the dismal performance , don't we? (or do we?)
4) Sehwag was 'finally' dropped from tests (I wonder why not from ODIs)
5) Piyush Chawla gets a good opportunity and he has been waiting for a long time - ideal candidate for Tests, but with Kumble around he will have to wait
6) Manoj Tewary gets a look in too - he has been knocking on the doors for a long time - this is good news
7) Dinesh Mongia gets a recall - he is one man who deserves to be in Indian ODI playing 11 at all times - it was stupid not to take him to the WC in the first place
8) Rajesh Pawar the left arm spinner gets an opportunity in Tests - don't know how much effective he can be now. He once combined with Powar in Mumbai side and they were deadly duo.

Some things that worry me:
1) Pathan has been left out due to his form, but I believe he is good enough to be in the team today
2) Kartik is a great chap to be in the team (and I am so glad he is), but expecting him to open in test matches is asking too much.
3) Gautam Gambhir should have been inducted as an opener in Tests too.
4) Rohit Sharma (Mumbai) could have been given an opportunity
5) No one seems to have a clue about what should be done about R P Singh and V R V Singh? Honestly, they don't impress me much
6) Another series in the sub continent - its not going to do any good to Indian cricket - what is required are series to be played on fast and lively pitches - not in the sub continent where one gets a false feeling of confidence and comfort.

Ah - Indian Cricket - You continue to baffle me - I don't understand whether to be happy or to be sad!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Shivnarain Chanderpaul

It is sad to see how a really talented batsman like Shivnarain Chanderpaul has wasted his time in playing One Day Internationals when he is really a classic test cricket batsman.

Not only did West Indies suffer for not realizing this fact (or realizing, but not implementing corrective action) but they also almost ended up with a poor poor poor batting effort in every world cup match they played - and the reason was simple - Shivnarain Chanderpaul opened the , took too many balls to score to few a runs and in the process mount the pressure on rest of the line up which just crumbled under that pressure very time they batted.

I said it before , then I repeated it after their 1st match of the WC with:
Chanderpaul was a disaster and managed to get out for a mere 19 from 63 balls !!! I stand vindicated.
and I say it again now.

In fact there is a business case for my argument now. The business case reads as follows:

Out of 15 WI players that batted in this tournament, Chanderpaul came a distant 13th when it came to strike rate!!!

Runs Scored: 281, Balls Faced: 478, Strike Rate: 58.78 !

Not to mention that he has faced maximum number of balls faced by any WI player in this tournament.

You do NOT want someone who gobbles up so many balls after balls and gives out only trickle of runs out to pressurize rest of the batting line up into crumbling and crashing out of the tournament.

The blame for dismal performance of WI lies the most with Chanderpaul and with Lara for not doing anything about Chanderpaul.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

England And Sachin

Michael Vaughan was as bad as his team in the World Cup, but at least he is a gentleman enough to admit it.

This is what I had expected Sachin to say when he was boo'ed off Wankhede after his suffering at the crease and India's humiliating defeat to the same England team. But instead we got this:
"I thought the issue was blown out of proportion by the media. It wasn't that bad. I have more well wishers than the small section of the crowd at the Wankhede Stadium that day. I have to ignore them. I cannot forget the backing I have got from the people all these years just because of this."

1983 : World Champions or Fluke?

This has been the debate since India won the World Cup in 1983.

Everybody talks about our win in 1983 and the nostalgia (especially those who were a part of the team).

I think it is time to put my 2 cents on the topic here.

In my view, it was a one-off performance by a really average team - it can be called fluke as they were never able to repeat the same performance even once. World Champions are stuff that Australia are made up of, or what WI were, or what India was in hockey in those golden Dhyanchand days.

One unexpected World Cup Victory - a result of everything falling right - one peak performance by a bunch of talented and not so talented individuals - is what it was.

Yes, the team were (and are still) treated as heroes who brought unparallelled glory to Indian Cricket, and rightly so.

But India has never looked like World Champions simply because they have never been consistent in their game. Not even once. Not under any captain or coach.

1983 was a fluke because it could not be repeated, and the team(s) never even came close other than in 2003.

Sad, but true.

South Africa Crush England

SA rocked and rolled into the semis today, slaughtered England as if England were Netherlands!

Smith led from the front and proved why he is my all-time favourite captain!

This was a do-or-die match for South Africa and Andrew Hall (of all the people) bowled a dream spell - he brings such a value to the team by virtue of being almost unnoticed all-rounder. The ball with which he got Flintoff was a beauty.

South Africans are entering semis on a high. Welcome, Proteas.
Now it will only be just if Sri Lanka become the fourth Semi Finalist. England dobn't deserve to be in the last four anyways.

So it should be Aus-NZ-SL-SA in the semis now - Interesting and wonderful cricket coming our way!


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Changes in Pakistan Cricket

Pakistan Cricket is always an enigma for me.

But PCB has at least attempted to clean up their cricket - The latest news is that Shoaib Malik (just 25 years old) will be their new captain!

I may not agree with the choice of their captain, but I appreciate their bold steps.

Bangaru Laxman Does Not Like Corruption!

Justin Langer is unbelievably hypocritical !

Yes, it is the same Justin Langer who - sledged and sledged and sledged and fought with his claws like a cat all the time and irritated no less a gentleman than Rahul Dravid - now after retiring, says that there should be no sledging in cricket!!!

In fact, as a response to his talks, Ponting says that, in that case, there must be 2 Justin Langers that he knows!

This is one of those rare times when I actually like Ricky Ponting! (Read this post before I delete this sentence I just wrote with so much difficulty)

Sachin in 20-20

If Sachin bats like this in international cricket, then I will not ask him to resign.

I promise.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Funny Excuses!

It is unbelievable that someone like Sandhu, who coached Mumbai so well, can come out with such ridiculous excuses for India's failed WC campaign!

Australian Bowling

As I start writing this article, Nathan Bracken is 8-3-9-3 against SL!

I have always spoken about how Australian bowling in this world cup has been their weak link and it is their batting which has won them matches.

However, I am amazed to see how wrong I was - Although the Australian bowlers are inexperienced (with the exception of Glenn McGrath), but they have given this tournament everything they have - Tait has been devastating with his incoming yorkers, Bracken almost has an average better than McGrath's, McGrath himself is the leading wicket taker in this world cup so far and Hogg has been an excellent support, to say the least.

All in all, there are 4 Australian bowlers in the top 8 bowlers of this tournament and this tells a story in itself. The story is that every Australian bowler has bowled his heart out and has been rewarded. One match it is McGrath, the other it is Tait, yet other it is Bracken and then there is Hogg. There is no single dangerous bowler - they are the hunters that hunt as a team.

So now we have an Australian team which is getting everything right as they progress ahead in the tournament. Peaking at the right time, as they say.

Who can stop this Hurricane called Australian Cricket?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

कौन बनेगा Semi Finalist?

This World Cup has become an interesting one with the speculations going wild on which teams will seal the semi finals berth.

This is an interesting situation, and keeps the teams, followers and those into betting extremely edgy.

Points as of today are as follows:
Aus: 10
NZ: 10
SL: 8

We have sure shot semi finalists in Australia and New Zealand. Of the remaining teams Sri Lanka need to win one of the matches out of their 2 remaining ones against Aus and Ireland. Assuming that they are able to do so, they become the third semi finalist.

For the fourth semi finalist, the race is really between SA and England. SA have only one match left - against England and they need to win it. If they win the match, they will make it to the semi finals. If England win that one, then England will need to win their last match against the WI too in order to enter the semis.

Now, if SA lose to England, SA stay on 6 points. England proceed to total of 6 points as well.
Then, if England lose to WI, England stay on 6 points. Then it will be left to NRR to decide the fourth semi finalist.

It will be really interesting if England defeat SA and then it will all boil down to the last Super 8's match - that of England vs WI to see who really goes through.

This is getting interesting game by game, it's a thriller, no less!

Who is it going to be? Your guess is as good as mine.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Indian Cricketers: An Analysis

Indian cricketers start playing cricket in their childhood because they love the game, they love their heroes and they love playing and winning.

By the time they grow up appreciated for their cricketing skills, they are aware of what lies ahead in terms of their career goals (Playing for India) and the obstacles (competition etc.) they face in reaching the career goal.

They compete hard in domestic cricket on wickets which suit the batsmen - they get recognized, their hopes are fuelled and they try harder and harder to enable that one step - the crown of Indian child's dreams - to play for India.

There are exceptions that get there by other means, but let us talk only about those who get picked to play for the country on merit.

If they play for the country and do well , suddenly they find that they have 'arrived'. They get attention, endorsements, advertisements etc., which is only a distant dream till you 'arrive'. They get thrilled by this flashy life.

Suddenly, there is no more career goal than just ensuring that you maintain your place in the team. Maintaining your place in the team depends on lot of things apart from your batting - it depends on your 'weight' and 'contacts' and of course, being in form just enough to stay in the team and keep earning the money as long as you play.

One rotten apple can spoil the entire basket, they say.

In the circle of this life, a child wants to play for the joy of playing and at his adulthood he wants to play to keep his place in the side and survive on payments. There is just no more 'joy' left.

As priorities change, so do actions.

And I have not even dared to broach the subject of match fixing and the money involved.

In ignorance, lies bliss.

Long live Indian Cricket!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Aussies Spoil Irish Party

At the moment Ireland are 72/8 and luckier to get to even 72 in face of excellent seam bowling and lack of experience of their own batsmen to face such bowling.

McGrath has gone ahead and improved his WC tally and leads the pack of highest wicket takers in the cup followed by the Lankans. Aussies are the first team to storm into Semi Finals.

Ireland , on the other hand, have nothing to be despondent about. They came here with a purpose to play with the big boys and even created upsets. The defeated Canada, drew with Zimbabwe and by defeating Pakistan, created the biggest crisis and a possible turn-around in Pakistan cricket!

Against the Aussies, the best of the aggressive tiger teams have purred like pussy-cats, so there is nothing to be ashamed of - Go ahead and enjoy your game and learn from the best teacher in the world - experience !

Thursday, April 12, 2007

NZ vs SL

What a match it promises to be - A dream of a match for the sheer fight that both these teams show.

Sri Lanka will miss their highest wicket taker in the WC - Malinga and the zest he brings into the team. One can only hope that Jayawardhane uses Murali intelligently - yet again Sri Lanka's fortunes depend on the wily Murali and the Sensational Sanath while others continue to chip in with their worthy performances.

For the Kiwis, they seem to be in an unforgiving mood and have not lost a single match after their initial loss to Bangladesh. In fact, their NRR is higher than the Aussies at this moment! While Fleming has led from the front and Styris has been the silent performer with bat as well as ball, one Mr. Shane Bond has an average of 10.20 in this WC!

Promises to be a thriller! Be there or be square!

Bangladesh Loses Match, Wins Hearts

Bangladesh almost had England in their grip, but let go towards the end.

Nevertheless, another impressive performance by the spirited tigers to justify their presence in Super 8's - although it wouldn't help them anymore for entry into the semi finals.

England were listless and almost as bad as India were in their loss to Bangladesh.

To give the credit where it is due, Bangladesh bowlers - both seamers and spinners bowled well, while England batted poorly to be staring down the barrel at 110/6.

All in all, England were lucky enough to have their Man Friday Collingwood still at crease - and to me, his 23 n.o. today is far superior than any of Tendukar's centuries.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Lara Retires From ODIs

Brian Lara has decided to call it quits from the ODI's.

"I think this is the end of my one-day career, for sure," Lara said. "I honestly feel that my game is over and we should give it to one of the younger players. It's really tough playing one-day internationals out there."

I am impressed.
This decision always displays a maturity that someone knows where to stop.

He might not have been the best captain for WI, he might have let them down in their do-or-die situations in this WC and other matches, but he is gracious in accepting it and handing it over to younger players.

And the good part is that he will still be around to play Test Cricket - that is where the real cricket is played anyways.

As one of the greatest artists to ever play this game, you have my heart, Brian.
(Image Source : Cricinfo)

Hosts Are Out!

Well, almost!

The fortune of WI depends on SA losing both the remaining matches of Super 8's and it is not likely to happen under normal circumstances.

It means that this world cup has ended as nothing much but a damp squib for WI.

The Gayle-storm never visited the islands, Lara almost never showed his class, Sarwan did not peak till this game, Chanderpaul was sluggish, and Samuels remained a shadow of Lara yet again. The Dwaynes were inconsistent as well. And that Darren Powell was the top wicket taker for them, speaks volumes for itself.

There were some glimpses of spirit and talent, but they were too few and too far.

West Indian cricket is on the way to becoming Indian Hockey .

Another great disappointment of WC 2007!

News from Cricketing World

South Africa set up a huge 357 run target for the hosts WI in a do-die match! Awesome batting display yet again by the Proteas. But they have been inconsistent with this kind of batting. Hosts need a Gayle-Storm or a Lara/Sarawan-epic to finally come good and hit the SA real hard...not too many hopes for the hosts, though... let us wait and watch - whatever the result, high scoring matches are always a treat to watch!

Elsewhere, Pakistan is discussing the names of the probable coach / captain to take over now - just what India was doing a week back. It seems weird and sad to hear names like Aquib Javed as a coach! I hope they get someone really good.

In the meanwhile, Tendulkar and Yuvraj get a show-cause notice for their outbursts, surprising for the nation. A good move in my eyes, to bring down some egos.

Talking of good moves, here is another one. Although it is limited to 2 appeals, it's a start nevertheless.

Krish Srikkanth says that he was asked in 1989 by the board members to dump all seniors and when he did not, he was dumped and his career began to end! That speaks volumes about the BCCI and it's murky ways of administering the game. As if we needed an evidence.

The aussies, in the meanwhile, can't even take sporting aggression sportingly. Grow up, Ricky!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


The inimitable Cyrus Broacha goes ballistic!


The only team to stay unbeaten in this tournament yet is the Australian team.

Not only that, all their victories have been convincing and huge.

Ponting has led from the front, and despite their bowling attack not as it was in the last world cup, Tait has been phenomenal and so have been the others. Their depth in batting never stops to amaze me. Apart from Ponting, sometimes it is Hayden, sometimes Gilchrist, and then there are Clarke, Symonds,Hodge and Hussey. All in sublime form!!!

I repeat - This Australian team basically bats the other team out of the game. To beat Australia, the opponents will have to bowl out of their skins - As of now, the only possible candidates look like Murali and Bond. No one else comes close.

Aussies sure appear to be favourites for this WC at this stage as well!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Ponting on a Backfoot?

How often do you see that Ricky Ponting is on a backfoot?

Here he is, with England cruising to 100/2 in about 20 overs and Poting has already used 6 bowlers unseuccesfully trying to get Bell / KP out!!!

McGrath has given 25 runs from his 3 overs and had to be replaced.

How I wish that I was sitting in the middle of Barmy Army at the stadium right now!

Bangla Tigers Are Over The Moon!

If ever there was an evidence required that Bangladesh have 'arrived', it is here.

The Bangla Tigers have roared high! They have beaten the World No 1 team !

It was a performance that Aussies would be proud of.

They batted well, bowled well and fielded well (2 run outs of South Africans is no mean task).

First they batted extremely well with Ashraful batting wonderfully and then they put SA in a spot by getting quick wickets earlier on...well played!

It is going to be one long, special and festive night in Dhaka. Bheeshon!!!

Take a Bow, Tigers!

(Image Source: Cricinfo)

Saturday, April 7, 2007

BCCI and it's decisions

Cricinfo informs that "BCCI has come out with a swift and strong' response to India's dismal performance.

I am amazed and appalled!

If 'this' is swift and strong, then pigs do have wings and they fly for sure!

The article goes on to say that "The subject of player earnings appeared to be the main focus of the meeting"...Hello, knock knock - If I had got it right, the subject was supposed to be discussing dismal performance by Indian players and not about their earnings, endorsements etc.

BCCI treasurer further went on to say "By retaining Dravid as captain, we want to send out a signal that there is no cause for panic." Heh!

The article summarizes the decisions taken at the meeting as follows:
  • Rahul Dravid to captain team for next three tours
  • Performance based payment structure
  • Players can do a maximum of 3 endorsements
  • Ravi Shastri appointed Cricket Manager, Venkatesh Prasad as bowling coach, Robin Singh as fielding coach for Bangladesh tour
  • The frequency of under-19 tours will be increased
  • All state associations to have academies to develop young talent by April 2009
  • Cricket advisory committee set up with Sharad Pawar as its head and including seven former captains who attended Friday's meeting
My two-cents on these 'main decisions':
Dravid has been the most non-aggressive and non-innovative captain that India has seen for a long time now. He should have resigned or sacked.

Payment ?- So is there an indication that performances of players were bad because of payments issue? But henceforth if they get paid only based on their performance, then it is good too, but it might open a new can of worms with more importance being given to money and to individual performance than to actual winning of the game.

Endorsements? Again, what have endorsements got to do with performance???

Different Specialist Coaches? Excuse me, but with people having 10-17 yeas of experience, do you think they don't know how to field on a cricket ground??? What will you achieve by increasing power centres of an already disjoint team??? And Venkatesh Prasad, of all the people? The Prasad who was almost slower than Kumble??? Except for the Amir Sohail wicket, he has not added much value to Indian cricket, another lame, non aggressive addition to a team overburdened with some of them already! And there is no single coach to motivate the team in crisis or help the captain in leading the team? Ravi Shastri as a cricket manager??? What are a cricket manager's responsibilities? Is it a job security for Shastri who does not want to be sacked if team does not perform? C'mon guys - who are you fooling here?

Frequency of Under 19 teams: This is a good decision, but will not have much of a say in India cricket's future, because, that, depends on selection committee, you see.

State Academies: This is a joke, it will go to fill someone's pockets and nothing else.

Cricket Advisory Committee: LOL...Ha, ha, ha.

If there was one golden opportunity to clean up Indian cricket, it had come in form of WC debacle, but alas, the powers in place are too busy safeguarding their own vested interests that Indian cricket.

This, I think, answers my earlier question.


First we expect from the players!

They let us down badly.

Then we expect from the administrators that they will take some stern action!

They let us down badly as well.

Then we will expect that with whatever we have as administrators and players and coaches and managers, the team will perform better!

Are we die-hard optimists or just gullible morons?

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Ifs and Buts...

I read in "The Hindu" archives yesterday a statement by Ganguly dated 2004 that "Yuvraj is the future opener of India and I have told him so" !!!

Wow...In 2007, we had Yuvraj no where near opening the innings! There were no talks of it either.

But now we know that had Chappell not intervened, Yuvraj would have opened the inings with someone. And then who knows .... :D

Ifs and Buts....that is all that one can talk about Indian Cricket now...

Give Me Some Nails!!!

Thanks to Sri Lanka and their close finishes, I have bitten all my nails off already and we are still in Super 8s!

What a match between England and SL!!! Nixon and Bopara were just amazing and clinical - everything they did was just right and Sri Lankans were frustrated!!!

Then Malinga took out Nixon when they had almost but lost the game and suddenly Lankans were the ones with the upper hand!

Just for the sheer fight that England and Bopara showed, I found myself - rather un-characteristically - rooting for England!

And to his credit, Bopara kept his calm and almost gave England a very un-characteristic victory, but it was not to be - The Lankans, proved yet again that they held the nerves best when it came to crunch situations!

Bravo to both the teams and thank you for the entertainment!!!

MoM should have been given to both Bopara and Fernando!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

आयला !

The latest outbursts, are only the second time that the great man has ever 'whined' and showed his human side outside the field in his association with Indian cricket for last 17 years.

Has Sachin stopped being the 'goody-goody' poster boy of Indian Cricket?

First and foremost, like millions of Indian fans, every one of the 11 cricketers and the coach have a right to be emotional about their own performances, Sachin is no exception.

I truly believe that greatness of Sachin has been due to not only his tremendous game on the field, but also his excellent behaviour off the field. And I really don't think that Sachin has let his shield down this time.

He did it only once in his entire career so far, and it was when he was denied a well-deserved rare double century by a stupid declaration. He did not even say a word at the height of the ball-tampering controversy when the umpire directly implicated Sachin's intentions! Now, a man will normally have an emotional outburst if his intentions are questioned more than when his attitude is! He kept his mum throughout the match-fixing saga and lived a life above all these controversies.

So this interview by Sachin where he is blaming Chappell for questioning the attitude of players, seems to be a well calculated move on Sachin's part.

Indian public needed to be placated, and only person who touches their hearts and is well and truly above everyone else, is Sachin Tendulkar. He had done it in the past where he asked fans to have faith in bad times, probably at the behest of BCCI.

This time too, the board probably asked Sachin for a statement. A statement which will kill 2 (or more) birds in one stone - let us see which birds BCCI wanted to be killed -

1) Indian fans needed to be placated and faith in Indian team restored.
2) Sympathy is the only practical replacement to anger
3) Chappell needed to be kicked out after paying so much for him
4) There is a need of change in captaincy - and Sachin needs to take it up
5) We will not see seniors sacked from the team - somehow the Indian cricket may not just get the fan following and the money without Sachin, Sourav etc...

hmmm..... any more? We wouldn't know....

Who better than Mr. God Tendulkar to throw that stone and kill all of them with it?

This is my conspiracy theory behind the mask of Gentleman's Game played in Indian power circles.

It sucks, bigtime!!!

Goodbye, Chappell Kaka!

Says uncle Greg - "I will resign before you sack me"!!!

Whew....this will settle the dust over people criticizing him and baying (rightly) for his blood.

This is a good move by him for his own sake.

However, this in turn, will result into either of the 2 things:
1) Fans will now start looking at players' performance (the lack of it, rather)
2) With Sachin's emotional outburst, fans might sympathize with the players after burning Chappell's ghost and move on with Indian Cricket and life will be backto usual once again (sad, if this happens).

Looks like we might have a now-ready Tendulkar to lead the team, unless Sourav-da takes up the mantle yet again!!! Or is Rahul going to stick around despite the flak? Hot Seat indeed!!!

And about the new coach, who will take the hotter seat? I would hate to see someone lame like Mohinder Amarnath take it up. Sunil Gavaskar is a 2nd Greg Chappell who loves rubbing people the wrong way. Sandeep Patil is supposedly Mr. Ego and the rest? well they are just foreigners!!! Wow !!!

What next, Indian Cricket???

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The Last Action Heroes - Bowlers

Who is doing what at this stage in WC? - Bowlers

There are 4 bowlers who have taken more than 10 wickets in this world cup so far after playing 5 matches and they are:

Malinga(SL) - 13
McGrath (Aus) - 12
Muralidharan(SL) - 11
Hogg (Aus) - 11

Is it an indicator of a likely final?

The Last Action Heroes - Batsmen

Who is doing what at this stage in WC? - Batsmen

Hayden (Aus) - 5 innings - 2 centuries 1 half century
Smith (SA)- 4 innings - 4 half centuries
Fleming (NZ)- 5 innings - 1 century, 2 half centuries
Jayasuriya (SL)- 5 innigns - 2 centuries
Kallis (SA)- 3 innngs - 1 century 1 half century
Ponting (Aus)- 4 innngs - 1 century 1 half century
Styris (NZ)- 4 innings - 3 half centuries

So far, these have glitterred this world cup. Going by the pure form, and as you can see from the list above, it looks like the most likely semi final line up:
Australia, Nea Zealand, South Africa and Sri Lanka.

Who gets to be the best batsman of the world cup? Your guess is as good as mine!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Genius at work!

This is Hilarious!

Please take time out to read all the news on the page in minutest details to enjoy thoroughly.

Note: please ensure protection, one might fall down from chair laughing.

(Link source: Amit's blog)