Saturday, May 19, 2007

Afridi is Back!

Shahid Afridi is back - back to the league he belongs!

The league that boasts of a presence of the ones with "a License to Kill" - to Kill, to Demoralize, to completely Demolish and Humiliate a bowler and then Powder him to dust and Dance on the powder with a bat in one hand!

(Question to Myself : Is this a WWE blog or a Cricket one?)

The league where his compatriots are the likes of Gibbs, Dhoni, Gilchrist, Jayasuriya, Hayden etc.

The ever-adorable (yet mostly foolish) Afridi hit 32 in a Bandara over where he completely changed the face of the game! Till that over, it was neck-to-neck between Pakistan and Sri Lanka and all of a sudden, in the space of 5 maniac minutes and 6 decent balls, Afridi put Pakistan into the winner's throne, barring some formalities. Two fours and four sixes!

All that the spectators could have said would have been to the likes of 'Oh My God!' with gaping mouths in their respective languages!

They call it a whirlwind hurricane! Or a Thunderstorm ? A Tornado? A Hailstorm?

We call it a typical Afridi knock!

Friday, May 18, 2007


Meghana has written an amazing post! I couldn't stop myself from linking it here.

(Please Note: It is in Marathi and it is about Sachin)

England Ride on 4 Centuries!

England did an Australia today!

While we should sit back and applaud all the four centurions (especially the debutant Prior), WI have only themselves to blame - not only were they up against a solid England today morning when they took up the field, they missed chances galore and had they taken half of those, it could very well have been a different story.

England are sitting pretty with 553/5 after 2 days of play and it will not be long before they declare tomorrow - probably in the first session itself. The WI team, then will have a real uphill task, first to avoid follow on and then to avoid defeat. And whatever the result, they have only themselves to blame.

In the meanwhile, let's look at the English batting:
1) Cook played really well yesterday but went home early today.
2) Collingwood, ODI specialist, rode his luck for an important century.
3) Ian Bell, an opener of one time, came at 4 down and has played exceedingly well to hit a balanced unbeaten century.
4) And Matt Prior has batted almost run-a-ball to strike a wonderful unbeaten century on debut at Lords!
Prior to Prior, England had the old Nixon who was good, but with Prior, if he continues in this vein, they have an excellent addition to their team. And mind it, there is no Flintoff in this match.
Great team work!

So - well done England !
(Er...not Dwyane, but just "Bravo, England!')

Sri Lanka - Jayawardene

Sri Lanka struggled against an admirably effective Pak attack to limp to 235 /9 after 50 overs - thanks to a surprising knock of 69 n.o. by their bowling all rounder Mahroof!

And this when they have not one but two Jayawadanes in the midst of them! Yes - and I couldn't help but notice the scorecard with each of them having 4 initials in their name!

On further probing, I found their names to be as follows:
Mahela's full name : Denagamage Proboth Mahela de Silva Jayawardene
Prasanna's full name: Hewasandatchige Asiri Prasanna Wishvanath Jayawardene

Now we know the secret to Mahela's batting talent! He has a 'De Silva' hidden in his name! :-)

India vs B'desh - Day 1 of Test 1

Wasim Jaffer was unlucky.
Kartik is a delight to have in the team.
Dravid is still 'The Wall'
Tendulkar and Ganguly - need to play like this consistently. Yes, they were edgy to start with , but it was a pleasure to watch them when in full flow.
B'desh - have a real uphill task ahead.
If I was Bashar, I would not try to stem the flow, but to get the wickets. Surround the batsmen with all fielding positions and ask Mortaza to bowl bouncers and slower ones and get more variety in the morning. And in the later part, with left arm spinners bowling, I would still surround the batsmen and try for wickets.

I don't want to see too much in the batting of Indian batsmen - because it is still a match played on the sub-continent batting paradise pitch and even I can bat out there. (OK, I can't - but you get the point, right?)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Cook Cooks!

Yes, this man, Alastair Cook, all of 22 years old, a delightful left handed opener, not only cooked but also served a delicious dish today at the Lord's!

His 5th Century in 14 tests at an average of 43 odd.

Tremendous potential, led the under 19 team, had a great debut against India in India (who doesn't?), learnt a lot in the Ashes down under last year, and a promising prospect for the Poms.

This is as fresh as it gets in the good-ol Brit cricket empire !

Well done, mate!

My India-Test-Team

Here is my playing 11 for India's first test against Bangladesh:

1. Wasim Jaffer
2. Dinesh Kartik
3. Rahul Dravid
4. Sachin Tendulkar
5. VVS Laxman
6. Yuvraj Singh
7. MS Dhoni
8. Anil Kumble
9. Ramesh Powar
10. Zaheer Khan
11. Munaf Patel

I am going in with 4 bowlers and want Dravid to be more aggressive as a captain to support his 4 bowlers.

I have not given Dada a place in my playing 11 just yet as the only place he can take up is either Sachin or Dhoni (since we already have Kartik as a keeper and an opener) . But Sachin can bowl his spinners and Dhoni deserves to be in the team in absence of Sehwag.
Don't ask me about Laxman - I think Laxman is a solid test player to have in the team.
The rest pick themselves up.
This is my 11! Let's see what 11 the 'think-tank' picks!

Pot Calling The Kettle Black!

The enquiry commission set up by PCB for the WC debacle, has slammed the good-old-Inzy for WC debacle and called him as a dictator in his days!

""Inzamam's attitude was haughty and that of a dictator and more than one incident proved that," Ijaz Butt, head of the committee, told AFP. "Inzamam should have been removed from the captaincy. As a player he was world-class but his attitude was haughty during and before the tournament."

So what is it that you are saying, PCB? Are you saying that "Dictators are not good people or good leaders?"

I wonder what a certain Mr. Musharraf has to say on this, and, doesn't he also head the PCB? just overstepped there, didn't ya?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Indian Openers

India has tried so many different opening pairs , that it is really puzzling to understand what is India's strategy.

Here are the opening pairs tried by India in last season:

1) Sehwag - Gambhir
2) Sehwag - Uthappa
3) Sehwag - Ganguly
4) Sehwag - Tendulkar
5) Sehwag - Jaffer
6) Jaffer - Kartik
7) Tendulkar-Jaffer
8) Uthappa - Ganguly
9) Uthappa- Gambhir
10) Gambhir - Ganguly
11) Dravid - Tendulkar !!! (Aug 2006)

So if you are an opener, you are a lucky dork! You know that you are never out of reconing for a game or two if you are in the 15!

Funny game, funnier administration, funniest politics!

Sorry, but it ain't funny nomore ! Get a grip, BCCI.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Zimbabwe and Cricket

Robert Mugabe rules Zimbabawe. He is a dictator. Not many people like him and his brutal ways. A lot of countries from all over the world have renounced their relationships with Zimbabwe because of it's dictator.

Unfortunately, he also controls Zimbabwe Cricket!

Some countries in the past have linked politics with sports and cancelled playing matches with Zimbabwe or tours to and from Zimbabwe. This time, Australian Govt has decided to step in to cancel the Zimbabwe tour.

My Take:
Cricket is a sport. Play it. If you feel unsafe to play within Zimbabwe, invite their players home, or play at a venue where it will make business sense to host matches. But don't mix politics with sports and kill the sport in a war-ravaged country where it has a scope to spread some joy. Please.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Afro-Asia Cup

In my opinion, Afro-Asia Cup to be held in June in B'lore where the Asia-11 plays Africa-11 for 3 ODIs is not-such-a-good-idea.

Firstly, there is no bonhomie / team-spirit among the players and no patriotic fervor for them to win it - for them, it is simply all money.
Secondly, there is a risk of injury to the players before important tournaments.
Thirdly, 10 out of 11 players in Africa-11 will be South African players - SO why not call it South Africa vs Asia?

If you want to hold such matches for pure entertainment, at least hold an Australia vs RoW or something like that.

Having said that, there will be Women's 20-20 matches just before the time when boys take the field. This, in my books, is a great idea to promote the women's game!

WC 2011

Got this in a mail forward -
ICC has decided to shorten the duration of the World Cup 2011.

It will consist of:
1) Opening Ceremony
2) Presenting the world cup to Australia .......
3) Closing Ceremony

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Curious Case of Mahendra Singh Dhoni

There he goes again!

Another good and measured innings from him today saved India the repeat blushes against B'desh.

This man makes me go mad in my head trying to figure him out.

He is a performer everywhere , but failed in both the World Cup matches. He is one player from whom I had great hopes for the WC - "This World Cup is Dhoni's - mark my words" I would say to my friends and on my blog. And all the man got was a paltry 29 runs against the lowly Bermuda and two ducks in key matches!

What is it with the man?

He is the only Indian player full of confidence and has played wonderful cricket before and after the world cup, both in and out of India, but what happened to him at the world cup really perplexes me!
(Image Source: Cricinfo)
PS: The man missed his century today, but I hit mine with this post! :-)

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

As you sow....

So you reap! A certain Sharad Pawar would be smiling today!

Monday, May 7, 2007

Cricket after WC

Pakistan vs SL:
PCB has done it again!
Mohd Asif, of all available players, is the Vice Captain for the tour to Sri Lanka! Yes, yes the same Asif who was under the drugs cloud a couple of months ago and could not make it to the WC because of the same, is now the second leader of the pack!
Why can't they make up their mind on what is right and what is not?

WI vs England:
Samuels is dropped from the squad and I wonder why! Easily one of the few 'correct' players in the WI, is probably being punished for WC effort (or lack of it). Ganga is announced as VC to support Sarawan. I wonder how the team will now fare minus the great Lara!

India vs Bangladesh:
The teams look even - The delightful Ashraful is now the VC of Bangladesh and the first ODI will be played on 10th May. What is to be seen is that who plays in the 11 for India. Will the new guys get a place?

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Adam Gilchrist And Squash Ball

After an amazing innings in the WC finals, everybody is talking about Gilly's squash ball!

While the critics call it illegal and unfair, the fans of Gilly dismiss the theory of using a squash ball in his glove as one of his attempts to improve his own game and see nothing wrong in it.

My take on this is as follows:

1) This technique made his a less bottom hand player and altered his game which was known to his opponents. Whether it increased the power of his top hand and hence his performance, is as grey as it can get. No one else in my knowledge has used the same technique and there has been no evidence to prove either-ways.
2) Usage of a squash ball is not allowed in ICC rules as permissible. Whether it makes sense or not, a law is a law.
3) An analogy can be drawn in usage of squash ball by Gilly and usage of microphone by Cronje and Woolmer.
4) However, if the law is so clear, umpires did not object to it in any of the games.
5) Umpire is the king on the ground. (Umpires do mistakes which decide fates of players and countries. That, of course, is another topic as I have talked before)

In view of the above legal / technical arguments and counter arguments, as a cricket lover, I would always like both the teams being given same number and amount of resources to fight against each other and then the yardstick is much clearer.

Innovations in any field in life should be encouraged and cricket is no exception.
However, such innovations should be declared (they cannot hide under the word 'strategy' just like a captain cannot move a fielder while his bowler runs in to bowl) and approved before being used.

In fact, I support use of microphones - but they should be given to both the sides. A law should support justice as it is paramount, even in the art like game of cricket.

The nicest man in baddest team in the world, has done something which I do not approve of.