Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Dropping Dravid!

Well, as speculated by some of my friends, Dravid has been rested...i mean dropped...er...um...no rested for fitness...um....whatever, you get the point, right?

As expected, this has led to a national outcry, ridiculous suggestions, and an expected 'mum' from the man himself.

I do not support the 'Dravid Dropping' decision.
I do not understand it.

C'mon, give him a break! He has not been in form for about 10 matches and you feel he is a droppable candidate? Just think about it - some months back, he was :
1) Captain of India in ODIs
2) Wicket Keeper for the team
3) Mainstay in batting (Yes, he had learnt to bat well in ODIs - it was a good adaptation - required for survival)

And suddenly you have a team which struggles to justify presence of 2 regular wicket keepers and he is no more the captain, he struggles for runs for a few matches and , yes, we are dropping him?

I do not believe that a player should be in the team purely based on past laurels and achievements as I have mentioned above. But my reasons for not dropping Dravid are as follows:

1) Series against Pakistan at home - Home is the best place to regain form
2) We need someone strong like Dravid to bat and bat well on pitches in Australia - He can do so only if he is in form - we need to get him back in the form and we need it NOW
3) Dropping someone who has just run out of form and then replacing him with a 100 times more out of form player is for god's sake, crazy !!! (Yes, I do not support the replacement by Sehwag)
4) We have to learn to trust our strong players and give them enough chances to bounce back.
5) I think the chap needs to get his rhythm back and if he had failed in series against Pakistan, yes, then I would have dropped him because your bad patch has to end quick at home and if it is not, then "Houston, we have a problem".

Now, unless there is a strong hidden agenda behind this 2-match-rest(!), I do not see any logic in this move by BCCI.

I sincerely hope that the already fragile Indian House will not come crashing down without The Wall.


Misbah Ul Haq!!! What art thou?

Despite the promising star that he truly is (remember the match against Australia in T20 WC?) , these are tough times on poor Misbah.

He seems to be getting adept at championing the losing cause.

While people remember only the Twnety20 finals where he threw it away, not long ago and in the same Twenty20 WC, Misbah also had the ignominy of not been able to score a run in last 2 balls to win and Pakistan had to go into a bowl out and finally lose, yet again to India!

If that was not enough, in the last ODI against SA, when Pakistan were cruising towards victory with only 32 required in 10 overs and 5 wickets in hand, Misbah had the misfortune of opening the gates after getting out to give SA the match and the series!!!!

The lad sure has the knack of being 'almost there'! I think he should consider himself renaming to Miss-Bah!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Miles To Go...

India managed to win the match in Mumbai through a rare rearguard action and a superb spell by Murali Kartik in his comeback match.

However, the way Indian batsmen batted was demoralizing to say the least - I am glad I was not in Mumbai to watch the game live in the stadium. Luckily, Murali came good in both batting and bowling and drove India home.

It was a close match just as the other victory that Indians managed in this tour. This is where they say that the statistics don't tell the entire story. A 4-2 doesn't look very bad but really both Indian victories came through narrow margins and were matches they could have easily lost and fairly so. However each one of Australian victories was a convincing one. It could very well have been 7-0 and still fair. It could also very well have been 4-3 but then it would have been really unfair.

The Aussies really rule the game in this era. Indians manage one big achievement in a decade to follow it up with consistent mediocre performances for the rest of the decade with little gems here and there to keep the interest (and money) going.

There is one T20 match - the solitary one on this tour - and knowing the Aussies, they will give everything in their power to win this one - to show to the rest of the world that they are still the best in any form of the game. Indians, on the other hand, will have to play out of their skins (rhino skins) to once again salvage their T20 WC victory.

But really, whom are we fooling here?

Ganguly seems to be on the wane, Dravid is woefully out of form, Tendulkar is still riding strong but not at his best, Dhoni is weighed down completely by his captaincy and has forgotten how to bat aggressively and bat strong-n-long, Bhajji is still in the team, we have no wonderful spinner to replace Kumble, and the fast bowlers are as in-consistent as the successful batsmen like Yuvraj and Uthappa!

One just hopes that Dhoni is singing Frost:

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Goodbye, Inzy!

Inzy achieved what not many Pakistanis have achieved in their lifetimes - Love, from Indian cricket fans!

Others like Zahir Abbas, Imran, Javed, Salim Malik, Shoaib have had their share of Indian fans - but have no doubts - if there ever was one Lovable Pakistani Player - it had to be Inzy! Good Ol' Inzy! The Lovable Giant! The Silent Assassin!

Osman Samiuddin of Cricinfo writes about his favourite Inzy moment here.

I, for one, loved the way he batted so easily - the laid back attitude, the subtle humour, the down to earth attitude, the rare moment(s) of emotional display, the big shots, the elegant cuts, drives and flicks, the way he made batting look so simple, his commitment to the game, and his hilarious legacy of run outs!!!

Take a bow, Inzamam-Ul-Haq!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Australia Lead India 3-1

There they go again!!! Indians were streamrolled, crushed, shredded to pieces, burnt down and then thumped away from the ground today.

I think that outside the stadium in Vadodara, a passer-by would have asked another passer-by "Itna sannata kyu hai bhai?"

This match showed yet again that Aussies are made up of stuff that is not available anywhere else. If I was Gabbar, I would ask Ponting "Ye Australia wale apne betonko kaunse chakki ka aate khilate hai?"

Now, that is a victory - and although it is bad for those watching it, because it was a no show just like World Cup finals 4 years back - it was a thumping victory - the one which does दूध का दूध, पानी का पानी !

Awesome show by the Aussies - looks like they don't like losing one bit! They had to get back after the narrow loss at Chandigarh. Lee and Johnson were superb and so were Aussie fielders. And for once, Hayden gave Gilly the chance to get back in form.

Let us look at what is hapenning with the Indian side:
It was good to see Sachin bat so sublimely yesterday! I hope that he continues this form for rest of the series. But Mr. Rahul Dravid, what is wrong with you? 5 matches and only 44 runs??? What is it? So far, Dhoni has been cool in face of losing matches - one hopes that he gets back into his batting groove soon.

This match went on to show how crucial it is to get a good start. Really bad start and Indian team almost never manages to recover from them. This one was the same case.

Indians really need to pull themselves us and got to turn the series around with some good thumping victories against Aussies - Yes, yes, I know it is much easier to say than to put it in practice even once - but what the heck, let us at least say it!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Cricketing Action

In a lovely season worldwide, everyone seems to be playing cricket.

The tourists - Australia in India, England in SL and SA in Pakistan - have been highly successful so far and it is indeed engrossing cricket. Test matches in Pakistan and ODIs in India and SL have always been a treat to watch. Especially when all the good teams in the world are playing competitive cricket.

Kallis has rocked Pakistan hard while Swann has impressed me for England. Hayden has been prolific as is his wont against the hapless Indians.

On the domestic front, Munaf Patel who struggled in the first innings against Mumbai is on a roll in the second innings of the Irani Trophy match, having taken 3 wickets for just 19 runs leaving Mumbai in a precarious position of 98/6!

Cricket rocks!!!

Friday, October 5, 2007

That man, Haydos!

What is up with Matthew Hayden???

He never seems to stop batting well!!! At least once, one hopes against hope, that he will get out cheaply and quicky - but he seems to reserve his best against India-the land where he re-discovered his career.

There goes a story that before his maiden first-class innings, Hayden asked if anyone had made 200 on debut, then went out and hit 149. He has plundered and plundered runs all around the world and doesn't seem to be in any mood to give up just yet! Except for one season of slump in his form, "Haydos" has been prolific on the ground. In the last world cup, he was the highest run getter with an average of 73.22 and scoring 659 runs! And then it seems he did all that with a fractured toe and a broken bone in his other foot!!!!

This man is almost 36 years old, his average in test cricket is 53, that in ODIs is 44.28 and he averages 58.20 in T20 !!!! And we thought T20 is all about the youth!!!

Easily one of the most dangerous players in the world, he has swiftly overtaken the likes of Tendulkar, Jayasuriya, Kallis and others in that class to emerge as "The Boss"!!!

Matthew Hayden, take a bow!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

MS Dhoni

With T20 WC victory, MS Dhoni tasted success almost as much if not more than what Kapil Dev did back in 1983.

Everyone started comparing MSD to KD and gushed how India has found a cool captain and how he managed resources smartly to ensure the victory.

I have no doubts that Dhoni has a cool head on his strong shoulders but I think it is too premature for us to start celebrating 'The Captain' just yet for the following reasons:
1) Dhoni was plain lucky as a captain to have a team that wanted to prove something and in the format of the game where strategies can be thrown to winds and ball out of the grounds, the team delivered under pressure - every individual played his part, including Dhoni. And he will be the first to admit that he was lucky.
2) Dhoni did not show any smart moves to ensure this victory - in fact I do not support his decision of giving the final overs in 2 most important matches to inexperienced and dull bowler - Joginder Sharma. In fact he looked more like a captain who did not try too many experiments and went with the tried and tested methods.
3) Nothing succeeds like success and Dhoni knows it now better than anyone else

While it was a fantabulistic effort by the Indian team including MSD, let us keep our feet firmly on ground and hope that MSD does the same too.