Archive for July, 2009|Monthly archive page

Ricky is Surprised by the heckling at Lord’s

There are more surprises for Ricky in the store. Just the way he discovered the ‘spirit of the game’ during first test, this week he discovered he is ‘the bad guy’ with the fans.

LONDON: Australia captain Ricky Ponting admitted on Saturday that he had been surprised by the aggressive nature of the crowd at Lord’s during the second Ashes Test against England.

“I’m not sure why I was so much the bad guy with the fans,” Ponting wrote in the Daily Telegraph.

He goes on further to say this:

“But I guess any Australian captain is going to cop it over here. Some people have said it’s because I’m the last one out of that group of players who had a lot of success in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Perhaps it’s just payback time.”

Not Any Australian Captain, Rick, It is just you. Steve Waugh for one, was the toughest nut to crack, played your favorite  ‘hard but fair’  kind of cricket and was still generally liked all over. You are the only Aussie captain to have lost the ashes in the aforementioned period.

And, it is not just ‘there’ in England.  People across the world can see you arguing with the umpires, bending the rules when it suits you, sledging the opponents endlessly over the years.

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What goes around comes around!

If you are following the Ashes 2009 at this time, you must know what i am talking about! It is the Aussies at the receiving end of Poor umpiring decisions. England have snatched aussies’ much practiced art of claiming bumped catches. Ricky had to strike off his endorsed campaign of taking fielder’s word as far as catches are concerned. It has probably to do with absence of Steve Bucknor. Now, to complete the merry-go-round, Prior needs to take a bail off with the gloves and claim a dismissal of Haddin.

Adding some more hype to the most overhyped test series

It is all over the media. End of the first test of the Ashes series, two significant discoveries have been made. Ricky Ponting has discovered (finally) what the ‘spirit of cricket’ is and with that, he also made a sensational discovery that England did not play with the ‘spirit of cricket’. England on the other hand, has discovered that the most significant player in the team is the 12th man.  Some more observations on the first test of the most overhyped test series:

One of the two most overhyped English players, Andrew Flintoff took a wicket!  He certainly did not want to disappoint the English cricket writers like Simon Barnes  so he got a wicket! The mammoth effort he had to put in to get that wicket has earned him an injury and may not play the next test.

Kevin Pieterson, The other one of the two most overhyped English players, kept finding more silly ways to get out.

The sissy of English cricket team, Stuart Broad, tried to get out of that image by trying to shoulder Peter Siddle, but the whining sissy he is, he took care that he did not bump into siddle full on, if he did, he might have ended with a broken shoulder. True to the sissy spirit, when he was declared LBW – plumb as it looked, stared at Umpire like he wanted to rewrite LBW laws all over again. I do not understand, why does this guy get away with all this? Oh wait, I forgot the Broad in his name.

Jimmy Anderson, overhyped for his ‘abilities’ to swing the ball, managed to swing it for whooping 30 minutes in 5 days. But at least he made up with his batting.

4 Aussie batsmen including Brad Haddin made a century, which speaks a volume about the quality of the pitch at Cardiff.

Nathan Hauritz for all the criticism he got for his spinning abilities or the lack of it, put up a pretty decent display and got some wickets to his name too.

Paul Collingwood did what he does the best. Stay put at the middle when wickets were stumbling around him. He looked like getting out once or twice every over but hung in there.

Monty Panesar, on the other hand, never looked like getting out at any of the deliveries and deprived us from the wild slogs we expect every time we see him at the wicket.

Ricky Ponting discovered the ‘spirit of cricket’. Yes I know, I said it earlier, but it is such a huge discovery I will keep saying that.

Making a case for Harbhajan Singh.

Recent ouster of India from the T20 World cup has driven the trigger-happy bunch of people and TV journalists in frenzy. The News media went overboard in hurry to find every possible scapegoat in the Indian side and slaughter it. In this madness, even when the popular ones like MS Dhoni got caught in the fire, how can we expect the bad boy of Indian cricket to be spared? A lot of criticism has been directed towards Harbhajan Singh for giving away 10 wides in the crucial match against England .

Now, why did Harbhajan need to bowl those death overs? It was because Indian pacers could not do it. Bhajji has done this constantly and with good results. Apart from those 5 wides in the last over (Which was partly Yuvraj’s fault as well – It should have been just two) he did bowl an excellent spell. His Economy rate along with Pragyan Ojha’s was better than all other Indian bowlers in the tournament. Bhajji bowled excellent tight spells in T20 WC 2007 as well except that one over in finals where a well set Misbah took on him. While some people criticized him for bowling flat and not looking for wickets, it was the role he was given to. When other bowlers could not contain the flow of runs, the task was given to Bhajji. When there is pressure from one end, the other end can be attacked you can not do it when Ishant Sharma is leaking runs from the other end.

A lot of people have questioned his place in the current test side accusing him of bowling flat, not turning the ball enough, not caring enough and his attitude in general.

I disagree to the general notion that he balls flat all the time, on the spinning tracks, I have not seen any other spinner apart from Kumble generating same amount of bounce as Bhajji does. In the last series against Aussies, he bowled with spin and bounce and his Doosra really baffled likes of Michael Hussey. He only bowls flat and straight when he is not getting any assistance from the pitch. A big turn has never been essential in getting wickets – Kumble’s 600+ wickets are perfect examples of that. People who compare him with yester year’s great spinners like Bedi and Prasanna forget that things were not that batsman friendly back then. If we put things into context his achievements are only second to Kumble’s. His batting has improved a great deal in last 2-3 years and I can count at least 3 match saving/winning cameos from him when top order crumbled. He is a gutsy batsman and is not afraid of any bowler at the crease.

In limited overs cricket, he has an excellent economy rate of 4.23 in ODIs and 6.55 in T20s. Even Kumble had the economy rate of 4.30 in ODIs. Compare this with India ’s main pacer Zaheer’s 4.86 and 7.23 respectively. To add to that, he is an excellent fielder in the outfield and has one of the best throwing arms in the squad. Do you remember him dropping one at the ropes? I surely don’t. He is a naturally aggressive guy who does not give up easily.

The problem is that Bhajji’s aggression is mostly driven by emotions rather than logic. This aggression which turns him into a fighting cricketer, has landed him in trouble over the years. This emotionally driven aggression is the reason he will be never trusted with any responsible position within the Indian team. He has been part of some ugly incidents like ‘slapgate’ episode during IPL season 1 and the racial abuse allegations by the Australian team. Now we all know what Sreesanth can do to you. The guy has a knack of rubbing people in the wrong way – mostly at the wrong times. I still remember him sledging Hayden in IPL2 after being hit for 20 odd runs in an over. Bhajji has always been at the loggerheads with the Aussies. Australians learnt years ago that he was not one of the nice quiet Indian boys they were accustomed to in when he pissed off Ricky Ponting after getting him out in his early days. (Don’t remember the year exactly but Ricky got angry and ambushed Bhajji with bat in hand – I believe it was in Sharjah – any pointers will be appreciated).

Bhajji has played a significant role in the Indian team’s steady rise in the decade, both in LOIs and Tests and he will continue to do so as long as he plays. He will, in my mind remain the perfect example of the revamp Indian cricket and cricketers went through starting from late 90s and continuing in this decade – Gutsy, and motivated with a belief that they can win no matter what.

Damien Martyn confirms it!

Just after Jeff Thomson confirmed the profound truth that Ponting sucks at captaincy, Damien Martyn has come out with what has been apparent to almost everybody – John Buchanan is no good at what he does or did. He did not prepare Aussies enough for ashes 2005. He also went on to mention that whatever Warne and MacGill have been saying for Buchanan is right and suggests that everyone in Aussie team believes it but are just keeping mum.

It might be the right time for Damien to come out and say it now that Buchanan has joined hands with English team to give them tips for ashes. I wonder what kind of tips he will be giving to the English. Like the ones he gave to Aussies in 2005?

I hope the KKR Management learns a lesson from this and just kicks the guy out. He shouldn’t complain. After all, he has been paid handsomely to do nothing for them for  two years.