Archive for the ‘Cricket’ Tag

Yet Another Postmortem!

As the postmortem continues for India’s early ouster from t20 World cup, I could not resist but add the 10000th reason why India did not perform like a champion side they were supposed to be.

India needed a reality check! That’s it. That’s how Pakistan did it. They got their fair share (and more) of reality checks earlier. They lost to India in the warm up games; they lost to the side that lost to Netherlands. That’s how Younis discovered that T20 is not just a fun game, nor is it anything like WWE. Once they saw the light, they were right on the cue.

India, on the other hand, had no reality check. The opening slot replacement for Sehwag was filled in by the illusive swashbuckling knocks of Rohit Sharma. They won the initial round of matches against, hold your breath, Ireland and Bangladesh. They did not look anywhere closer to convincing. No batsman absolutely murdered the minnows bowling nor did any bowler looked threatening. Nobody bowled the toe-crushing Yorkers or ear-ringing bouncers. They did not need to play that kind of cricket. They just had to wait for oppositions to make mistakes. And they made plenty of them. India’s reality check came too late against WI, when they discovered that Pragyan Ojha is not the solution to all their bowling problems. That he can have a rough day in the field. Had they met a tough opposition in the initial rounds, they might have known what was in the store for them (Yes including a lot of bouncers) and may have been slightly prepared for it.

The upcoming ODI series against WI will be significant in more ways than one. It will reflect whether India have learned anything from this defeat. If they are willing to accept their mistakes instead of shrugging it off as just a rough patch as they have in the past.

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The defending champions are on their way out!

I accept it. The team that can not defend 150 or chase 150 against oppositions like West Indies and England should not really be in the race.

There will be plenty of analysis of what was done wrong and what could have been done in the days to come.

However,  the image of MSD taking singles and getting Yusuf back on strike when 60 runs were required from 30 balls will be in my memory for a long time. Such a sensible batting this.

And the downward slide continues for the Aussies…

And the downwards slide continues for the Aussies. Probably they were taught in cricket academies in the past decade that the sun of Australian Cricket team never sets. But now, they find themselves in the deep darkness and no way out. The world ODI champions knocked out in the first round of t20 WC.

Usually a team in this situation may have questions like – Why are we not finding a quality spinner? Or why are we still playing the type of cricket that won us one day matches 10 years back? What is Ricky Ponting doing in a t20 game? What is Michael Clarke’s role in the team? What are our selectors’ really doing? However, the previous years experience suggests that what instead they might actually be working on is the new “mental disintegration” technique for the opposing teams because obviously, the existing ones have failed them miserably off late.

Such is the mental disintegration really! Chris Gayle slammed them all across the park and then the spinner from Srilanka baffled them to no end with his bag full of spin tricks. Sigh…. Where are the friendly umpires and the match referees? We have a chucker in here.

Commentating about Commentators

Just like a few of you, I have grown up watching cricket matches in the early 90s on DoorDarshan. There was a 30 minutes news break at the scheduled time regardless of the state of the match. Once the commercialization crept in, I kind of gave up trying to watch first and last ball of an over because just as the bowler delivered the ball and before the batsman went forward with the shot, There was an ad about a detergent power with saree clad models and you were only returned to live broadcast after the shot has been played on the first ball of the next over. (Though, Neo Sports is around to remind me those days).

And then, you had Sushil Doshi and Maninder Singh’s  Hindi commentary to keep you the company.

In the years, I have come to grow fond of some cricket commentators and associate some memorable cricketing moments with those voices. The one that comes to mind immediately is SRT dancing down the track and lofting Steve Waugh straight over the top and Tony Greig’s high decibel voice screaming “Owww What A Shot!” in Sharjah 1997/98 series.

All commentators have their own flair, style or habit. At times, exaggerating or downright annoying. Like when you hear Arun Lal in the box with some other commentator, you would feel like this is the most amiable person around. Anything the fellow commentators say, at times even before the sentence is complete, “Indeed” Lal would say. The “Indeed” word is beaten to death in an hour Lal is in commentary box. Then there is Dean Jones – as soon as batsman hits the ball and takes off for a run – Deano would shoot “Looking for two” even when the batsman is struggling for one.  Ravi Shashtri’s love with superlative adjectives is well known. To generalize, anything hit in the middle and flying to boundary is a “Terrific” shot. Anything flying over the ropes is nothing less then a “Tremendous” shot.  A good catch is not just a good catch but is a “magnificent” one. Nothing is short of Immense, Monstrous, Huge, Sensational, Fabulous!  When you hear Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, you may notice his random emphasizing of random words in a sentence at random times.  Ramiz Raja’s extreme usage of word “away” comes to mind immediately. It is never an “Out swinger” in his book – it is an “Away swinger which beats the batsman because he was playing away from the body” Tony Greig’s high decibel voice and Sir Geoff’s “Tough Wikkit to bat on” spring to mind as well.  

This is not to say however, that I do not love to hear them. Most of these guys are wealth of knowledge on cricket and know what they are doing. But I do think that we need more people like Harsha Bhogale along with these wizards.

PCB is at it again…

If you are looking for some fun factor in world cricket, you gotta keep up with Pakistan Cricket Board’s movements, official press releases and announcements. It is such a clear case of foot in mouth disease that at times it is sad and funny in the equal measures.

Their very recent and very graphic announcement is just another example. Showing the great transparency that it is not often applauded for – PCB declared that Shoiab could not be part of t20 squad as he had genital warts. Talk about confidential information and rights of privacy.

PCB is not making any friends by their stance on WC 2011 either. They have decided to legally challenge the ICC’s decision to exclude Pakistan from hosting the WC matches. Their point – if you cant grant Pakistan their share of matches – move the WC to another country and let it come back to Asian sub-continent in 2015. Great logic this – if I can’t have it, I won’t let you have it either. The sensible option of hosting the 14 matches at a neutral venue does not seem to be catching PCB’s eye.

It is quite funny when they point to security conditions in India and Srilanka to justify their arguments. What the learned people at PCB do not seem to understand is the seriousness of a terror attack where an entire cricket team was targeted and the established fact that they failed to provide the necessary security arrangements to the only team that willingly took the risk. Instead, they are pointing fingers at the security conditions in Srilanka along with India. What a return favor!

And the entertainment never ends, PCB’s handling of Mohammad Yousuf and his taking refuge to ICL, trying to move back to mainstream to get an IPL contract, unable to do so, going back to the ICL fold is a hilarious episode.  Another funny move was to ban Pakistani cricketers from taking part in IPL 2 in India. Note the twisted logic here – we are too cash-strapped but we wont let our players make a good living by taking part in cash rich tournament either. 

It is not surprising that Javed Miandad finds it very disappointing – when Pakistan’s domestic t20 team is not invited to the Champions league. Yes, the same Mr. Miandad who thought IPL was a joke, and India was very unsafe for cricketers. He doesn’t want to miss this joke, obviously 😉

What I would like to see in IPL 2010

 

More of….

  • Full capacity crowds enjoying themselves, trumpets, drums and little barbeques on the ground, the overall carnival atmosphere. Port Elizabeth Rocks.
  • Indian support staff and coaches. We should not forget that 7 out of 11 members in the playing squad are going to be Indians and quite a few of them with very little / no international experience at all. Indian coaches and support staff certainly cant be worse than say for example Buchanan and his army of coaches for bowling, batting, fielding, and probably dressing room etiquettes.
  • More Indian commentators – Do we really need more?, you may ask – Yes, and why, because the Arun lals, Shivas and may be Siddhus can do equally effective amount of jumping up and down in front of cheerleaders stage, shoving the mics up the players noses in the dugout and stating the obvious as Coneys and Morrisons do.
  • More innovative shots from the batsmen.. the thwacks, the hoicks, the heaves and the scoops are not enough…we need more.
  • Dare I say it? More Fake IPL Players! We need the imaginary/not so imaginary inside scoops from more dressing rooms! Lets hope next year there will be more such online blogs giving insights on Dressing rooms of other IPL teams too. After all, if KKR decide to turn the tables and make people talk about their performances on the field than off the field next year, we surely do not want to left without the entertainment.

Less of….

  • Lalit Modi. Yes, the guy invented a great idea, a genius, but do we need to be reminded that every hour during the match? Lalit Modi, checking msgs on his cellphone. Lalit Modi, entertaining some VIP guests in the VIP area. Mr. Modi, smiling and chatting with the guest sitting next to him – Whoa.. exclusive – never seen before stuff!  We already know Mr. Modi is the man and the brain behind the IPL success story; how could we ever forget when the commentators keep remind us that every 30 mins? Imagine a filmmaker thinking of an innovative concept, making a great movie based on it, and then appearing on screen every 5 mins just in case we forget it is he who has created this wonder.
  • Well, this one is very established now, the strategic time outs! Now, I know the TV broadcasters have to squeeze in as many ads as they can, but I can not remember a single time out that does not make me switch the channel even at the risk of missing an over after the time out. As it goes, it does not seem to have done any good to any one but may be the broadcasters. The players lose the momentum, the viewers go channel hopping. 
  • All the buffoonery of commentators reporting live from the field and player dug outs, shoving the mics up the players noses and asking stupid questions, stating the obvious the 100th time. Can we have some sanity back in the commentating please? Beware Harsha, they will get you too!