Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ashes to Ashes

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,
If my first post didn’t impress you, this must.

Well, my first blog post was a review of the 2009 Ashes, so thought would write one previewing the next one. You know - the circle of life, and all that. So Ashes is here again, and this time, after ages, it is a contest between two evenly matched sides (I’m not talking about the rankings – No 4 and No 5 – alone).

If you look at the team line ups and compare them man to man, there is nothing separating the two teams. Only Greame Swann enjoys an edge in the spin department when compared to his counterpart Xavier Doherty, the surprise inclusion in the Aussie squad. On current team form, England look better, but Australia’s home advantage neutralizes this. The bookies are sure going to have a tough time going to predict the favourites (for a moment let’s forget that they might have other means to help them decide on their favourites). Who are you putting your money on?

Ricky Ponting has been at the receiving end of criticism from all quarters. Even his old buddy Warnie did not spare him. He surely isn’t the best of captains to have done duty, but then, a captain is as good as his team is – and his team lacks good players. It becomes evident when you see them struggling to replace someone like a Marcus North. The following line from Andy Zaltzman’s blog perfectly sums up Ponting’s state.
I have heard rumours that every night Ponting goes back to his hotel room, makes little papier-mâché dolls of Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne, and says to them: “Right, Glenn, you bowl from the bathroom end, and Shane, you take the bed end. I’m going for a snooze, and when I wake up I expect you to have bowled the opposition out. Night night.”

But you have to give it to Ponting for allowing Laxman a runner in the Bangalore test. He was well within his rights to deny him one. Andrew Strauss had denied Greame Smith a runner not too long ago.

Ricky Ponting said in an interview before the India series that teams produce their best cricket against the Australians. This can’t be very far from the truth. It can’t be merely a co-incidence that most come-from-behind victories in the history of the game are against the Australians (be it winning after following-on or last wicket wins). There sure is something about the Aussies which spurs an opposition on.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul had once said (during the era of Australian dominance) that Australians had all the marginal decisions going their way, which was greatly instrumental in their success. Remember all the drama surrounding the Sydney test? Has the situation reversed now? We know the Bangalore match could have tilted either way if any of the close umpiring decisions been any different. And remember, it is not the Aussies who oppose the umpire decision review system.

Australia find themselves at No 5 in the rankings and the cricketing world is loving it. Nothing better than watching Australia lose, right? But I will be supporting them in this Ashes. India play Australia in 4 away tests end of next year. I hope to see India beat an Australian side which is No 2 in the world. It will be some series if that happens. Plus, I have a gut feeling it could be Sachin’s last test appearance (on second thoughts, nah.. Sachin won’t probably retire so soon).

Well turned out to be another blog in defense of the Aussies. Enough said about Australia, let us look at the English perspective now. On second thoughts, let’s drop the idea - even the English media does not write about their team, why should I bother.

May the best team win.

After all this seriousness, thought would end with a joke: PCB

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sorry, but I missed the point

First some ads:
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Then the news:
Herschelle Gibbs recently came out with his autobiography ‘To the point’ and like most people do, he had to write something controversial about an Indian cricket star in a bid to publicize his book in India. (Remember Gilly’s comment about Sachin in his book and the subsequent cry of being misinterpreted?). Gibbs wrote that Dravid had panicked in the IPL 2009 finals, which was responsible for RCB’s loss. Perhaps he is justified because we all know how calm Gibbs can remain during pressure situations. He sure was an embodiment of composure when he dropped the all-important catch of Steve Waugh in the 99 World Cup (see video here) which eventually led to South Africa's ouster from the World Cup, (and also gave birth to the most abused clichés in cricketing circles – dropping the World Cup). And did he forget that it is he who plays for a team known for being chokers. Dude, when you take a stab at someone after whom even Mark Zuckerberg named the main page of his website – The Wall, do make sure the recoil of the sword does not hurt you.

And now a mandatory ‘phatta’:
Gibbs also wrote in his book that South African team had indulged in sex orgies in the past. On hearing this, out of inertia, the Pakistan team and board denied it. It was only later when someone told them that the accusation was not directed at them, did they deny the denial.

Kuch meetha ho jaye:
Diwali is here. Wish I were at home. Really missing everyone and everything there. Anyways, hope you guys have loads of fun. Do eat lots of sweets and stay healthy. Hope you all have a safe and crackling Diwali. By the way, Sehwag did make sure today’s day was crackling and Dravid ensured it was safe. What synergy! What players! Just hoping that we get a good Diwali gift tomorrow in the form of a 50th Sachin ton.

The Post Script:
I’m just quoting Gibbs - “I think that they should cut down on the amount of 20-over cricket played worldwide so that the interest levels are even higher when the IPL comes around”. Oh Lord, what has the world come to!!!

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