Monday, March 28, 2011

Speculations on Yuvinspiration !

Has Yuvraj Singh’s father spilled the beans ? Or is he as clueless as we are ? It is common knowledge in Indian Cricket that everyone wants to say, “Thank You Sachin” ! So I don’t really think we have to buy this. But we are too impatient to wait for the thing to come from the horse’s mouth.
Hence we thought it was time for Doctoring the Balls. Some investigations into this You-We-Inspiration needed. So went Dr. Ball Subramaniam [Dr. Balls for short] to do some research on Yuvinspiration. He met some possible candidates. And here is his report.
What Yograj Singh didn’t mention when Dr. Balls met him, “Well, I have bloody tortured, terrorized and trained the lad. There can be only one inspiration and that is ME, Yograj Singh, the ‘Baap’ of Yuvraj Singh. I am a very modest man you see and that is why I prefer to say “Thank You Sachin” !
So here we go…
Roy of Inspiration ?
Dr. Balls: Mr. Roy, are you the man who has inspired Yuvi to fire ? After all that happened in IPL-3, he was sulking, lost form and was at the lowest of his morale. It was you who stood by him. You were the only “Sahara” in whole of India for him. We think it has to be YOU !
Subrata Roy: Well of course, everyone has inspired Yuvi. He is a great guy. It should not be considered as a jab if I say he was let down by Punjab. Yuvi is a precious gem and we needed him and we got him. If he thinks I am his inspiration, I am honored. But for me, Yuvi is the inspiration. India will win the World Cup this time and our team will win the IPL-4 under Yuvi’s dynamic leadership.
Inventor of The Pallu Scoop !
Dr. Balls: Ma’am, you have been his strength and have brought him up through ‘Thin and Thick”. We have reasons to believe YOU are the person Yuvi has drawn inspiration. In this ‘Reincarnation of Yuvraj Singh’, you are the Mother India !
Shabnam Singh: Yuvi is a great boy. He has drawn inspiration from many people including Sachin and Saurav. I have only told him not to take inspiration from his father. I have been a devoted mother. I have taught him only one shot, ‘The Pallu Scoop’. It isn’t true that Dilshan invented it. I did. Yuvi thinks that is a ‘Girls’ shot and being the ‘Man’ he is he doesn’t like to play that. Otherwise my boy is a fantastic son. He has become ‘So Big‘ today solely because of his own efforts, hard work and talent. I am blessed to be his mother. If he thinks I am his inspiration, he is being nice to his mother and all mothers. I wish they win the World Cup this time.
Dada of his boys !
Dr. Balls: Dada, you had written a letter to Yuvi when you were Captain and he was out of form and out of team. There are reasons to believe you could have done it again. Are you the man who has ‘lifted’ Yuvi ?
Saurav: See, nobody lifts Yuvi, especially these days. He is his own man. I might have written a letter to him long ago. But I also wrote letters to Agarkar, Kartik and many others. They didn’t respond. I don’t want to spoil the party by telling you if I have written to Yuvi or not. Let them go all the way. I have never stolen the limelight from my team-mates. And I am proud of my boys, Viru, Yuvi, Zaks, Bhajji and all of them. But I would prefer him to disclose the name after winning the finals. We went a long way in 2003. I want this team to go one step further. All the best to Yuvi, Mahi and all of them.
Anchal me kya hai ?
Dr. Balls: Ms. Kumar, are you the inspiration of Yuvi the match winner ? Are you the one who has made him so determined ? Is it “Love ke liye kuch bhi karega” ?
Anchal Kumar: See, first thing first ! We are just good friends. In fact Family Friends ! So there is no question of my having an affair with Yuvi. And he is younger to me too. I have seen him grow up. I am happy he is doing well now. I don’t think I am his inspiration, but if my friendship has inspired him I’d be proud. I wish the team all the best. They should win the World Cup this time.
The Smile that Launched a Million Runs !
Dr. Balls: Sachin, an entire nation has taken inspiration from you. Now everyone is eager to know who is the mysterious inspiration in Yuvi’s life. Yuvi’s father believes it is YOU. What do you think ?
Sachin: Well, he called me ‘Grandpa’ and inspired me to score a Double century in one day Cricket. I haven’t called him any names in public even though I threatened. That was all in good spirit. I really don’t know if I have inspired him or anyone. But it is nice to be of inspiration to someone. To know who is his inspiration, you should ask Yuvraj and not me. But I think you should wait till he decides to tell. Now let him concentrate on the game. I just hope he keeps performing and everyone performs well and we manage to win the World Cup.
Govind Raj Shenoy for DieHard Cricket Fans

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Snapshot – Last Week Of The Biggest Cricket Event

The Cup That Counts
We have now reached the very last part or the real business of CWC 2K11 with only 3 matches & 4 teams remaining in contention. We have seen some great contests throughout the tournament & a few upsets. Though these did not cause a huge heart break with the 8 most expected teams reaching the quarter final stage. The so called minnows existed after putting up some show but none of them could reach the knock-out stage & perished in the league round.
Expect the Unexpected: With Australia & South-Africa out, one can never be sure about who will win the title; these 2 powerful contender’s exit is a warning for predictors. The playing conditions of the sub-continent is a major reason for this & we have 3 Asian teams in the semis along with the unexpected Kiwi team.
The Match-up: Semis match-up is New-Zealand v/s Sri-Lanka @ Colombo on March 29; & kiwis will have to play really good cricket to stop Lankans from reaching to their second consecutive world cup finale.
Second semi final can really be called the “GAME OF THE TOURNAMENT” where arch rivals India & Pakistan meet @ Mohali on March 30; the game will be high on cricket & political quotient and will be heart breaking for one of the two sides, can uproot the best of the sports predictors and heart-patients are advised to stay away. It definitely will be thrasher of a game.
Finale: The winners of the aforesaid game will match up @ Mumbai’s renovated Wankhade stadium on April 2. All four contenders have their eyes set on this date & venue but only two will reach there. So next week is definitely cricket lover’s delight.
Bookies Call: Bookies are backing the “men in blue” i.e team India the most serious contender of the title with quotes as follows: India- 1.90; Sri-Lanka- 4.70; Pakistan- 5.20 & New-Zealand- 7.50… I have already explained the concept of this pricing in my previous article.
So, the fans call is to follow great cricket coming up; back their sides if they are in contention or choose a loyalty out of the remaining teams and enjoy the best entertainment.
Jitin Mehrotra For DieHard Cricket Fans

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Good Bye to a Bloody Mean Champion Cricketer !

A lot of people are rejoicing the fall of a Champion.
Let Australia sulk. Stronger or weaker, they will come back.
But there was one man who went out tonight perhaps for the last time in a World Cup.
I never liked Ponting. His earliest claim to fame was on a juniors tour of India when he flayed all the junior Indian bowlers. Many of them never played senior Cricket. Then he made more news for pub brawls than for his on field exploits. Ever since he made his debut, I had a special dislike for him.
I disliked Ponting because…
He had the best team playing with him or under him through most of his career.
He blasted India in the 2003 World Cup Final and that scar can’t heal. Not even after this win.
He had Shane Warne and Glen McGrath giving him wickets whenever he wanted.
He was the most prolific scorer in the new millennium and not Sachin.
He almost threatened to overtake Sachin at one time and break most of his records.
He had three World Cups in his kitty and two of them as as Captain.
But most importantly, he had never lost a World Cup match as a Captain.
I hated Ponting because…
He had transgressed the spirit of Cricket more often than anyone could care to remember.
But he somehow escaped with much lighter punishment than others, especially Asians.
He lead from the front all the unholy activity during the infamous Sydney Test in 2008.
Forget walking, he regularly contested Umpiring decisions and mostly escaped Scott free.
And most importantly for never walking but expecting opponents to ‘walk’ !
There can be a million reasons to dislike Ponting and hate Ponting.
But he was a Genius without a doubt. A flawed Genius if there is one.
For one who had not lost a single World Cup match and had overseen annihilation of all the 3 South Asian Teams in 3 successive World Cup Finals, Ponting went out against 3 South Asian Teams. He couldn’t beat any one of them this time.
Sri Lanka were in a very good position before the rains intervened.
Pakistan gave Ponting the first taste of World Cup defeat in a dozen years.
And India knocked him and his team out of the World Cup tonight.
He was under pressure from all corners. For the LCD episode. For the Steve Smith episode. For not walking. For talking. And for being Ricky Ponting ! But what a way to go. He was out of form for longer than even Rahul Dravid. Boy, did he choose a match to strike form ? He couldn’t have done anything more or better. He and his team just ran into a slightly better team on the day.
Ricky Ponting has tormented Indians for so long and so badly, it is a relief to see him walk away into sunset or to hell.
But before that, let us say gracefully…
He was such a bloody mean Champion Cricketer !
And he went out with his head held high !
Good bye Ponting !
Govind Raj Shenoy for DieHard Cricket Fans

Friday, March 25, 2011

Munaf Patel for Captain : Let the Helicopter Fly !

Munaf and Dhoni Celebrating
Cricket is all about skills. Multiple levels of skills. Batting, Bowling, Fielding. It also involves the cerebral, like strategizing, planning and of course execution.
I don’t know what were the plans and strategies Team India had deployed when they played Australia. Most things they did went well and some things the Aussies did, did not. The luck factor too was more often with the Indians except the coin.
Virendar Sehwag’s shoulder and knee and Gautam Gambhir’s suicidal mania apart, Team India gave more or less 100%. All the 10 ‘Players’ in the team did their best. And then there was Munaf Patel. What is he doing in the team ? I have harped on this before, but let us take one more look.
Except Bangladesh defending 370, he’s never threatened to take a wicket any time.
He has gone for over 6 an over after the first match. 5 wickets for 268 in 44 overs.
Most of these wickets have come at the end of an expensive over.
Twice out of two chances to bowl at death, he has been whacked by tail-enders.
He is an Opening bowler who seldom opens the bowling these days.
Bowls no Yorker, no bouncer and can’t reverse the ball even if Dhoni were to bite it.
He is the only ‘fast bowler’ who is consistent. He consistently bowls length balls at death.
After Abey Kuruvilla, Munaf has inherited the mantle of ‘Slowest Fast Bowler’ on earth.
Ashwin and Pathan have bowled more during Power plays than Munaf.
He was taken to the cleaners by Haddin and Ponting while others toiled.
He hasn’t completed his quota of 10 overs in the last 5 matches.
He inspires confidence in Dhoni. Sachin bowled at death and did better.
Fielding has fluctuated between pathetic to comic, never threatening to improve.
His visits to the batting crease have been ‘blink and you miss’ guest appearances.
With all these ‘Qualifications’, how does he manage to continue in the team ?
Here are the possibilities…
India want to fool the opponents by creating some false sense of well being.
He is some kind of a lucky mascot for the highly superstitious Indians.
The Captain doesn’t have confidence in the available alternatives.
The Team believes he can deliver in crunch situations.
But none of these are good enough reasons to keep him in the team. Yusuf Pathan has bowled 35 overs [mostly during power plays] and gone for 167 runs at 4.77 though wickets have eluded him. So it would be a better option to go ahead with Yusuf purely as a bowler. Whatever runs he scores and all the fielding he does are all bonus.
So who should be playing against Pakistan ? Let us take a Man vs Man look at our next opponents.
Pit Munaf against Umar Gul. Oh, forget it. Pit him against rookie Wahab, still not a match. Pit him against the slower Abdul Razack and Munaf comes across as useless. If Pakistan manage to beat India at Mohali, the difference will be Munaf Patel.
So if the ‘Think Tank’ still thinks Munaf should play, please do us a favor…
Dhoni has been burdened by Captaincy. His batting has suffered and the Helicopter isn’t flying. So relieve him of Captaincy. Make Munaf Patel the Captain. He will be true to himself and as usual do nothing. The Team can take care of itself and let the Helicopter fly !
Enough is Munaf !
Govind Raj Shenoy for DieHard Cricket Fans

You Don’t Mess With The Proteas!

After that spectacular first innings,you would have thought the Proteas were on their way to a comfortable victory, but suddenly things started to go wrong and one by one the batting order began to collapse, before you knew it South Africa were already 7 down, needing 70 somewhat runs off just 10 overs. Possible – yes, likely – no.What can you do? As a devoted fan you can’t help but stare blankly at the television wondering what went wrong and why this was happening…but hold on,it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee,don’t be so quick to desert or undermine this team just yet!
As the Proteas go home, out come the critics.’Chokers’,they spew out this word like a mantra every-time something goes wrong. Don’t they know that just a few days ago, this very team topped group B or has their memory ‘choked’ as well. So whenever a team does badly the media will be quick to criticize the team but when a win comes along they are suddenly praising their efforts? As confusing, sad and hypocritical as this is, this is what humanity has come to be! It’s time we banish the losing blues and face our demons, It’s time to man up!! Win or lose South Africa still has one of the best balanced sides this world cup had to offer and yet it’s not enough to some!It may be a disappointment to exit in such an unlikely manner, but that’s cricket, being human we just have to separate the positives from the negatives if we’re ever going to succeed in life. In South Africa’s case there are many positives, like Robbie P finding his groove and the rest of the bowling attack which followed, our batsmen had their ups and downs but all looks good as everyone was able to work together as a unit. It’s not the end for the Proteas,we may not have gotten that shiny piece of metal to hoard for the next four years but as a team and as a country we came out with experiences and lessons to last a lifetime. This is not the end,but the beginning,the beginning of a new era of South African cricket. We don’t have to be no.1 to be the best,a mere position will never be able to define true talent and determination. A die-hard fan stands by their team,no matter what the outcome!
Whether it be O.D.I, test or T20, I will always remain behind my boys just like any other fan would for their team. So through destruction,I keep my head held high and my dignity intact because the phoenix must rise again from the ashes to soar across the horizon, welcoming a new day.My blood is green and my heart is gold, I am forever Pure-Protea!
Surekha Bhugeloo for DieHard Cricket Fans

The 6th cut is the deepest

They say time heals all wounds, but sadly after the Proteas’ loss today…the clock was turned back and all the emotions attached to 1992, 1996, 1999, 2003 & 2007 came flooding back.
It truly is a horrible feeling, especially when you know your team (on paper) can conquer everyone. However, cricket isn’t played with stationary; hence it’s out there…in the middle that it counts – not only on the pitch, but also between the ears.
Once again the opportunity was there for the taking, but sadly it was not meant to be. Credit has to go to New Zealand for digging deep and coming out on top. I personally never gave them a chance, especially after the Proteas dominated the group stage (barring the England game). Alas…New Zealand proved that the knockout stage is indeed a different beast and they managed to tame it magnificently.
In all honesty…there’s not much that I can say, as the pain of today’s result is just too much to bear. As such…I’m keeping this post short and “bitter” I‘m afraid. The Proteas had a good ride, but unfortunately…they (once again) lost control of the wheel at a crucial junction.
In the end…it’ll be a welcome relief to watch the rest of the tournament without stress and a lump in my throat *cough* In addition…I can also take comfort in the fact that our two time rugby World Cup Champions…the Springboks, will have a chance to retain their title later this year!
All that’s left now is for another South African (and I’m not referring to some English players here) to win the World Cup – go Gary Kirsten and team India!!!
Sharief ‘Sheriff’ Allie for DieHard Cricket Fans

Thursday, March 24, 2011

WTF – The Pressure is always on India !

Before India – England group match, Strauss said, “The Pressure is on India. They are playing at home”. England tied a match they should have lost first and then won easily. Both teams choked and out-choked each other for a tie.
Smith was quoted, “It is a big match. The Pressure is on Indians. We are coming from a series win against them. They are playing at home and that can act against them”. South Africa came back strongly from a lashing and restricted India. But then choked in the middle and would have lost but for some luck towards end.
Smith said during the series prior played on South African grounds, “The Pressure is on India. They are known to be susceptible on fast and bouncy pitches. We will go all out at them”. India tied the Test series 1-1. Won the T-20 and lost the ODI series 3-2 with a depleted team.
Sammy said, “We will target the chinks in the Indian batting. We will go all out for a win. The Pressure is on Indians”. Chasing 269 for a win, West Indies collapsed from 153 / 2 and lost by 80 runs.
Even minnows love to have a go at India. Shakib al Hassan said, “We won against them the last time. So the Pressure is on the Indians”. Viru and Virat plastered Bangladesh bowlers and India cantered home in spite of an off color bowling.
We have seen almost all Captains playing against India coming up with almost same pre-match / pre-series quotes. So much so, Saurav Ganguly once said, “Yes, the Pressure is always on us. When we play at home, the Pressure is on us because we are playing in front of huge huge crowds with huge expectations. When we play away from home, the Pressure is on us because we are playing on fast tracks and in alien conditions. I would like to know when the Pressure is on others !”
If India lose, everyone can say, “We said so. Didn’t we ?”
When India manage to win at home in spite of all this unbearable Pressure; they say, “Well, they always play well at home and are a formidable team in these conditions”.
And when India manage to win abroad against all odds and in spite of all the Pressure; what do we get to hear… ?
“Well, they did play well. We could have done with a little bit of luck here and there”
“We didn’t play up to our potential”
“Well, it is tough, we let ourselves down”
“A few decisions too went against us”
“We just had one bad session and lost the match”
“We had a bad day in the office. We will come back hard”
“Well, nothing went according to our plans. But we will work out strategies to hit back”
Why is it that ‘The Pressure” is always on India ? WTF ?
And today, Australia believed the ‘Pressure‘ was on India. Because there are a lot of expectations and they are playing at home…
Govind Raj Shenoy for DieHard Cricket Fans

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It’s nothing personal…just business…

The World Cup archives are once again updated with 42 new entries (games). Some will be dusted off in years to come…in appreciation for the drama, excitement & joy they’ve elicited. While others will be tossed aside for all the wrong reasons…kinda like Asoka de Silva :D
Over the past +/- 5 weeks, we’ve been privy to spinners opening the bowling, sensational batting collapses, a broken TV set, Kamran Akmal’s “what not to do on a cricket field” guide, a “stoned” West Indies and of course…England – the blokes who made ODI’s exciting again.
At the same time, quite a few of the 42 games involved the “minnows” and even though they provided us with some juicy upsets, for the most part they just delayed the inevitable. The final 8 was always just going to be that 8…hell I’m sure even Hansie would’ve placed a bet on it ;)
So now that we’re at the “business end” of the tournament, let’s look at the match ups ahead…
Q1 – Pakistan vs. West Indies
Both teams have given us what we’ve expected. Pakistan…unpredictable as ever, while West Indies are progressively undoing all the great work done by Sobers, Richards, Holding, Lara, Walsh etc. Both teams possess match winners (Afridi & Gayle), but in the end…fielding is going to be the deciding factor. However, this is a discipline which seems to be more of an afterthought for both; hence on the day…the best of the worst (in terms of fielding) will be victorious.
Q2 – India vs. Australia
This is going to be a cracker – India with the home advantage and Australia with the experience and guile to go all the way. Out of all the games…this is really a tough one to call. India’s world class batting line-up against Australia‘s bowling firepower. These 2 teams had contrasting group games – India were constantly under the microscope, while Australia performed well below their usual (ruthless) standards. Many say they have yet to peak and no one’s sure (including themselves) whether this is indeed possible. All I know is…only a fool will write off Australia!
Q3 – South Africa vs. New Zealand
If this was a rugby World Cup, then this match up would’ve been every fan’s dream. However, the Black Caps don’t instil the same fear as the All Blacks and as a result, I’m sure the Proteas are chuffed at their quarterfinal opponents. Any team that includes Daniel Vetorri, Ross Taylor and the McCullum brothers is a worthy opponent, but it’s as a collective unit that they always seem to fall short. The slow wickets might suit their style of play, but purely on merit and patriotism aside…I do believe the Proteas have enough strike power in all departments to humble the Kiwis.
Q4 – Sri Lanka vs. England
Like India…the Sri Lankan cricket team and supporters can’t be too happy at their opponents for the knockout stage. On paper Sri Lanka are the heavy favourites, but it’s the unpredictability of England that gives them the psychological edge. Throughout the group stages England surprised even themselves…their results were as diverse as Brad & Angelina’s kids. Even if they confuse themselves and everyone else, one thing you can be sure of is that it’ll be an epic game. Sri Lanks should take it, but then again…Strauss & Co. are running on fumes and with a silver lining to the loooooooong English season in sight, they’re definitely in with a chance (just as long as they don’t drop any).
So that’s my quarterfinal analysis folks…and if you agree or disagree with me, then please feel free to leave a comment. I’m not an expert, nor a professional cricketer…I only call it as I see it and would be very interested to hear your thoughts too!
Sharief ‘Sheriff’ Allie for DieHard Cricket Fans

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pricky Apologies and other World Cup Trivia, Part-3

After a lot of those Trivia, we have finally entered the Knockout stage of the 2011 Cricket World Cup. There was some Cricket, a lot of action, minnows, reverse swing, collapses, drama, choking and then Shoaib Akhtar. So here is a little ruminating on the action so far.
Lost and Found [Theme] Team: A Gayle-less and KRoach-less West Indies ‘Lost’ to India and ‘Found’ an allegedly easier Quarterfinal match with Pakistan.
Moral of the story: Some teams still fear Australia !
A shitting Farewell: Steve Tikolo, arguably the Greatest African batsman outside South Africa was given a typical farewell by his team. They showed him how they have depended on him all these years and how he will be missed. He looked like ‘Budhdha’ and always had a saintly calm about him. His records never did justice to his talent.
Budhdha Smiling !
Astralialogers Day: An eminent Astrologer in India predicted an India – Australia Final. Well, he probably meant “A Final before Final” ! 5 people predicted 5 different things without a single winner. Ass-trology sucks big time.
Clutching at the last Strauss: England did a Houdini to enter the Quarterfinals with the distinction of being the team that beat teams above them in Test Rankings and lost to teams below them and then tied with the No. 1 ranked team. West Indies as usual bucked the trend.
PRicky Apologies: Australian Captain has ‘apologized’ in advance to no one in particular. He will give the reasons for his apology during the press conference after the India – Australia Quarterfinal. The honored recipient of his apology too will be declared on that day.
Birds of the same leather: Steven Smith and Munaf Patel have more than some things in common. Both are supposed to be bowlers, but have not completed their quota of 10 overs in living memory. Both are forgotten by their Captains when the white leather cherry has to be used for some effect. And both are in their respective teams with no specific roles.
Survival of the un-fittest: Munaf Patel also is the ‘Greatest survivor’. He twice went for too many at death. A number 10 batsman hit Patel over the top facing his first ball in the world cup. He neither has a yorker nor a bouncer. Reverse swing is Latin. He is an opening bowler who seldom opens. Took a catch to avoid getting smashed in his face by the ball. Fitness at best can be compared to that of Ranatunga [No Idea how fit he is today]. And he continues to play for India !
MOM Player of the First Round: From being dropped for Raina, Yuvi has come a long way to rain runs and wickets. Though fitness still appears to be below par, Yuvi is throwing his weight around and in the right places. He has more MOMs than anyone else [Man Of the Match awards I mean] this time.
Most Exciting World Cup Debut: Kohli Viratified himself as a Class act with a century on debut. Devendra Bishoo has definitely impressed. Rampaul took a five for. But the most exciting Debutant is Tahir Imran. No explanations deemed necessary.
Most Under-rated Player: Umar Gul has bowled probably the best except for one match. He has swung the new ball and the old ball in almost all conditions. Take him out and Pakistan would struggle. But so far we have heard noise about Afridi, Sehwag, Sachin, Taylor, Roach, Malinga and even Ashwin.
One Man Army: Ever since the days of Kumble, India have remained a ‘One Man Bowling Army’. Thanks to Ashwin, now they have two and a half bowlers in a ‘One Man Army’ that is Zaheer Khan.
Most Improved Player: Kakmal hasn’t dropped anything since that fateful match against the Kiwis. That is an improvement unlikely to be improved upon.
Contenders, nay Pretenders: Bangladesh punched above their might to beat England. But their bowling was exposed by Sehwag and Kohli and batting by KRoach and Tsotsobe. They would do well to be realistic about their chances. One series win against a reluctant New Zealand doesn’t make them contenders. They still remain what they are; Pretenders.
Giant Minnows of the Cup: Ireland stood tall throughout. They chased down 300 twice [Only team so far to do so]. Different people have stood up on different occasions. Stirling, O’Brien brothers, Dockrell, Porterfield, Cusack, Johnston and Wilson made it a memorable world cup. Hats off. They should break into Test league soon.
Fodder of all Collapses: India collapsed twice. Pakistan collapsed against New Zealand. England Collapsed against anyone they liked. Australia collapsed against Pakistan. New Zealand collapsed against Sri Lanka. Collapses were collapsing all over. But the fodder of all collapses was when South Africa collapsed against England chasing 172. They collapsed twice in the same innings !
Tell-Tail signs of the World Cup: Ravichandran Ashwin has scored more runs in one innings than all the runs scored by Bhajji, Zaheer, Nehra, Munaf and Chawla in all the matches put together. Indian tail appears to be ever ready to ‘Curtail’ !
Walk for the Heart: After watching the inevitable collapses following his fall, Tendulkar is a ‘Heart-broken’ man. Hence he ‘walked’ against the West Indies, because the Doctors say walking is good for the heart. Dr. Hayden should advise a certain Mr. Ponting to walk once in a while. He badly needs to walk, at least after the Umpire has ruled him out.
A-shock-ing Decision: There was Bucknor, there was Hair and there still is Bowden. But the most shockingly incompetent Umpire on the ‘Elite’ panel must be Ashock De Silva. It doesn’t get any worse. We hope not to see any ‘Silva’ line in the cloud during knockouts.
Gesture to Cherish: Pakistan’s continued support of KAkmal. Like it or not, once you are in a team, the team has to stand behind the player facing a rough patch. Dhoni would do well to learn a lesson regarding Sreesanth. Kakmal has already lost more matches for Pakistan than any player ever could manage in a lifetime.
This story again has grown like India’s power play woes. So, let me curtail this here like Steyn did to Indian tail. Hope to be back with more Trivia. Cricket will never run out of Trivia like Murali with his tricks !
Govind Raj Shenoy for DieHard Cricket Fans

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Kakmal, Super Moon and other World Cup Trivia, Part 2

If there is a Part-1, there has to be sequel. So I had to come with Part-2 to “Yuckmal and other World Cup Trivia“. Who else could have inspired this post other than the Akmals ? So here we go again…
Kakmal randomly decides which random catch will not be dropped. Erasmus couldn’t believe it and ruled Ponting not out. Then everyone made a song and dance about it and Ponting is ruled ‘out’ by the Third Umpire.
Ricky Ponting: c Kamran Akmal b Mohammad Hafiz : 19 runs – 33 balls – 2 fours
Age: 36. Right Handed
18.4 OUT! That’s a big wicket for Pakistan as Ponting departs! Pakistan get the decision reversed ! Shortish outside off, Ponting tries to cut and almost guides it into the gloves of the keeper. Kamran Akmal does pretty well to hold on to that one. They appeal but the Umpire turns it down. Pakistan take the DRS and the Third Umpire needs only one replay to reverse the on-field decision. The Punter is gone ! Meanwhile, there was even a bit of tussle on between Haddin and the rest of the Pakistani fielders. Afridi led them even there ! And actually Kakmal saved the day.
The Shove Must Go On !!
Kakmal didn’t drop anything this afternoon. This has been attributed to the Super Moon. The gravitational tug of the Gigantic Moon kept the ball that split second longer in the sky and the white cherry landed in Kakmal’s gloves against nature.
Doctoring the Balls applauds a fellow Doctor: Uakmal has a finger injury that prevents him from donning the wicket-keeping gloves. But he can field without a pair of gloves. This injury also doesn’t hamper his ability to win matches wearing the batting gloves. Dr. Mathew Hayden who earlier had diagnosed Ganguly and Bhajji with the dreaded ‘Greentrackitis‘ has now diagnosed this strange injury as “Brotherophilia Glovefingeritis Selectiva“.
The English team must have watched the movie “Lagaan”. They perhaps want to extract revenge over Indians. They have kept everyone on the edge of the seats ever since their arrival. So much so, swollen butts are aching all over. No, this isn’t about the Pakistani Butts.
From Revenge to Revenge – The End of Tigers’ Campaign: Bangladesh’s 2011 World Cup Campaign began with one revenge match and ended with another. People failed to realize what they achieved in 2007 were essentially upsets. But the inflated expectations of a still budding Cricketing nation lay decimated as Indian batting juggernaut rolled them over on day-1 and the bowling army of Saffers hit the last nail in the coffin today.
South Africa choked again; at the thought of leaving the stadium after the demolition of Bangladesh. They decided to play it safe by resting Steyn and Morkel. But Tsotsobe and Peterson ensured a stressful journey back to team hotel.
Bangladesh Captain apologized before the crowd could gather enough stones. The local administration had filtered out all articles larger than 5mm within 5km periphery of Sher-E-Bangla stadium. And the South African Team was airlifted to their hotel room without prior information.
Afridi has a short attention span. To know what went wrong, he watched his own innings of 2 runs of 4 balls in fast forward mode. He lost patience halfway through the video !
Pakistan were the last team to beat Australia in a World Cup match. That was in 1999. It perhaps was ordained the same team had to break the streak and hand Aussies their first World Cup defeat in the new Millennium. Pakistan being Pakistan but did everything within their capabilities to stretch the match ! It still was great to watch a team winning with 9 overs to spare against Australia !
Ashish Nehra doesn’t like ‘THIS” song now. It says “Tera [Thirteen] hone laga hoon”. That is what Saffers needed when he started his ill-fated last over and he ended up conceding not so sweet sixteen !
Uakmal looks like the best batsman to arrive from Pakistan since Inzy Bhai. That is till he decides to play like his elder brother more often than he decides to play himself.
Dhoni has finally decided to rope in Ashwin. If India win, that will be RAshwin. If not, it could be CRAshwin !
Raina to play against West Indies. The Caribbeans had an intensive Slip Catching session. KRoach has shortened his length.
Dhoni doesn’t want his team to repeat the mistakes. He actually meant, “Well of course, we will not repeat those mistakes which we have already repeated. We will repeat only those mistakes which we haven’t hitherto repeated”. Piyush Chawla disappointed.
Ponting stood his ground after guiding the ball to Kakmal’s gloves. The edge was heard even in Tasmania. But the desperate Ponting waited for the Umpire’s wrong decision and then the Third Umpire’s right decision. No damage reported to any structure at the Premadasa. The canny Lankans, they haven’t installed any LCD Television in the Aussie dressing room.
West Indies have their plans for Sachin, says Sammy. They have demanded to send immediately a debutant bowler to play India. They wouldn’t mind anyone as long as he is making his debut.
Tendulkar never scared me: Shoaib Akhtar: What he failed to mention: The one who scared him the most was, is and will always be: Kakmal !
I have to call it quits here. Else I might come across as someone who over-stayed like Ponting. I shall come back with more random trivia as the trivial have a knack to repeat themselves; like the mistakes by Team India !
Like Haddin would have said…
The Shove must go on !
Govind Raj Shenoy for DieHard Cricket Fans