Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Two Days at Chepauk

photo (22)
Slightly nervous mixed with barely controlled excitement. That’s how most international debutants feel; and it was no different for my Test match debut as a spectator at the stadium. I watched the first two days of the Chennai test between Australia and India from the stands in Chepauk and was not disappointed as Ashwin, Clarke and Tendulkar made it a very memorable experience. I’m still kicking myself over missing Dhoni’s double ton on the third day, but that story is for another time. Here is a brief recount of the highlights of my two days at Chepauk.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Silence of the Damned – Sports, Asia and the taboo that is Depression

A mental condition characterized by severe feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy, typically accompanied by a lack of energy and interest in life. (Depression, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary)
In the last few years, cricket has seen a spate of revelations from former players who have confessed to bouts of depression during their playing days. It all began with former England opener Marcus Trescothick, who opened up in 2008 about his crippling battles with the affliction which would often leave him in tears and shivering with anxiety. Since then, a few other cricketers like Michael Yardy, Tim Ambrose, Steve Harmison, Andrew Flintoff, Steve Davies, Shaun Tait, Lou Vincent and Iain O’Brien have come forward to share their personal experiences of dealing with depression as a sportsperson.
Now there have been plenty of articles written recently about depression in cricket, and sports in general. So it is good to see that ignorance and stigma is being replaced with awareness and acceptance in most societies. Players are less afraid these days to open up and share their stories, in the knowledge that it might help others going through the same situation. While they may have been subjected to ridicule in eras gone by,  sportsmen in the present can breathe easier as there is a shifting perception towards the better, among the media and general public. Still, there is one issue that has bothered me with regards to this topic over the last few years.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Understanding the Calypso Collapso

Cricket often has some strange and unexplained phenomenon, for example:
  • How Ajit Agarkar can get a century at Lords.
  • How Michael Yardy was allowed to play international cricket.
  • Why somebody would pay Glenn "The Big Show" Maxwell one million bucks.

But there is one cricketing mystery that continuously trumps them all, one team that can truly define the term enigma in their consistently baffling pursuits on the cricket pitch. This is none other than the West Indies.

Rewind about 30 years and these guys used to be absolutely unstoppable. They practically invented swagger, power cricket and tasteful arrogance. Some stonewalled all day while, others bludgeoned bowlers for fun, and they had a seemingly never ending assembly line of fast bowlers and swashbucklers. 

Until it well... ended.
© Getty

Most teams around the world are right on top or consistently crap, but how many can slide from one to the other in the very same match? There is no doubt that the West Indies are the undisputed king of collapses. Lets take a look back and analyse the concept of "The Calypso Collapso".

Monday, February 11, 2013

One angry man leaves, another returns – the contrasting fortunes of Gambhir and Harbhajan

The Indian squad for the first two tests against Australia has been announced and apart from a couple of surprises, it was pretty much along expected lines. After a prolonged lean patch, Gautam Gambhir has been replaced with his Delhi team-mate Shikhar Dhawan, Ravi Jadeja has been retained ahead of Suresh Raina, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar earns a call-up and Harbhajan Singh returns after a one Test hiatus. Apart from Wasim Jaffer, no other player needs to feel aggrieved over his non-selection. This is possibly one of the better squads assembled by the Indian selection committee in recent times. Here are my thoughts on the selected 15:

Saturday, February 9, 2013

If I were N Srinivasan

“Hmm….go on…”
These days, the most hated person in the cricket world is not a non-performing cricketer or a bumbling umpire; that privilege goes to a soft spoken, bespectacled business man from Chennai. Narayanaswami Srinivasan, or N Srinivasan (or, Srini mama as “affectionately” known throughout the social networks) is the current BCCI chief, which in turn makes him the overlord of all international cricket bodies (allegedly). It takes a special kind of talent (sorry, Rohit) to be universally disdained by anyone related to cricket. Indian fans hate him for reasons pertaining to IPL, DRS and an autocratic approach to governing the Board. Non-Indian fans hate him for reasons pertaining to IPL, DRS and an autocratic approach which influences the governing of other national cricket boards. It is nice to know that in a cricket world divided by misplaced nationalistic fervor, we can all agree that the BCCI chief is a tool. And that Jade Dernbach’s tattoos make Mitchell Johnson’s look like a work of Picasso. Don’t even get me started on that.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Four Quotes That Explain Dale Steyn

Dale Steyn’s bowling figures in the first innings of the on-going Test match against Pakistan in Johannesburg:
8.1 overs, 6 maidens, 8 runs, 6 wickets
What else is left to say about the best bowler on the planet right now?
Here are four quotes that explain Dale Steyn best:
He likes fishing, horror movies, all the gory stuff, you know. I think it comes out in his bowling sometimes.
Graeme Smith
“I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”