Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Reminiscences of an Old Fashioned Cricket Fan: A Flash from the Past

As school life is nearing the borderline, and with each passing day I am inching towards the ‘adult’ lot, my pen makes me realize why life was bliss when I was a kid.

Life was bliss when after a nice chiding by the teacher at school, you walked into your room, and your face immediately enlivened on seeing your MRF bat with a Britannia sticker (yes, my bat was an amalgamation of both Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid).

Life was bliss when you stormed out off the room after learning‘karele’ is what you’ll have to eat today, only to be stopped by your Mother who gave you two rolled paranthas, daubed by Kissan Fruit Jam, which you gulped down in no time (yes, Kissan was more relished than Butter Paneer).

Life was bliss when  you went birthday shopping with your parents and returned with a light blue shaded jersey, that read – ‘Dravid 19’ (yes, ‘Dhoni 7’ came quite late).

Life was bliss when you woke up paralyzed, halfway through the night, after an incubus, and the huge poster of Rahul Dravid kissing his cap that graced your bedroom door, caught your attention. You were re-assured of everything being alright and you crawled back into your bed, to have a good night’s sleep (now you know why I call him my Watchful Protector, my Silent Guardian).

Life was bliss because along with your parents, friends and family, there was a pack of guys who owned you, who inspired you, constantly, and who imbued in you a belief to become whatever you wanted to be, the way they did, ‘cause they were just like you!

There was a short, curly haired, five foot something, who was the only one you hero worshiped, next to your Father. You had heard narratives of people ‘dancing down the aisles’ from his famous Sharjah blitz. You had even braved splintering your ankle as you had climbed up your neighbor’s wall to watch the Indo-Pak clash of WC, 2003, because your house had a powercut. You saw Shoaib Akhtar steaming in, and Sachin cutting him for a six over backward point. You were overpowered, and just then your nearby resident misreckoned you for being another mango heister. You had to race back home before anyone could know what had happened.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Bedi Calls for Changes After Another Series Defeat

Former Test captain, Bishan Singh Bedi, has hit out at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after yet another away series defeat.

India suffered their fourth successive loss on tour when they were beaten in New Zealand. The fact it took a majestic, record-breaking triple century from Black Caps skipper, Brendon McCullum, in the drawn second Test in Wellington should not gloss over the fact that India have been poor once again away from home and they got what they deserved from the series - nothing.

The fact it followed on from a 4-0 drubbing for MS Dhoni's World Cup champions in the preceding one-dayers only adds to the sense of embarrassment and leaves India to reflect on a month without a single success against a country the cricket betting odds expected them to get the better of.

Monday, February 3, 2014

When Kiwi's Soared Above India

My initial prediction of 4-1 to New Zealand was met mostly with polite ridicule. Against the world number one ranked team? The World Cup and Champions Trophy holders no less? Blasphemous.

Courtesy of Sir Jadeja I narrowly missed out, 4-0 however at least landed in the right ball park!

But why would anybody have backed New Zealand?

The Hesson-McCullum partnership is really onto something, despite it starting off with theTaylorgate scandal. Since then Taylor is back and poking his tongue out more than ever and that's not all, New Zealand have constructed a team based on consistent selections, depth in all positions, and a splash of genuine pace along with the usual outstanding fielding and sportsmanship.

© Getty

In the bad old days they only had fielding and sportsmanship, but now this team is a threat in all three formats. With the World Cup around the corner and that too at home, everybody should be on their guard against this dark horse of cricket that might just steal the show.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

World Cup 2015 and Team India

People and Cricket lovers in India tend to have very short memory, extremely short indeed.
2 away series with lukewarm performances and this absolutely inexperienced team is being riled and grilled with calls to bring back the seniors or bring in the fresh blood.
Let us take an impartial look...
  1. Rohit Sharma: I never liked him getting millions of chances while never doubting his talent. He has played just 1 innings on any consequence ever since the ODI 200. But if he has been persisted with for so long, I think, some more persistence should not hurt. Remember he didn't do all that badly in England. The guy whom he has replaced, Sehwag has not scored even in domestic Cricket and his fielding is a joke. Unmukt Chand, Vijay Zol and co still have a lot to prove before they can stake claims.
  2. Shikhar Dhawan: Well, he can't play the short ball. But so was the case with Gambhir and Ganguly before him. They survived after some adjustments. Gautham has looked extremely scratchy in Ranji Cricket this year. Shikhar deserves a decent run.
  3. Virat Kohli: no questions about him.
  4. Ajinkya Rahane: If he can hold his own against South Africa in tests, he can do well elsewhere in ODI Cricket. He deserves a fair chance. Don't decide after just one and a half series.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

England Must Make One-Day Changes

Ahead of the World Cup in 2015, limited-overs coach, Ashley Giles, has pretty much admitted what everyone else already knew - England's one-day squad is in drastic need of major surgery if it is going to compete with the best teams on the planet.  Giles, speaking after the hugely-disappointing 4-1 ODI series defeat in Australia, has admitted he has some “tough decisions” to make as he bids to get England back on track. The way they threw away another winning position in Adelaide, to add to similar capitulations earlier on the tour, will have caused great alarm among the ECB hierarchy.