Monday, June 16, 2014

Tete-a-Tete with the Swami Army

First of all we would like to thank the members of the Swami Army for taking time out of their schedule and talking to us.

It is impossible to miss them if you watch any India match. They turn the match atmosphere into that of a carnival and ensure that there are no dull moments in the matches for the fans present at the ground and the ones viewing on TV. 

DieHard Cricket Fans spoke to them about their inception, activities, planning and much more.

  • When and how did Swami Army come about?
The Swami Army was formed during India’s tour to Australia in Season 2003/04 by a group of 10 die-hard Indian cricket supporters, using the Swami Army moniker as a bit of fun while following their beloved Indian team around Australia in that season. The tour was significant in that it was Steve Waugh’s final Test series, but also represented the start of India’s climb to the top of the Test rankings. As the crowds flocked to the grounds to watch India come close to beating Australia in the Test Series decider in Sydney 2004, the Swami Army grew from its core group of 10 supporters to a large gathering occupying Bay 26 of the SCG.
Since then, the Swami Army have gone from strength to strength. With nearly 5,000 members across the globe, we are recognised by cricket authorities as the leading Indian cricket supporter group, with a presence at every Team India match. We continue to work with cricket boards to ensure that the Swami Army has Designated Areas at cricket grounds worldwide to enhance the viewing experience of all cricket supporters at cricket grounds in an enjoyable, family-friendly environment, dhol player and all!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

My IPL Diary# Ane Booysen

I was asked to write about my trip to India and Dubai as an IPL cheerleader and jumped at the opportunity to do so because, wow, what a truly amazing opportunity it was! Something I would love to share!

Now, where to start! We had numerous dance rehearsals in Cape Town to prepare for the matches, and we learned around 9 routines to ensure we were prepared and that we could keep the audience  entertained by making sure there was a wide variety of options.

So, lets fast forward to Dubai... we arrived in great anticipation and wonder for this magnificent Country! Just the bus ride from the airport was an experience as we started seeing all the billboards advertising the IPL! We also met all the girls in our team and started bonding immediately.  I could see this was going to be an amazing journey! There were 40 cheerleaders sent to Dubai, and due to the fact that one of the team's dancers were only going to arrive in India, my group of 10 cheerleaders had to rotate between all the White Mischief Teams (Kings  XI Punjab, Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore). Although we danced and cheered a lot, this was a great way to see all the stadiums as well as get to know all the aspects of the amazing game of cricket.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Mankading & "Spirit of Cricket"

Mankading - the act of a bowler running out the non-striker batsman before bowling the ball has always been a source of needless controversy. 

In fact for some weird reason it has become a test of the "sportsman spirit" of a bowler who does not do the "Mankad". Cortney Walsh has received a medal for not running out Salim Yousuf. But if the bowler does Mankad, like Sachitra Senanayake did to Jos Buttler, all hell breaks lose. The bowler and the fielding captain are accused of having destroyed "the spirit of cricket" - the greatest crime imaginable in the gentlemans's game.

Well here are my two bits on Mankading.
It is within the laws of the game. In fact there is a specific law for the situation, hence no ambiguity is possible. Law 42(15) states - "The bowler is permitted, before entering his delivery stride, to attempt to run out the non-striker. Whether the attempt is succesful or not, the ball shall not count as one of the over. If the bowler fails to run out the non-striker, the umpire shall call and signal Dead ball as soon as possible". 

So if there exists a specific law which states what are the consequences of a bowler breaking the stumps with the non-striker outside his crease, then why the hue and cry? The "spirit of cricket" has already been murdered many a time (Fixing, Corruption, Walking/Not walking etc.) by different sets of players, officials and administrators. Guess that is why it exists in "spirit" form.

Here the batsman was wandering outside the crease and with run-out decisions sometimes become a matter of TV frames, then it does become an advantage for the non-striker to back up as far ahead as possible. In this case, Buttler had been warned twice by Senanayake in his previous over. (Which is where the matter of cricket's spirit should rest, which seemingly is not the case). And when Buttler was found wandering out again he was run-out. A result very rightly deserved. 

So the right decision was taken on action justified and well within the laws and more importantly the previous over Senanayake having shown the proper "spirit" also, guess Buttler should have nothing to complain about. Don't see any justifications for the hue and cry it has raised.  Nor do I see why the batsman is being portrayed as a victim, when its his own actions which are to be blamed for his fate.

To me its clear, Senanayake and the rest were well within their rights to run-out Buttler. And no harm was caused to the so called "spirit of the game".

Closing Notes - a couple of interesting exhibits on Mankading
Exhibit A - The original report on Mankading

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

IPL7: The AfterThoughts

The 7th edition of the Indian Premier League has come to an end. And Congratulations to Kolkata Knight Riders for their second IPL title. After an embarrassing defeat to Rajasthan in which they lost 6 wickets for 2 runs they have really lifted their game and were deserving winners in the end.

Now the time to note down some after-thoughts (not a review) from this year's IPL.
  • The Impossible Chases - The tougher the ask, the higher the stakes, the more seemingly easy it becomes to chase it down. The team batting second knows the target and also the fact that they can only win if they go slam-bang from the first ball. And apparently this belief is actually carrying them to victory. Examples - KKR chased down 160 in under 15 overs to finish 2nd in the League; Mumbai Indians chased 191 in 14.3 to enter the qualifiers; CSK blitzed 100 in 6 overs in a chase of 227; Rajasthan smashed 65 in 3 overs to win with an over to spare. And it all culminated in the final with KKR chasing down 200.