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

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