Monday, January 28, 2013

11 Thoughts on Cricket from January

The first month of 2013 is almost over, and already it has shown signs of what to expect in the coming months. Here are 11 stray thoughts on the month that is (not quite) gone by:
"If that is true, we will win the next T20 World Cup...huzzah!"
“If that is true, we will win the next T20 World Cup…huzzah!”
Get bowled out for scores of 45 and 121 en route to a crushing Test series loss to the Saffers before turning the tables on the hosts during the ODI series, which included a 1 wicket heist in the opener (from 105/7 while chasing 209) and a match winning ton from future great Kane Williamson in the second game. Only a last ball six from McLaren in the third game prevented a series whitewash. The average Kiwi supporter must have gone through the full range of emotions possible, in the past month.
"That is a low blow, Mr Bullet"
“That is a low blow, Mr Bullet”
Problems with team’s star player and favorite punching bag for all? Check. It makes perfect sense that the former Australia coach is responsible for Hesson’s appointment as New Zealand coach.
"Move over Jacques, there is a new rock in town"
“Move over Jacques, there is a new rock in town”
In the span of three months, Faf du Plessis has gone from being a replacement in the Test squad and a fringe player in LOIs, to a certainty in all formats of the game. It culminated in him becoming captain of the ODI side in their series against New Zealand after de Villiers copped a ban for slow over rate in the first game. Despite the loss, he is already being talked of as future captain in all three formats. This proves that good things happen to those who play for Chennai Super Kings.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dhoni's Legacy

Sometime ago, I had written an article on the role of a "pioneer" in leading the growth of a sport in a region. Had put in quite a few examples to present my case. But the important thing was all the examples presented were of individual sports. Indian chess, Russian tennis etc. Hadn't quite come up with any example for a team game as such.

However the India-England ODI in Ranchi last Saturday got me thinking again on these lines. It wasn't just any other random ODI. It was a celebration of Dhoni's legacy. The home town boy leading the national team in the first ever international match in the city. And Dhoni provided the perfect fairy tale as well - from winning the toss to hitting the winning runs. Fairy-tales hardly get any better.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The 'Exciting' Future of Domestic T20 Cricket

It was a lovely morning when the president of the ICC woke up from a morning slumber greeted with a warm cup of mocha, and a personal letter outlining yet another amazingly successful T20 competition. This letter was from his Technical Advisor of Cricketing Innovations, the mastermind behind the IPL concept, super-subs and overseas cheerleaders.

It raised very real concerns about the future of our beloved T20 sport...

As successful as this newest, dominant brand of cricket is, we as innovators must continue to be one step ahead of the game and the fans, and ensure that we secure the future of our exciting brand. The gradual takeover of ODI and Test cricket is all but sealed, but our job is not done, our game needs more pop, more zing and more buzz, and here how we are going to do it:

One League to Rule Them All!
We combine the IPL, SLPL, BPL, BBL, EAPL, C20, A20 and HRV... and create what I call the "League of Leagues"... or "LOL" if you will. This will be a bi-annual six month event (see what I did there!) featuring ten teams from each league in a league of its own, producing a league table topper or 'league champion' for the league as well as 'league runner up' from each league.

These two teams from each league will form the LOL Champions League. It will feature a round robin which will produce a 'super league champion' before running into the playoffs section featuring the top 8 teams called the 'gold team league play-offs'. All (yes all) the remaining loser teams will be divided into 'silver team league play-offs' and 'wooden team league play-offs' to ensure nobody feels left out, and we will have three LOL champions every year and these three will play each other in a winner take all to unveil the 'platinum super league champion'.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Team of Contradictions

I love the current English Cricket Team for its inherent contradictions.
The thinnest guy in the team is called Broad;
The ugliest guy is called Swann;
The slowest fielder is Trott;
The guy who is 'behind' the stumps is called Prior;
The guy whose father's name is John is called Peter-son;
And the guy who is named Monty goes in with his clothes on.
No doubt, this cricket team deserves to be led by a Cook.

Akashdeep Agarwal for DieHard Cricket Fans

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The 2013 Cricket Wish List

I'm not sure who this letter is addressed to, the ICC? The Cricketing Gods? Santa?

Whoever it may be, I have been a good cricket fanatic last year and I feel I am entitled to see the metaphorical stockings hanging over my fireplace filled with cricketing goodies. So here goes then, my wish list:

1. New Zealand Survive 5 Days
Ouch. © AFP
An administrators nightmare, the recent South Africa series had whole days featuring an empty stadium. Wouldn't it be nice to see my home country not embarrass ourselves and actually survive the new ball, build a real innings and not concede 500 all the time? South Africa didn't even bother sledging as Vernon Philander aptly put it, "I don't think you have to say much if they are 45 all out".

What will probably happen: 
I may get my wish but only because the Black Caps made friends with some rain clouds.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

MS Dhoni’s 2012 diary

The year is over….Hurray!!
January 28, 2012
Dear diary,
We got whitewashed 4 nil. Again.  This time, against Australia and their ruthless captain, who actually seems like a pleasant chap. Hard to find any positives, but I will try. Virat and Umesh enhanced their reputations, Zak didn’t break down during the series, nobody called any of the opposition players a monkey and Gauti and Ishant were very polite in inviting the Aussies over to India; but I don’t know if Sachin, Rahul and VVS have anything left to offer this team. Apparently, nobody is retiring anytime soon; which is fine, I guess. Anyway, we play only home tests for the next two years. So everything will be fine. At least, that’s what Duncan tells us. He is smart. I can trust him. Right?
February 28, 1012
Dear diary,
This Virat is the only reason my hair has not completely turned white. Haha. Especially with all this ‘rift’ drama surrounding me, Viru Paa and Gauti. Today, he played one of the best ODI knocks I have ever seen. We needed to chase 321 in less than 40 overs to have a chance of reaching the final of the Commonwealth Bank series, and what does he do? He scores 133 from 86 balls to reach the target in the 37th over! His dismantling of Malinga was something. I’m very excited for him.