Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Champions Trophy: A Clinical Victory for the Mustache !

 25 June 2013, is the right day to write about 23 June 2013 because it was 30 years ago on this day that Cricket became a religion for me and we subsequently found a God. We have discussed million times about 25 June 1983 and 2 April 2011 and about the T-20 World cup win. Today, it is about what was it about the Champions Trophy win !

It was a clinical performance by Team India and that was established by the uniform they wore during the victory celebrations.
Performance with Clinical Efficiency !

Here is a list of people and attributes that contributed towards Indian win in the Champions Trophy.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

It Ain’t Over…

William and Kate at Wimbledon
“One does not move during overs…”
I know what you’re thinking. It must have taken something deeply significant for my column to spring back into life after nearly a year with seemingly nothing to say for myself, right? Well, no – not quite. For six of you who read this, it might seem like a pretty small issue. For the remaining three of you, it may strike a chord – a C# Minor in fact – and we may be in agreement. Who knows! I certainly don’t… that’s quite evident!

BCCI's "Operation Clean-Up"

After a scandal-hit IPL, which brought terms like "spot-fixing", "conflict of interest", "step aside", "betting" et al to the limelight, BCCI has finally woken up from its slumber. The Board which currently is more involved in internal politics and self-preservation than the functioning of the game has come up with a 12-point "Operation Clean-up" to clear IPL's image. And maybe hope to get the game's credibility also back up.

Following are the 12 points announced by the interim management (Source: Times of India). My thoughts on each are appended

1. Removal of sleaze; no cheerleaders, no after-match parties for players and support staff.Seriously, this is the first point they come up with. As a cricket fan, I do not really care if they remove cheerleaders and ban after-match parties, but shows the messed up priorities. Good step though.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The ICC Champions Trophy History (and Preview)

So here we are in England for the last edition of the ICC Knockout / Mini World Cup / ICC Champions Trophy / Thing.

This is a strange little tournament purposely offset in between the 'real' fifty over world cups, designed to be a quick-smart affair all over in a couple of weeks (take note IPL). However fifty over cricket must die according to the powers that be, and the idea has now been thrown out and we won't see it again.

I'm going to disagree with the majority and say that I like the tournament. This would be the only other time that all the leading teams of world cricket will be assembled.  That was until the rise of T20 cricket came along and demanded its own little World Cup, and the other problem is that a couple of the tournaments did suck and slipped in and out of memory without much of a second thought.  Here's hoping for a memorable showing in the next fortnight to resurrect interest.

Let's have a quick look at its history:

1998 - South Africa Finally Wins Something
... and it's the only cricketing tournament they have ever won. There was a Tendulkar pummelling that eliminated Australia, but apart from that it was a pretty ho-hum affair.

2000 - The Cairns Show
India were on a nice roll courtesy of a pair of Ganguly tons and young renegades on debut namely Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan, both of who were responsible for again dismantling Australia in the quarter final. The script was set for India, but they hit a roadblock in the form of a "how did they get this far anyway" New Zealand team.  Chris Cairns fired one of his few shots as a gun batsman, and stomped all over a lazy Indian performance in the final.

I remember that day because it was one of those rare occasions the patented Fleming Frown disappeared, at least for a while.

"Why couldn't I be Australian". © Getty

Monday, June 3, 2013

Quick Preview : Champions Trophy

A mini-World Cup deserves a mini-preview.

Kamran Akmal, immortalized in his trademark pose by Madame Tussaud  in 1780.

Best XI: Farhat, Jamshed, Hafeez, Shafiq, Misbah (c), Malik, Akmal (wk), Riaz, Khan, Ajmal, Ali.
Key Players: Jamshed, Misbah, Ajmal.
Akmal: Kamran
Prediction: They just tied with Ireland and then barely escaped with a 2 wicket win. Sooo... champions, I guess?


Best XI: Watson, Warner, Bailey, Clarke (c), Voges, Wade (wk), Marsh, Faulkner, Starc, Doherty, McKay.
Key Players: Watson, Clarke, Starc.
Punchable: Watson
PredictionSemis. Good enough to get past the Kiwis and Lankans in their group and maybe even beat England to group leader.


Best XI: Cook (c), Bell, Trott, Root, Morgan, Buttler (wk), Bresnan, Broad, Swann, Anderson, Finn.
Key Players: Cook, Morgan, Swann, Anderson.
Slappable: Broad
PredictionSemis. See Australian prediction for more.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

In conversation with - Brian Mantle, Manager of the German Cricket team

With this post, Karan has made a steady debut at interviewing men who matter!
This one, is with Mr. Brian Mantle, the Manager of the German International Cricket Team (Officially known as the DCB- The Deutscher Cricket Bund) . Well, it is only fair that I start off by thanking him for being kind enough to take some precious time off his schedule to answer my questions about Cricket in Germany. It was due to the plain curiosity to know about the challenges faced to promote Cricket in a predominantly Football-crazy country, that I approached Mr. Mantle. And sure enough, he was generous to oblige this new Germany fan, with an interview.
Getting down to business, here’s what ensued from the questionnaire I had prepared for Mr. Mantle..You would ask,”um… Germany? Do they even play Cricket?” Yes, though they may not be among the world’s best teams, Deutschland is making progress through leaps and bounds. They are currently ranked 37th in the ICC rankings and I hope we see them in the top-twenty very soon.
To make matters familiar with you, Cricket in Germany has been like Football in India, except, these Germans are way better at their Cricket than we are at Football. But yes, the challenges to promote the sports are pretty much the same.