Dravid’s gritty century at Sabina – India vs. WI – Test 1

June 23, 2011

When there’s a challenge up for grabs, trust a champion to take it. Dravid has built himself a reputation of being there when it means the most. In times when reputation and utility are being questioned, the legend delivered a solid knock to shut the critics for the umpteenth time in his career. This century was worth its weight in gold, and to top it, was fairly solid. The decline from 2007 seemed distant and the myriad batting issues solved. In India’s lead of 300 odd, Dravid’s contribution is almost 50%! The statistics auger well for India in this case. I will not say more now, only that: the Rock is back and will continue to rock.

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And so Cricket begins – India vs. WI – Test 1 @ Sabina Park

June 22, 2011

After the mind-tiring IPL and the inconsequential ODIs, time for some Testing cricket action.

Sabina park brings back memories of a hard fought innings from Dravid a few years back. This pitch isn’t the same. But RD’s class is still there!

Praveen Kumar has just made his Test debut. Couldn’t believe that he was playing his first test match. Seemed like a seasoned pro. With Munaf perennially picking up injuries, Praveen’s dashing debut must definitely augur well. Furthermore, Raina has learned how to battle the short ones. Are things too good to be true? Can we win the first Test of a series? Let’s see.


World Cup 2011: India World Champions

April 3, 2011

That’s a sentence I thought I might never say!

That punch of Dhoni’s that was sent high into the stands, brought a billion dreams come true. And those of some old souls who didn’t live to see. This is big! This is the World Cup and yes, it’s true. India have won it!

This team, ably coached by Gary Kirsten et all, has given us many wonderful memories. From Perth to Wankhede, it’s been a wonderful journey. Not a roller coaster ride, but a smooth nearly blipless one. Thanks to Kirsten and co. Thanks to Dhoni for the cool headed leadership. Today, not even the harshest MSD critic would have a gripe in saying that he deserved the man of the match, perhaps more than any other time – for Tendulkar yesterday did what he normally does in tournament finals and deciders for over a decade. Thanks to the young team for bringing us all this joy! But let us not forget those who, since ’99, have sown the seeds for this victory in spirit. I still feel bad about 2003, but this is not the day for that!

This day, we celebrate!
And yes, this victory is for the people of India!
Cheers Team India! Vande Matharam!


World Cup 2011: My India-Pak World Cup Story

March 31, 2011

For the story to make sense, I need to rewind to 1999. The wonderful politicos had announced that the match would be screened at the beach on a large screen. I had no plans to watch there. It was 2:30-ish PM. Folks at home settled around the TV. But alas, we lost power within 10 overs, thanks largely to the beach screening. So we had no choice but to listen to radio commentary on a battery powered walkman with speakers. (Yes, in ’99, they were still cool). In what was an unusually long power cut on our area, the power returned only after 10:30 PM.

Interestingly enough, something similar happened yesturday. There was no power cut, but there was a TV issue at home. Got to see parts of India batting. After the 5th wicket fell, the TV issue got very bad and had to switch off.

So yet again, for an Ind-Pak World Cup match, I had nothing but radio commentary; got a chance to refresh some of my “book” Hindi. But thank god for “Akaash Vaani”, I could still follow the game. Also found out that there was a 15-20 second delay between radio commentary and Star Cricket feed, for there was a short delay between my celebrating a Pak wicket and my neighbors loud cheering. So much for that! The annoying little part about the Akaash Vaani commentary was the premature declaration of India’s victory – at the fall of Afridi’s wicket – and interview with Rathnakar Shetty on the successfully “completed” World Cup.

This gave me a chance to appreciate the power of visual information. You see so much visually, and no amount of high pitched, emotionally charged audio can replace one snap shot. A picture is truly worth a thousand words!

After all the firecrackers, it started to settle that after 2003, India have made it to another World Cup final. Heart also went to Afridi and Pakistan’s heart broken fans. But somebody had to lose this. Only wish the match was a closer one!


World Cup turning into an Asia Cup

March 27, 2011

With Aus, South Africa and England bowing out, the World Cup is turning into an Asia Cup. The manner in which West Indies made their exit was quite pathetic as well. It was almost depressing watching England lose yesterday. I was hoping for an Ind vs. Eng final. 😦

Australia and South Africa, with the organized cricketing infrastructures they have, will take a serious look at their structure to make ammends for the future. It will be interesting to watch the developments on that front.


World Cup 2011: India turn chokers against South Africa

March 14, 2011

In what can be described only as a series of bizarre incidents, India choked in a typically South African fashion against the Proteas on Sunday.

One can list out various reasons for the defeat- not playing an e,tra spinner against spin-dreading South Africa, power play batting collapse, giving away too man runs up front, Dhoni’s captaincy, bowling Nehra instead of Harbhajan- but that would only amount to beating the “we-don’t-have-any-bowling” dead horse.

This defeat may not be too bad. After all, this may be what the thinking tank needs to fi, the problems. There are a good number of those, since match 1. Winning a match almost ensures that the “winning combination” will play again. Shortcomings will not be looked at. This defeat provides that opportunity. Will only have to wait and watch.

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2011 Cricket World Cup off to sluggish start

March 4, 2011

So the World Cup has started, huh? Really, when does it start? The warm up matches were more interesting.

Barring the Ind-Eng thriller and superb Ireland – Eng match, the games seem to be just going through the motions. The new WC stats on the longest/biggest six seems irrelevantly annoying.

After the Ireland – England  game, I have become a fan of Ireland. In fact, so much so that I would like to see them beat India. Maybe Bangladesh should beat South Africa too. This World Cup needs more thrill. Waiting for that!