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!



The Asia Cup 2008 – another inconsequential tournament?

June 24, 2008

The Asia Cup 2008 involving the India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong and UAE has just begun. Anybody cares? Perhaps the UAE and Hong Kong folk do and rightfully so.

To me this is just another inconsequential tournament with contest involving what has now become the usual bores – India-Pakistan-Bangladesh. Sri Lanka somehow seems a little less boring – or maybe that’s just me. Fellow bloggers on my blogroll and I have said much about the India-Pakistan overkill, so I won’t go there. The tournament schedule is organized such that two teams get knocked-off (which will most likely be Hong Kong and the UAE). Then the bores will slug it out in round-robin fashion.

What I will be interested in is the UAE team – lot of expatriate folks from the sub-continent in this team. Call me crazy, but cable-operator willing, I would like to watch these matches. For all you know, some of these folk may have their basics right! 🙂

Of India-Paksitan cricket and India’s wins – are they boring?

June 12, 2008

Three matches have gone by the tri-series featuring India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. All three matches had a predictable result. In the match against Bangladesh, after Sehwag fell, I was almost hoping for an upset.

Despite the fact that this series includes an India-Pakistan face-off, there is a sense of boredom about it. Is too much India-Pakistan to blame? Or is it the fact that India has been consistently beating them for some time now? Or is the lack of competitiveness from Pakistan? As for me, I thought Bangladesh in their match against India, for their standing in World cricket, batted better than Pakistan. Where is the spirit, Pakistan?

Let me ask the bigger question. Is it boring to watch India win? Is it even boring to watch ’em batt? I didn’t watch much of India’s batting after the goose-bump inducing T20 style Sehwag-Gambhir partnership. Other than noticing that Rohit Sharma is losing his patience, Yuvraj is his princely self and Praveen Kumar is getting better by the hour, there isn’t much to say. Are you missing the star clashes of old the Tendulkar-Shoaib or Ganguly-Shoaib? Or the lopsided Indian collapses from 100-1 to all out for just under 200?

Q points out here with hard facts, that India has been closing the India-Pakistan gaps. And that India has turned the tables. They have turned the tables indeed, but on a very weak Pakistan team. Pakistan won many games against an Indian team with some of best batsmen in Tendulkar, Azharuddin, Manjrekar, Dravid, Ganguly and the like. In that case, does the turning tables really count?

With this kind of one-sided cricket being played, I’m better off watching the other matches with more interest. The Aussies are 5-down on Day 1 of the Barbados Test. Gotta go catch some of that!

Ciao for now.

The 20-20 World Cup: a survey of the tournament

September 30, 2007

I was very skeptical about this tournament when it began earlier this month, curiosly prickled upon watching the innaugural match of the home side against West Indies and glued to it after watching only a few matches.

The T-20 has been called a lottery by Kevin Peitersen and although it may be called that at times, it is also a test of talent and grit. You can win/lose a T-20 match in just one over, a stark contrast to its 50 over sibling which allows the teams to  consolidate, change gears, re-think strategy, etc. I think the best thing that came out of this for the cricketing world in general is that it proved that the game can win in this format and true talent could outshine the bigger names. Good old fashioned cricketing skills: good batting, fielding, bowling, and standard strategy is all you need to succeed in this version. What seemed to be a batsman’s game turned out as much a bowler’s game. It’s not like you cannot pace the innings in a T-20 game; a classic example of this is how India batted their way to victory in almost every game. Slogging alone cannot take you through: Bangladesh and Sri Lanka might have learnt this the hard way.

Enough about the format, here are some quickies on the some aspects of this tournament:

1. Fearless cricket: Young and fearless goes the adage; India and Bangladesh stand out for just that. Many Indian fans watched gaping as the Bangladeshi top order fearlessly (though recklessly) ripped the South African bowling the dead-rubber game. Although they lost wickets quickly, their positive spirit was apparent; they only needed to perfect some of the basics to build a successful team. If Indian fans who watched the Bangladesh-South Africa match were wondering “Why are’nt our batsmen so fearless or attacking”, they were answered very shortly. In this tournament, India, I think are the perfect examples of fearless cricket with the right proportions of caution, recklessness, agility and last not definitely not least, “never-say-die” atttitude.

2. Batting: There’s no dispute that this was a batsman’s game. Strokeplay will reward, calculated risks pay dividends, and old-fashioned running between wickets can win matches. Some of the impressive batsmen from this tourament: Mathew Hayden, Mohammed Ashraful, Kumar Sangakkara, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Chris Gayle, Brenden McCullum.

3. Bowling: Wicket taking can win matches here, and this semblance to Test cricket made the watching the T-20 matches very thrilling. Good old fashioned line and length, swing and change of pace makes a huge difference. Best bolwing from this tournament: RP Singh, Mohammed Asif, Umar Gul, Daniel Vettori, Stuart Clark, Irfan Patan, Sreeshant.

4. Fielding: India, South Africa, and Sri Lanka did well in this department. Best fielding display: Karthik’s blinder of a catch at slip in the match against South Africa, Uthappa’s direct hit to cause the run-out of Imran Nazir in the T-20 Final.

5. Umpiring: was top notch for this tournament. I don’t remember seeing any controversial lbws, or any rightful appeal turned down. Best Umpire for this tournament: Simon Taufel.

6. Commentary: almost as entertaining as the games themselves. Best commentary range: Ravi Shastri, David “Bumble” Lloyd and Harsh Bhogle for excitement, Nasser Hussain for honest and fair commentary. Other noteworthy mention: Ian Chappel for his snideness.

7. Teams to watch out for: Bangladesh, definitely. This group of youngsters have talent; they only need more practice. India on the other hand seem to a new, positive face now; although this tournament may not be the best yardstick to judge a cricket team, success in this format surely must count for something. The new Indian team has given a nation faith that their favorite game will be in good hands after the Tendulkar-Ganguly-Dravid trio bow out of the cricketing arena.