India’s tour of England 2011 – Trent Bridge Test – shall we sing the lament now?

August 2, 2011

Four days of Test cricket.

Two and quarter days of fighting cricket. The remaining was trash. Add in some vaseline, Bell runout gate and all you get is a waste of time.

India’s 2nd innings was a joke. Laxman and Dravid perhaps were too frustrated and let the others do some of the cleaning. What did the others do? Sachin made another meaningless half century. Harbhajan forgot to feign injury while batting to score 40 odd. Dhoni and his ODI boys did the usual. There is no excuse for this.

One cannot blame the bowlers too much. They toiled hard on day 1 and on day 3 without support. Some of field settings at key times were the most defensive I’ve seen in a decade. It felt like we were back to the post-Azhar Sachin and second-innings-Azhar age. Granted, the bowlers caved at time, bowling outside off, wide, and making it easy for the batsmen to score. What was required was some unity and team spirit. There was nothing like that going on. Maybe that had to do with divisiveness on Bell run-out-gate.

Ganguly was right. This season will tell us just how good a captain Dhoni really is.

As after any drubbing, there are more questions than answers. But I don have one answer – India are losing this series.

I will eat crow if they level!

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India’s tour of England 2011 – Why the tours of England are special

July 31, 2011

I’ve almost always had a rush of nostalgia when India is about to tour England. The green grass, blue skies, the contrast between the “Surf-excel-white” clouds and the tourquise blue of the sky, the picturesque grounds, the lovely breeze and the occasional sweater worn by the spectator adds an element of other worldly magic to the drama that is about to enfold. India’s tours of England have brought back some lovely memories that run back to the summer of’96. There are several such occasions – the World Cup 99, the tour of 2002 and the Nat West final to name a few. The tour of 2007 seems so fresh, I can recall many of details – Zaheer Khan and the jelly gate, Dravid’s tired captaincy, his struggle with runs, Wasin Jaffer’s lazy elegance, Dinesh Karthik’s rise to consistent 45-50 opener, Kumble’s century, Micheal Vaughn’s batting, Tendulkar’s struggles in the 90s, and what not.

Part of what makes this special is a rather mundane aspect – the time of play for the Indian viewer. You can come back from work, either on a high, or tired and drained of energy, and let your mind take on something completely different and to be engrossed in it. There are days when the cricket energizes you and days when it lets you lament.

Another tour is upon us. And this tour, as in 2007, is touted to be last of the greats of India’s batting – Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman. Thus the need to savor it is greater than ever before. One hopes that there is, somewhere in India, a kid who yearns to emulate their techniques and deeds!


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.


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!

 


England win T20 World Cup 2010

May 18, 2010

Congratulations England! Well played. Finally, got your hands on a trophy. Collingwood seemed like a different person this tournament.

The Proteas need not feel too bad (or is that rubbing salt?) 😉


South Africa choke again – Champions Trophy 2009 Roundup

September 28, 2009

What a roller coaster it’s been thus far? Sri Lanka beat South Africa and then loses to New Zealand and a Aussie-battered England. South Africa beat New Zealand but lose to England.

In the other group, tournament favorites (despite their issues) Australia suffer a scare against what they called a “second string” West Indies. Pakistan almost lose to West Indies and then embarrass the #1 ODI team India (more on this in my next post).

All these developments make the tournament more interesting upto the semi finals, but it remains to be seen if the interest levels prevail if the top 3 ODI teams don’t make it to the semi finals. Forget the ICC ratings, don’t we want to watch the best battle it out? Does wining two games in a row make a team better than one which has won several games in trott in the past which has bought them the interest and respect of cricket lovers world wide? Many questions that need answering. I will hold my opinions till the end of the trophy.

Who shall we blame now? Chokers South Africa or free spirited England? Shall we blame Andrew Strauss for denying Smith the runner? I do actually, because runners have been provided before for cramping batsmen, esp from the sub continent, and by denying the runner Strauss showed how insecure he was about Smith being there. Isn’t it easier to effect a run out when you’ve got three people trying to communicate with one another about taking a run? Returning to the blame game, shall we blame the injuries for India’s loss?

The organizers need to wake up about the pitch making malpractices. I have seen at least two games so far where the pitch played a Man-of-Match worthy role in a team’s victory. Not to take away from Shah-Collingwood or Malik-Yousuf in the games England and Pakistan played against South Africa and India respectively, but there was nothing in this for the seamers. If ODI cricket dies, let us not blame the format, for there is more to this than meets the eye.


England’s last chace to save face

September 20, 2009

History awaits England at Chester-le-Street. If they manage get whitewashed 0-7, it will be an unprecedented feat. Australia on the other hand will look to extend their lead on the recently re-gained ICC #1 position – for whatever that is worth.

This England team, that will board the flight to the Champions Trophy will need to face-saving victory to fetch its morale from the nearly bottomless pit. Had I a chance, I would do the following:

– Give Onions his ODI debut. Let’s face it. Mascarenhas is playing as a fielder 😉
– Show Owais Shah the door (at least for the time being)
– Fetch Trott and Bell

Will I watch it? At least for a while, if England show some soul.