The Irani Trophy beckons!

September 23, 2008

Well almost – it’s tomorrow and I can’t wait. This Delhi vs. Rest of India clash, touted as the the dress rehearsal to the Australia series, has everything in it to be a cracker. Everybody will have everything to play for. Weather permitting and pitch (and cable operator) willing we should see a good contest. I’m not a Delhi-ite but I think they have the psychological edge with the “we can afford to mess this up” factor helping them; at least they will be the lesser of the stressed. It is the Kumble lead Rest-of-India who will need to prove points. Every single middle order batsmen in their line up – Dravid and Laxman in particular – have everything at stake here. Actually, apart from Badri/Kaif, depending on who will play, and the aforementioned India seniors, there isn’t too much of interesting batting in the Rest of India line up. When I read the name Wasim Jaffer, I tend to to mentally skip it and am not too excited about Parthiv Patel either – he has no technique whatsoever. Delhi, on the other hand seems to have a more interesting batting line up. I use the word interesting for it is the kind of batting that could swing to either of the extremes. They could thrill us all, with attacking stroke play or have us screaming and lamenting about the future depending upon how things go for them. Delhi batsmen to watch out for will be Aakash Chopra, in-form Virat Kohli and Shikar Dhawan, though I feel the latter might turn out to be just a bit of hype. And that’s aside of perennial surprise package that is Virender Sehwag and “purple patch” Gambhir.

Two contests I will eagerly look forward to are Ishant vs. Dravid and Ishant vs. Laxman. While Ishant got Dravid in the IPL opener at Bangalore, it is his nagging off-stump line that is likely to bother Dravid in particular as he has been dismissed by such deliveries thrice (as far as I can remember) in the last year to Sohail Tanvir, Dale Steyn and Ishant Sharma. Laxman who has a similar approach, though not identical, might fare a little better against such stuff. My predictions on Ishant – he will get the top four of Rest of India with Jaffer and Parthiv being the bunnies. I’m not familiar with the rest of the Delhi bowlers and will leave that discussion to the expert opinion of my Delhi-ite blogging friends.

Another contest to look to is Sehwag against Zaheer; the other Rest of India pacers, R P Singh and Munaf may get it from Sehwag big time! I would also like to see the look on Harbhajan’s face when Sehwag hits him over the top for six 🙂 ! Also interesting would be to see how the young Delhi middle order cope with the spin duo of Kumble and Harbhajan.

For Delhi, top order will be key, and middle for Rest of India. I already feel that this is an India vs. somebody else match with scale titled in favor of the “somebody else”. Rest of India, prove me wrong!


One Heck of a Domestic Season but Abysmal Coverage

September 6, 2008

A once-in-a-lifetime domestic season is upon us. Tendulkar has announced his availability for the Irani Trophy vs. Ranji champions Delhi; Ganguly, Dravid, VVS Laxman, Anil Kumble and Dhoni are also expected to play. Can it get any better? Meanwhile, Dravid is already playing for Karnataka in the Buchi Babu tournament in Chennai. India-A, the future of the Indian Test team, is playing the next generation Aussies in Bangalore. All this is happening and the coverage is almost non existent.

Not even a scorecard of the Buchi Babu tournament. How I wish I was in Chennai, would have rushed to the stadium, weather permitting. Unfortunately, a very busy work week meant I couldn’t make to the India-A vs. Australia-A match right here in Bangalore. On that, all we get is a scorecard. Meanwhile, I join fellow blogger Scopy in my cable-TV rues. No, not Tata Sky, but my local cable operator in Bangalore is a madman. He decides what I should watch. At any point in time, we get only three sport channels: a toss up between ESPN, Ten Sports, Star Sports, NEO Sports and Star Cricket. If there’s a live billiards tournament on Star Sports and other such live matches on other channels, means I can’t watch “India glorious” on Star Cricket or “Dravid Deewar” on NEO Sports.

I say this is a great opportunity to rope in some sponsors and cash in. Where are the BCCI? Are they not hearing the jingling of coins? The sad state of some of the domestic tournaments as described by Pradeep Magazine in his book <i>Not Quite Cricket </i> comes to mind. This is the time to cash in, folks. Lalit Modi! Where are you when you matter the most? There are at least three other very excited bloggers who are wanting to see these matches: unabashed senior supporter Buzz and avid cricket follows Scorpicity and Soulberry, who has a dedicated blog for domestic cricket. Hope I haven’t missed anyone else. But I’m pretty sure there are enough of us crazy folk to at least partially fill a stadium or count toward the TRP ratings. Surely Tendulkar, Ganguly and Dravid will pull crowds. Having said all that, looks like we crazy folk can only rant this season.