November 12, 2008

Ifs and Buts

What could have happened.
Ponting could have bowled Watto with Krazzo. India would have set Aus a
target of 269 instead of 369, and Aus would have chased it by tea.
Ponting, in one afternoon's worth of nuance, could have stolen the
trophy from under India's nose. Indians would have bled, and acted like
sore losers, brought up any wrong decisions, the low over-rates, kink in
Krejza's actions, Bedi's treason and blamed the Nagpur pitch yet again.
Dhoni would have had to shave his head, Rahul would have needed Z-cover,
Tendulkar would have said the team did well to get here and Kirsten
would have been forced out.

What happened.
Ponting wanted to play a Test against the NZies - them of
very-nearly-lost-to-Bangladesh fame. So he bowled Huss and Kuss at
Harbhajan, the most hated Sikh on earth, who got a Fifty. Ricky boy run
himself out to the most rollypolly of Indian fielders doing a poor man's
Jhonty. Dada led the side for the last few overs of his life. That, from
Dada to Waugh and Dhoni to Punter, was as solid a finger as they come.
Mr. MopHair got a car ! And now Gotham city thinks sledging should be
banned, or elbow-action be allowed !

November 6, 2008

Ricky Ponting, what a dick !

Jason Kreiza has taken 3 wickets, and Ponting has a lot of poo on his

In fact, Mr. Jazzy Krazzy took 2 wickets in the first session of the
first day of the Test. That's how many Stuey McCluey managed in 2 test
matches and 73 grand overs of boring stump to stump variety. Yet it is
Shiny McCluey who's been the "Star Performer." Ponting's selection
policy has displayed a distinct deficiency of ballsiness.

Sure JK Balding went for runs, but then runs are inversely proportional to
the wickets you take and that has been Ponting's toothache all tour. His
wheelers simply haven't been able to beat the Indian blade. Every one of
his charges has bled runs. Which happens in the dustbowl that is India.
New ball doesn't swing and spin comes slowly off the track. Runs WILL be
scored in India, defensive fields or not, new age cricket or not, Shane
Warne on field or not.

So, what do you try to do, O Visiting Captain ? You frikkin try to take

And who will get me those wickets ? Kraezzer Blazer - who turns it a

Not Stuey McCluey ? No, Not Shit McCluey ! Not even Pale White !

That has been Punter's problem. India rewards risk-taking and enterprise
in every sense, not just on the field, but Punter has tried to hide
behind the scrooginess of his safe options. He's devised the negative
tactic of operating "choking" bowlers with deep fields in place, and the
Indians have exploited the contradiction that is hidden therein. That's
not the way to win matches, that is how you try to save matches. For all
the 9,999 uses of "Attack" by the team's loudspeakers, it is nothing but
Defence. Ponting has tried to defend the team's glorious record in the
past, he has tried to defend the reputation of his best buds and
ultimately he has tried to save his own ass. Not for him to take the
game by the scruff of the neck and give it a good shake down. He's happy
to tan in the suns of India, telling himself it's not his fault.

It IS his fault, and for that he deserves a kick in the nuts.
If he promiseth to not hug me with those hands he spits unto, I'll do
him this one favour.

November 5, 2008

Make mine a Super Special

Among other things, the 4th Test match between Ind and Aus will be VVS Laxman's 100th Test match.
So how's he done so far ?

Here's a snippet of Laxman's stats thus far sorted by match results.

Evidently his batting average shoots up in the matches India has drawn. It is nearly 20 points above his career average of 45.41runs. A conclusion that can be made is that Laxman scores heavily in dead matches.

Which would be a sham because it is a lazy conclusion ! Because, sample this:
(in Drawn matches)

Not so dead anymore, huh !! In the 2nd innings Mr. Wrists turns it on fine style. His average shoots up to the 80s. He occupies the crease longer. Looks like when the team is in dire straits - about to concede the match - our man here steps it up, and lives upto his billing of being Very Very Special.

That in itself is vindication, but since we're at it lets engage in some more Laxmania:
(by Batting position, in 2nd innings in Drawn matches)

Holy Cow !! The-Guy-Australia-Hate-To-Guts goes briefly Bradmanesque. Averages of 167 and 108 are obscene. The Boss, it seems, has on more times saved his team from humiliation when they were 5-6-7-8 down and the other Fab-4 superheroes were cooling their heels in the dressing room.

All of which means that all these 35 Drawn (out of his 99) games might not have been so DRAWN had the VVS not brought out the Super Special.

November 4, 2008

Saint KP

Saint KP

Quantum Leap

The quantum has leapt. With Anil Kumble's retirement the time for
cricket's new guard has come.

In Utseya, Ashraful, Gayle, Vettori, Jayawardene and Graeme Smith world
cricket already had a clique of young skippers strutting about. However,
the teams they lead do not form the crux of world cricket. It is India,
Australia and England who literally own cricket today, and frankly they
also play the best cricket. It would have been premature to call it a
change of guard with the senior statesmen - Kumble, Ponting and Vaughan
- still around.

Hence when Micheal Vaughan handed over the mantle to Kevin Pietersen it
felt like the start of something, like the wheels were being set into
motion. As unplanned successions tend to go, the incumbent could no
longer justify his selection and the young gun seemed an irresistible
force. Similarly, Kumble had not planned on retiring yesterday.
Circumstance and sense had forced his hand, and in Dhoni India had
simply planned ahead. And so the wheel turned. Nine of the ten test
nations are now being led by the young turks. Heady, youthful times are

Now if only Pup can pip the Punter, we can all toast the charge of the
youth brigade.

October 22, 2008

Softly does it

Call me a nay-sayer, but I find the best way to be an Indian fan is to
be prepared for a loss next game. India are no Australia whose fans can
afford the relative sense of security akin to Goldman investors. India
are the Lehmans, the Sterns, the Lynches - millionaires one day, paupers
the next. They're pretty bullish right now, but they must guard against
the risk that market expectation brings.

The expectation that, at Kotla, India will steamroll Australia. Commentators
are ruling out an Aussie comeback saying that this Aus team lacks the
ability to bounce back. The captain is deemed a sun-baked alpha-male
incapable of a deft soft touch. Their lead pacer can't seem to get over
the separation from his wife. The most imposing batter, that gladiator
from the past, seems to have lost all his teeth at the kitchen counter.
There's talk of resurrecting the fishing all rounder. And of the
newcomers nothing great is expected.

India meanwhile is presumed to bet sat comfortably. The batting
juggernaut seems to be slowly cranking up speed one last time and is
expected to go out on Nitro. The fast bowlers are being celebrated as
the next-big-thing of reverse since the Ws. The spinners on display are
considered rich in both guile and turn. Jumbo awaits in the wings -
giving the team double options at both captaincy and leg spin. The
curator is gift-wrapping the 22 yards of read earth for him. India is
expected to brown-wash the tired and cranky wizards from Oz, it is
supposed to leave them kneeling, bleeding, covered in mud, begging for
mercy. This is hype.

It reminds of Jan 2008 and reeks of exaggerated supremacy. Then, there
was a similar gap between the 2nd and 3rd Tests. Then, a group of beaten
men regrouped. Then, the dominant force closed their eyes, shot in all
directions and missed everything. India must guard against Kotla
becoming Perth.

As for me, I am prepared.

July 7, 2008

Diarrhoea outbreak at Hogwarts.

Subcontinental cricket is suffering from a diarrhoea of the 50-over game. And it is apt to make the cringing pun that the players are going through the motions. It might be that my memory is showing signs of aging, and I'm a prime twenty-five, but the fact is that I can no longer recollect one day matches for more than three days. Triumphant victories, resounding defeats, last ball nail biters - nothing remains. The deluge of ODI cricket in the subcontinent is so overwhelming that it undermines what passes from one game to another, I can no longer tell Dhaka from Karachi, Guwahati from Colombo. On average a subcontinent team plays a one day match every three days. The downtime between consecutive series has petered down to a paltry week. Off season - what off season ? This leaves hardly any time for the spectator to build up anticipation before a tournament start, and definitely none for a post-series breather in which to savour the memories.

This year the IPL bonanza concluded in June and the flag post event, Asia cup, was fixtured for early July. A month's gap in the harsh summer, what luxury ! The players looked set to use the intervening month to cool off, the press dreamed up an extended bout of volleying amongst the Asian rivals, the Indian team might have had the time to dig out a tape or two of the Mendis carrom ball and the Asia cup would have ended in a crescendo celebrating all that's good in Asian cricket. Instead, the witches that run our cricket boards got together and brewed up an ugly money spewing syrup called the Kitply cup. It wasn't the first time they had done so, remember the IPL was similarly pulled out of the bag and plonked into what was supposed to be India's rest period, but while the IPL was born out of the necessity to embrace change there could surely be no such pretension about the Kitply cup. It was a tournament of tired teams playing on over-worked pitches at the onset of the Bangladeshi monsoon for the honour of lifting a plank of plywood. Safe to say I remember nothing of the games played.

The real witchery of the Kitply cup was in what it robbed us of. It robbed the players a chance to have a decent rest and a preparatory camp. Niggles and strains could have been sorted. Zombie cricketers could have caught some naps and the support staff could have worked out the new mystery spinner. The media, so essential to modern cricket, too could have enjoyed a longer build up to the Asian title race. Opposing camps could have lined each up in the press better, intricate rivalries could have been sufficiently hyped and strategies of mental disintegration could have been firmly established. No such thing happened. Rather, India's best batsman did not play due to a side strain, Pakistan's captain shabbily collapsed from exhaustion minutes before a match and his coach successfully instrumented a journalist walkout.

Because our witchcraft institutions compromised the quality and the success of the Asia cup for the chance to pick up an extra nickel along the way. It was thus that the baffling Ajantha Mendis brow beat the indifferent Indian batsmen in front of an absent crowd.