Game On…

I wonder myself that what it takes me to write so much about Cricket, passion or obsession, interest or madness, love or fan-ship and finally had to settle down on everything.

I woke up to my fate at 4:40 am this morning to catch the action on my computer and was disappointed that India lost the a crucial toss. Being a Day-Nighter the due factor in that part of the country and specially that ground (with new turf) will be a big problem for the team bowling second as it is not easy to grip the leather, no matter even if every fielder wraps around a towel around them, not joking.

So, as usual I have to leave my love and start getting ready for the office at 5:30 am and was optimistic that I can at least watch 6 or 7 overs. My optimism was completely put-out watching my favorite Sachin palying his shots. He was totally off, I seldom seen him playing cricket like that, unless something is bothering him; very much. Having watched his batting from such up close angles, it bothered me how he got out edging a wide off-stump ball, playing away from his body with full face to the ball. More than often, it is a symptom to get out easily. On a given day, he would have answered the same ball with a back foot punch towards squarish covers, normally kissing the fence for most part. It is his signature stroke and no one, no one can match his timing in that shot.

Dejected I was, but Sehwag on the other side was in his usual macho style whacking every ball like a free-hit. He simply doesn’t respect any one, leave alone the bowlers. His momemtum casted deep shadows on each of the Australian players and they were praying God to get this guy out in the pavilion as quickly as possible. In simple english, he is a question who doesn’t have an answer, PERIOD!

Gambhir and Sehwag went along nicely when the GODS were angry and Sehwag fell to his own instincts. Nevertheless, the runs flow did not stop really and India got to 354 in the end, which I think is a very hard total to beat, by any team.

I would still loved India to have bowled first, the hint of grass would have produced peach deliveries from Praveen Kumar’s fingers more often than anyone else.

Anyway, coffee break for me and lunch for the masters.

The curry and the kangaroo – Part 1

And the series has started yet again, with a flamboyant style with almost a perfect end. India and Australia yet again face each other in this 7 ODI series true to their existing ICC ranking regards. The world’s No.1 team competing with No.2 team on turfs that are always witnessed in thousands and million across the tubes is nothing less than spectacular. The 1st ODI had all the ingredients of a brilliant drama with an exquisite screenplay. Both teams tried to put in their best possible combination forward; dis-advantage India as Yuvraj had to miss the game because of his injury. Zaheer’s absence will be felt by both teams.

Chasing 293 in never an easy task when you know for sure that you would be facing one of the best bowling attacks that come in 7 pack. With 7 for 210, the scorecard was anything but interesting for India. Australian quitely took a big nap and Indians quickly cashed on it. A fervor innings from Harbhajan and Praveen Kumar had lit the hopes of all the cricket fanatics and the match took an awkward turn again towards the end. The required run-rate at one time was more than 12, but the duo ensured that it comes down to 9 required in 6 balls. With everyone coming off of T20 style Cricket that was within the palm’s reach. Australia are deserved winners as they have put in an all-round effort but a win for India would have justified more at least for two persons, Harbhajan and Praveen.

The first ODI has more than winners and losers, it was a game that had the nostalgia of a curry, its effervescence and flavor; on the other end the speed of kangaroo, its protectionism and flamboyance. I had period of heart-attacks watching this game in awe, without anticipating the result. The perfect suspense was the best curtain raiser for this lively series between the best two. If there is any team that takes positives from this match, it would be India all the way, they are now sure what they need to move on. Australia will be left to answer their own questions, having 293 on board was less of an insurance than they thought and they had definitely learn a new lesson, its not over until its over.

Finally, my take.

Australia – 3.5 stars
India – 3 stars

Kangaroo Stars: Ponting, Hussey White and Hauritz
Curry Stars: Gambhir, Ishant, Harbhajan and Praveen

2nd ODI Preview: Yuvraj will most likely return to the side while Jadega shall be rested. It will bring a big boost to the middle order and if Yuvi sticks on for batting powerplay, Australia can forget the match, any day. Sehwag and Sachin do not fail often, one blitz will bring the opposition down like a pack of cards.

Australia will dig deep into its bowling and India can expect little more disciplined attack in the 2nd ODI. With respect to batting, nothing much will change on Australia side.

This may sound like I am biased to India, but in all honesty, India is a better team (equipped) than Australia for now.

Arrogance Paid

If there is one Cricket team that can only be more arrogant than itself, pat comes the answer as ‘Australia’ from any one. The team boasts itself of using ‘sledging’ as one of their main tactics and were always one step ahead of their opponents. This time around, the arrogance has been paid its due. Ashes defeat is not  just a display of two teams competing each other on Test Cricket and take the rubber away. England had proved what Australia in the end have lost more than what they have won. Individual players from Australia were so arrogant that their statements before and after the match were simply ridiculous. To say that I can definitely do a job is ‘confidence’ but to boast that ‘Only I can do this job’ is over-confidence and synonymous to arrogant stance.

I hope that Australia will learn its lesson that they have been the greatest team on earth not because of what they are but how they play. In the recent past, they have left this basic principle behind and came up with faces in front of Cricket.

The TEAM that is!

I could have not imagined that I would pen down appreciation for Pakistan in my dreams, but exceptions are not finite and I could not wait to scribble this down.

More than any team in this edition of T20 World Cup, Pakistan has shown everyone what a TEAM means. When you have harmony equally mixed with happiness, the result is always success and Pakistan had more than demonstrated that on the field yesterday to run down South Africa and reach the finals. A true fighter does not keep his hands behind nor blink his eyes for which the enemy relentlessly look for. South African team was caught blinking their eyes, there was complacency in their batting as well as bowling. Pakistan rightly took that to their advantage and put in their last breath of effort to make sure they are not in this tournament by choice but for the virtue of winning.

Even in the last edition, they have missed the rubber by a hair-line but true to the game India lifted the cup as they truly ‘deserve’ it. This time however, I do not see any other team not only capable of lifting the rubber but the rightful owners other than Pakistan. Only two things in Pakistan appeal me in my life, the Mohanjadarro and Wasim Akram. Now I like this Pakistan T20 outfit making it 3rd in the list.

In all possibility SA will be playing Pakistan in the finals, yet another team who also claim as legal heirs to this T20 cup and a wonderful outfit of dedicated cricketers. Pakistan on the other hand have the finnesse that is required and added to their hard work, they truly deserve this cup.

Me and my avid Cricket fan friend discuss cricket almost every single day; analyze, dissect, evaluate (you can put all the mathematical juggernaut here) assess all the situations, players, conditions and come up with something no one except us would believe and we were 90% accurate all the times. Of course you should not take my word always when I say that India will win a match as I always support my team in honor and in despair.

This T20 have taught me many more things (will be discussed later) and it was a true eye-candy to watch all these teams playing to catch up the latest band-wagon of super fast cricket action, the crowd puller and mass hit.

All the best to Pakistan and Sri Lanka (I am too fast to predict, doesn’t I?!?!).

The four fingers

There is a saying in our tradition, if you point one finger there are 4 left, pointing oneself. I felt sad at people pointing fingers at the Indian team failing to go to Semi-Finals. The so called supporters suddenly withdrew the support and started raising their voices and filled up the blogs with their analysis. Dhoni admits mistake, write most of the columnists and people started finding mistakes in the strategy. Unfortunately you would only find those flaws when you loose and when you win the same crowd applauds those choices, morons, aren’t we?

Indian Cricket team has bunch of talented individuals who always try to play their best, its indeed true with any team for that matter. However, a person cannot be always successful. And sometimes choices work and doesn’t. We the so called supporters do not have to follow blindly, but we can just shut-up when the team that we are supporting are going through rough side. One of my PG friends a sadist who always cherishes when India loose  a match called me at night and was jubilant for the fact that India had not won the match. The same illogical self-centered moron would call me had India won the match and explained me in detail who wonderfully the boys have performed. Most of us are like him, with slight variations in our thinking. My friends complain me that I support the Indian Team ‘blindly’. There is nothing in my personal thoughts that there exists a conditional support and un-conditional support. No matter what your sons or daughters do we support them and try to tell them what is good an what is bad. To abandon them is something we never do nor we should.

At any point of the match after India were to hit close to 60 runs off of 30 deliveries any Cricket loving person would have thought that they could come close to 3 runs. They put up a brave fight given the circumstances. Be it Jadega wasting deliveries or Raina’s short-ball weakness theory, we have lost the match fighting and that is what that matters.

If every person remembers the four finger theory the world would have been a better place to live in, but in reality it doesn’t.

Idle Premier League

Sitting on the sidelines of job lookout is no fun, having thrown everything that I can at the non-opportunist market, things are not going too well at this time. As with any other momentary ‘looser’, I was on roll to find my peace and what else than Cricket would be up for grabs. IPL came to my rescue to control my aggression and perform the consolation choir and the good news is I may get to see all the matches. Honestly, I would not vote myself to watch all the games as, the early that I put myself on a payroll the better is it for us.

of game, god and goodbye

Everyone hoped that India should have won the Wellington Test. They have indeed, until the God decided otherwise. Technically they have won the game and more than anything in Dhoni’s words they’ve “set the standard”.

Cricket fans had great time with the game and so does New Zealand’s small little economy. Cricket provides people with great relief as it just not a game that they come to witness, but all those legends who have graced it. Winners and losers are part and part of parcel but the game in itself is always the winner. A perfect season with T20s, ODIs and Tests have given us the taste of true game and everyone has embraced that. We were lucky, lucky enough to have watched the game reach new levels, in all the formats. T20’s adrenaline rush is simple heart throbbing while ODIs gave us quick master class and Tests provided a patient and humble experience with great knocks from both the teams. Winning over New Zealand in New Zealand is more than statistics for India. Its like a soldier conquering a peak. The peak retains its majesty by being conquered while the soldier achieves for he believed in. They both contributed to the ‘win’ and are equally important. India and New Zealand have done exactly the same, keeping the ‘game’ winning.

God had some different thoughts. When the sail seems smooth, the hurricane kicks in, testing both the sailors as well as the ship. Rain interruptions did the same to both the teams. The great part is how both took it and how they respected it. Disappointments are humble milestones, reminding everyone what their real goal is. Spectators had the fortitude to stay while the teams showed their resilience. God had tested and everyone came out with flying colors. Thanks God for letting them ‘tested’.

Legends have graced this game over the past century and more and more will come and embrace. True to most believers the Trio have delivered and delivered strong. It was a ‘eye sight’ of splendid master class and an orchestra of superior cricket. Sachin, Dravid and Lakshman have treated us with great display of their masterful strokes and have taught enough to the torch bearers. They ‘love’ the game and so does the ‘game’. They are not at their peak, but they have been there long enough for all of us to see them, enjoy and accolade. Our generation are lucky enough to have watched them, up close and intimate. The greatness of these men is defying the impossible. They can more than control their will power and provide everyone with a feeling of assurance and authority. This in all possibilities will be the last tour to New Zealand and Kiwis have welcomed them with their minds and hearts. They are prodigies who are so humble that they believed us always that it is ‘Cricket’ that is the true champion. These ambassadors of the game close the gaps between nations and make them walk and talk the same thing and it is their true destiny. New Zealand will accept their ‘good-bye’, sorry the last ‘salute’ on their turfs and true to everyone’s imagination, it will be with the utmost respect.

Long live ‘The Game’.

The train and the coins

The train is approaching and the good old copper coin is on the tracks. The coin has two fates. Get crushed under those hot iron wheels or simply fall off to a side. In my view the first option is better. The coin becomes flat, bigger and the shine of copper comes out, crystal clear. The coin is new having learnt a lesson to survive and come out bright.

Teams playing with India had similar fates recently. And, New Zealand is no exception. Before this series even began, before we (our cricket frenzy group of nerds) even analyzed the last Indian season with the birds, my prediction of the series was simple, a plain white-wash. I am a hard core Indian Team fan I agree, but my talk is not baseless. Having playing the game and watching it for this long, I have at least developed some skills. When a team searches for what they ‘believe’ in, they will find the truth. Buddha did it before and we are doing it now. Loving your goal is more important than reaching there. Once you do that, you will see several roads leading to it. Indian team is exactly going through that phase and they will be victorious now and in the near future.

Past records are shadows and will not be seen in bright light specially if its right on your head.

The Indian train is on its tracks now. As long as they are on them, they would pass through all those coins and as I said before, some get brightened again, while others simple fall off. The track denotes the path to the goal, the speed of the train is its zeal to get there, the wheels are its foundation and the engine is their hard work. There is one man in the history of Cricket who is synonymous for one word, ‘complete’. If one can make Sachin’s life into a group of human beings, you get the current Indian Team.

The morale is not to show down the coin, in fact the coin is as important as the train. The coins are Resurrected and attain Renaissance and they elevate the strength of the train. And one day the God comes in front of the coin and say, you are the next train…

Long live cricket and all those who elevate the game to new levels.

Leg Before Wicket (Keeper)

Let me first congratulate the Indian team to have won the series, although it was obvious! Sehwag and Yuvraj were ruthless and Sri Lanka truly deserves this punishment, having playing with 12 players, of course including the umpire.

Coming back to the title of the story, Sri Lankan umpires has re-defined LBW by just adding ‘Keeper’ to the wicket. Sachin was given out LBW 3 times in as many matches and none of them were right, of course in the re-defined sense, leg before wicket keeper, he was out. Having said that,  Sri Lanka have robbed the gentlemen-ship of the game from the series. It is a sad excuse on a bowlers point to appeal for an LBW when you know there was a nick from the pad. No one other than the bowler can tell that there was a nick to the bat. And, before you yell out the appeal, your heart tells you that you are asking something wrong. Ethics, by the way are completely rubbished in ths series.

Sri Lankan umpiring took the game to new lows. India is a far better, strong, superior, mature and balanced than Sri Lanka and even in their wildest dreams, Sri Lanka would not and could not defeat this outfit as long as the Indian Team plays, well quite normally. Sorry Sri Lanka for being so brutal, but it is a fact. You tried, having the umpire pulled into the team, but did not work too well. But, you have robbed the fans from witnessing magical batting display of the little master. You have robbed from all those young cricketers who idolize him from witnessing the best batting display in our times.

On a given day Sehwag, Sachin, Gambhir, Yuvraj and Raina together can add 200 runs to the score card in less than 30 overs. The only way out to win a match is to get these guys all out under 200 and under 30 overs, PERIOD. Now, this is totally impossible given their current form and Sri Lanka found another way out…umpiring.

I hope the issue will be raised by the BCCI to have fair umpiring standards and the opposite captain has the guts to revert the deliberate decision given out by the umpires. Loosing is not against pride, but winning by cunning does.

Thank You Sachin

For the first time in life, I have not followed Cricket. Mumbai scars will never ever fade away.

After talking to my friend over the phone last night, I was then aware of what was going on as he mentioned Sehwag’s outrage. Today morning, after a long break from Cricket, I opened up the browser to see that Sachin’s century has won a game for India. Nothing, nothing in this world would have made me feel consoled, be it my favorite Sachin Tendulkar. But this was special, a tribute of a Mumbaikar, a true Indian living up to the spirit he believed. He honored our tri-color too many times and now he uplifted the spirit of Mumbai and the Nation.

Thanks Sachin for being such a fighter. We need you in all the wee hours that we go through every day of our life.

Mumbai will feel proud that his son was doing his duty for his Nation, ONE MORE TIME.

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