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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cheater




I Coudn't believe my ears when I heard that Marcus Edward Trescothick was none another than a cheat. In his soon to be released autobiography he admits to the use of mints to keep the shine on the ball during the 2005 Ashes series. I was ashamed that England's most influential opening batsman and someone whom I respected was a cheat. In his book he admits that it was due to the shine that Jones and Flintoff achieved their unplayable reverse swing. I'm sorry Trescothick, but you let down not only yourself and your familly but also England and everyone who follows cricket.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Good Luck Michael Vaughan





Michael Vaughan is the greatest English test captain since 1878 and in my list of top 10 captains of all time. But on the 2nd of August I received a shock hearing Vaughan step down from captaincy. He has led England in 52 test matches, has won 26, and has lost only 11 including the first two tests with South Africa recently. Being an average batsman in and out of the team due to injuries Vaughan has knitted together a group of players who give every last ounce of energy to the team. England under him plays as a unified team with fire in their eyes. Taking over captaincy from Nasser Hussein when English cricket was in a precarious situation is not an easy task. Being young and energetic he transformed a group of children to fighters who won the 2005 Ashes. I believe that if he was in the 2006-2007 Ashes the score line of whitewash might have been different instead of 5-0. I always admire the way he handles controversies by not blowing it out of proportion. His vast knowledge of the game and quick thinking has always awed me. I remember in the 2007 World Cup in West Indies where in a super8 match against Sri Lanka he set the perfect field for Vass. Vass who plays the cut often was set a field with a point, backward point, third man, and a gully. He was soon out caught in the region. Vaughan did not contribute much with his bat but with his astute leadership skills contributed for the team. He was only in the English team as a captain and not as a batsman. It is difficult to admit that one is wrong but on the 2nd of August Michael Vaughan felt that something was wrong. It must have been really difficult giving up captaincy when you are well respected by your team mates and opponents alike. Used to leading the team out to the field wearing the cap with the three lions, standing at mid-on giving instructions to the bowler or standing at the slip cordon and setting the field, and being used to giving orders by just lifting his hands and being obeyed, it must be difficult to give it all up. Now that he resigned from captaincy he has lost a place in the side. I hope all the best for his future as he leaves for Yorkshire who does not seem to want an out of form No. 3 batsman. I wish him all the best. Good luck Vaughan and farewell.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Positive again




Asif tests positive again for doping. Is his career over?

Well I think it well should be over. Taking performance ehancing drugs is intollerable. Drugs are for cheaters, And Asif is a cheat.

NINE slips





Awesome fieldsetting or what?

India's Favorite Sport




As an Indian my favourite sport just has to be cricket mainly because cricket is followed much more than a sport in India. India is a land of religions and cricket is a religion for most Indians. It’s a country where the players are treated like Gods. Cricket in India is more than a game it’s national pride and prestige. And I’m one of the many cricket fanatics found in India.
I love cricket not only for all its glory and controversies and the skills it trains but also for the many traits it implants in the many that play the game.
Cricket has three forms. My personal favourite is test match which is played normally for five days in white. Test cricket is a test of character where the batsman, the bowler, the fielders, and the captain cannot afford to lose concentration for even a minute as one catch spilled or a moment of indecision turns an entire match around. It tests the player’s integrity, patience, power of concentration and many other skills. My favourite test player is Rahul Dravid alias ‘the wall of Indian cricket’. He probably is the most technically correct batsman in the modern era. He is the fifth highest run scorer in the world and the second highest Indian run getter. I admire him his consistency. I had the pleasure of watching Dravid score his 10,000th run in chepauk. I love his rock solid defence. The team’s dependence on him is clearly seen. No wonder they call him Mr. Consistent.
ODI or One Day International is the most prominent of the three. It was this that made India a country of cricket crazy people. In 1983 when a group of underdogs led by a fearless captain (Kapil Dev) stopped the world champions West Indies and won the world cup. In the limited overs edition the player’s temperament and the power of adaptability to a situation are the main skills required. Here the players have to be agile. And I can’t think of player better than Sachin Tendulkar in this format. Sachin being only 5.4 ft is the highest ODI run scorer with the most number of centuries is my all time favourite. The little master blaster mixes conventional class and elegance with the modern innovative and power strokes. I will always remember him upper cutting Brett Lee’s bouncer over the slips in the third man region for boundaries in WACA, Perth. But one has to be amazed to see a man of such great achievement being ever so humble and simple.
Twenty20 or T20 is the newest form. It is fast paced, exciting and the game for the youth. It involves big hitting and precise bowling, mixed with sharp fielding. The Indian Premier League (IPL) was a grand success proving that cricket is not dying as many criticized.
I also love cricket for the many traits it implants. Adam Gilchrist and Kumara Sangakara are probably the few who are true in the game. Gilchrist did what no one ever did before; he walked when he was out even if the umpire didn’t give him out. Following their examples a nineteen year old boy, Shreevats Goswami walked when he was out though the umpire thought otherwise in the recently concluded IPL. I couldn’t hide my joy seeing him walk and own responsibility. What great role models they are! I also adore Dravid for selflessly keeping wickets in the 2003 world cup in order to achieve the perfect team balance. Mohinder Amaranth when hit by a bouncer from Holding crumbled to the ground bleeding, but after a few minutes in which he received medical attention, wearing the same blood stained shirt hooked the very next ball from Holding for a huge 6. Talk about nerves of steel!! Kapil Dev in the semis of 1983 world cup walked in to bat with India looking down the barrel being 17 for 5. But Kapil Dev smashed the ball all over the park sending the fielders on a leather hunt. He scored a match winning ton of 175 runs. What a way to lead from the front!!! The most astute thinkers and tactical planner of the game is probably none other than former Kiwi captain, Stephen Fleming. His level of thinking and vast knowledge of the game has always awed me. I also admire Inzamam ul Haq (not for his captaining) for sticking by his team even forfeiting a test match. I was astounded by the way he stood by his team in the oval test of 2007 putting his entire career in jeopardy. Saurav Ganguly, the ‘prince of Calcutta’ when he went through a lean patch was sacked as captain and soon disposed from the Indian team. Greg Chappell (then the coach of India) was more than happy to see Ganguly’s back. But after 18 months it was Greg Chappell who stood and applauded Ganguly’s comeback against South Africa. Ganguly did not stop there but went on to be the leading run scorer last year in test. From an improbable future in international cricket, he now is one of the permanent members in the test side. How’s that for perseverance and determination? Cricket is made up of people who devote every single moment to perfect the game and being role models to the millions watching.
What is a sport without controversies? From the ‘bodyline test’ in 1932-1933 ashes series to the recently concluded Sydney test of 2008, plenty of controversies are found. But when ever I think about the Sydney test of 2008 I can’t help feel being cheated and I remember Bill Woodfull’s words “Only one team is playing cricket, the other is not even trying.” From Michael Atherton’s ball tampering issue to Afridi’s ‘dancing’ on the pitch and ICC policy to expel Zimbabwe, cricket has it all. ‘Bad boy’ Shoib Akthar and Mohamed Asif provide plenty of drama outside the cricket ground. The slap-gate controversy involving Harbhjan Singh and Sreesanth turned into the most visited video in Youtube. These small incidents do mar the game but it keeps the game animated. I am strongly against players taking performance enhancing drugs. Doping should be completely eradicated if cricket is to stay a gentleman’s game. I also condemn players revealing valuable team plans, composition and details to bookies for large amounts of money. But even with all this cricket continues to captivate and enthral me.
Tense rivalry between countries always makes watching the match all the more worthwhile. India versus Pakistan and the Ashes are always known to draw big crowds. Intense rivalry between bat and ball is what the game is all about. Tendulkar against Warne or Ponting against Flintoff makes cricket everything but dull. I like nothing better than to sit on the couch on a Saturday morning watching a fast bowler running in and delivering the ball only to see him being hit straight down the ground for a boundary. Last year was an excellent year for cricket. India won the T20 world Cup redeeming itself after the Caribbean catastrophe. I remember hiding in my room (I was sent to bed early as the next day I had the Quarterly exams) seeing Yuvraj hit those six sixes. India then won the under19 WC and from there went from height to height.
I don’t normally spend a lot of time with my family. But on weekends I get to spend a lot of time with my parents and my brother. We all sit around in the living room watching a good match or debating on cricket related issues. Debating and discussing cricket is probably a national hobby. Cricket helps us spend time with others which is otherwise difficult in our super fast paced world. This summer I had a wonderful time with my family. Every night we used to eat together watching the Indian Premier League. I like cricket because it brings people close and together. Even in school cricket help me make a lot of friends. It helps me to break barriers when talking to a stranger since both of us can relate to the topic. People all over the world learn new customs and traditions of the different players playing the game. It brings us all together and that’s probably the greatest reason I like cricket. No wonder it’s the Gentleman’s game. We must forever be in debt to the English for finding such a brilliant and fascinating game.