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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Things into Perspective

I was reading a article by Nirmal Shekar that says, "When terrorism tests our very humanity, where should test cricket feature in our priorities ".

This got me thinking about my priorities as well as the world's. How many times we have said that sports or entertainment is our life and that we ignore the entire world but cricket or bollywood. I am guilty of the above and even today when I saw the paper skipped to the last page to the sports column not wanting to know whats happening in Mumbai and the life there. Yes it is a selfish act but it was one I had cultivated that I just can't help it (But should). Many who read this are also guilty of that I'm sure.

How many times we've seen sports pushed into the headlines ahead of other news. Sports is a world of illusions and we tend to get easily carried away in this fantasy. We put it above all.

We idolize cricket players for the battles they wage on the field. But where is Flintoff or Harmisson now? They are in England. The so-called Tendulkar slayers can only fight in the field. And this fight enthralls and thrills us but is the mock fight worth all our attention?

The real heroes in the last few days are the one's who gave their lives to make the World a better place. These are people who involve themselves in real fights where life's are lost and hopes are dashed. But they risk it all for others. The one's who went into the Taj, Oberoi, Nariman house and are the real brave hearts. They are the unsung heroes of India and the world. I stand and salute you even as I write (type) this. Thank you for the ultimate sacrifice. We stand by your families in prayer.

I'd like to end by quoting Patrick McEnroe the then captain of the U.S.A Davis cup. He said after 9/11, "something like this puts things into perspective. You suddenly realize that sports is such a small thing."

Friday, November 28, 2008

Tears In Heaven

26th November 2008, will be a day that will be etched in every Indian's heart and those all over the world. A day that will be remembered for the hundreds who lost their lives due to the violent ideologies of the few who turned economical capital of India into a war zone. This day will surely burn in one's memory and serve as a reminder of the consequences of terrorism and it's vast threat to peaceful and positive development in the world today.

Proud to be an Indian

The following is a poem I wrote on 27th when the operations to flush out the terrorist was going on.

Left to Wonder

In Chennai,
It's raining, raining, raining,
And in the house, I'm left to wonder.
Are they the fall of God's tears?

In Mumbai,
It's raining, raining, raining,
And in the hotel, I'm left to wonder.
Are they the fall of God's tears?

It's raining water and blood,
Happy times and grieved pains
It's all falling bullets and dew,
Snow white and red.
And I'm left to wonder.
Why oh Why?

This post is dedicated to the innocent and the brave who risked and lost their lives for the sake of a better world. I salute you. A better day is coming and without you it wouldn't be possible.

Thank you and my prayers are with you and your mourning family.
Tears In Heaven

Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven
Will it be the same
If I saw you in heaven
I must be strong, and carry on
Cause I know I don't belong
Here in heaven
Would you hold my hand
If I saw you in heaven
Would you help me stand
If I saw you in heaven
I'll find my way, through night and day
Cause I know I just can't stay
Here in heaven
Time can bring you down
Time can bend your knee
Time can break your heart
Have you begging please
Begging please
Beyond the door
There's peace I'm sure.
And I know there'll be no more...
Tears in heaven
Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven
Will it be the same If I saw you in heaven
I must be strong, and carry on
Cause I know I don't belong
Here in heaven
This song by Eric Clapton is perfect for the occasion.
To see the song video click here.

England Avoid 7-0 White Wash

England avoid the 7-0 white wash due to the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Terrorism spoils everything dosen't it (I was hoping a 7-0 result). Now the second test match will be played in Chennai (Yay).

But the jokes on the English. They lost 5-0.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Now what England?

England told they were playing for the big bucks in the Standford match and were shot out cheaply out of the match. Then in India they said they were going to play for pride and have lost the series and their little pride they had. So now with just a few matches remaining, what do they play for?

The answer is to salvage some pride but is it possible to do so?

The English team has had trouble adjusting to the Indian conditions and the situations. They have lost key moments in the match and have let India win. In the fourth match they opened with Ian Bell and Ravi Bopara when they should have opened with Flintoff or Kevin Pietersen. The side also lacks experience and apart from Flintoff and Collinghood nobody has played in India. Kevin has played a few matches but only a handful. Even the coach is someone who has never played International cricket and probably not familiar with the Indian conditions.

Apart from this the Indians have been playing competitive cricket and have challenged the world champions fearlessly. Indians have a well oiled bowling unit with quality spinners and batsman who can score blindfolded in the flat Indian tracks. The team led from the front by Dhoni presents a image of a team stronger than it really is.

Being an Indian fan I hope England will salvage some pride for the sake of the game. All I can say is God help English cricket.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Is 7-0 the scoreline in the Honda Cup?

I believe it very well could be. I right now wonder why England play cricket they should concentrate on football and leave the gentlemen’s game to other gentle men who can play the game. It is a shame to see a match without any competition. Maybe England could have have had the third match if not for the bad light.
Yuvi is on cloud nine and probably has booked himself a place in the test team against England. With two centuries in the series he has all but made another comeback to the longer format. But will he finally succeed is the question. After Ganguly could it be Yuvraj? I hope so.

Dravid finds some confidence as he hits a struggling half century for Karnataka in the Ranji Trophy. I hope he gets to his consistent ways.
The thing that puzzles me his is sudden deteriorating form. People speculated that his decision to resign from captaincy might have had something to do with his form but I believe it not to be. Rahul Dravid must have thought well of the consequences before announcing his decision. I don’t think Dravid is a person who regrets his decisions. He was in high form in England where he came up with one of the world’s greatest counter attacking 92 not out to help India. In the Pakistan series he was below par but not much but then the slide really started and a steep decline was seen against Australia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and Australia again. He did score a century against South Africa but one innings is not all, is it?

Form generally deserts those who rely on hand-eye co-ordination. As you age your eyes become a second or two late to pick up the ball and your reflexes too become slow. This naturally leads to a decline in form.As one ages he also tends to lose concentration and can be distracted often. But Rahul is a player known for his concentration. His power of concentration and ability to stay at the crease is impeccable. So that cannot be the reason for his declining form.

Players who don’t have much footwork and who use heavy bats to score runs from within the crease also tend to lose form as they age. But Rahul again is one of the most light-footed batsman in the world. His stance outside leg stump and moving in to cover leg as the bowler releases shows his amazing foot work and his graceful elegant stance.

When ever Dravid stayed in the middle, runs tickled but now even if the out-of-form batsman stays the runs struggle to come. This lack of form from the man known as the “Wall” is surprising and astounding. I cannot seem to give any reason for his current form and probably Dravid can’t either. It just may not be ‘Mr. Consistent’s time now. This is not the end of Dravid but a sad time in his glorious career. But never count him out as ‘Form is only temporary but Class is permanent’. Good luck Dravid on regaining your form and hope to see you score runs against the English.

I now have started to write at To visit my profile go to,

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Yuvi's Fire Works

Was yesterday's match a match?

It was a match but without an opponent.

It wasn't even competition, as a man whose recent form has come under heavy criticism showed the world his worth. I saw Yuvraj Singh's fantastic century only in the highlights package but couldn't help but get flash backs of Durban a year and few months before.

Yuvi wearing a belt and running with a runner came up with 138* in just 78 balls. He helped India cruise to 387 runs for just the loss of five wickets. Left-handed Yuvraj hammered 16 boundaries and six sixes in his ninth one-day century.

Beware England. Yuvi's back and could very well repeat Broad's over in the next match.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Legendary Farewell For Two Legends

This post was supposed to be a special one dedicated to Sourav Ganguly, but after Anil Kumble's suprise exit I've decided to deicate this post to two very special men who made India a cricketing power bloc.

Both men were part of history and have carved a place in history engraving their names in every Indian's heart. Anil and Souvrav were match winners, respected and honoured by team-mates and opponents alike.

Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble were a Indian Cricketers and also much more than just cricketers. Ganguly's career was of highs and lows, mountain peaks and dark valleys, from one extreme to another, yet he journeyed on and still is going strong. S. Dinakar wrote in an article I read recently, "It has been a compelling journey for the man they call Dada. While the issue of fitness has tormented him, an indomitable spirit has been his greatest ally." Fitness has also tormented kumble and probably led for his early exit. S. Dinakar writes, "Jumbo was larger than life. Kumble bucked a the odds and returned from a career-threatening shoulder injury. And he was arguably, India's biggest match-winner." And how right he is.

The Prince

Name's are special and especially if yours happens to Sourav Chandidas Ganguly. People call him by many names, Dada, The Prince, Maharaja, and the Bengal Tiger. Hate him or love him, one can't help but notice him.

On September 8th national selectors decided to drop Ganguly from the Rest-of-India team for the Irani Trophy after a poor outing in the Emerald Isles. Many speculated his future including the one who wrote this. I wrote the following on September 14th at,
I happen to read S. Dinakar’s column again and he wrote, “Sourav Ganguly is not in the Rest of India team for the Irani Trophy. Does it mean it’s the end of the road for the former India captain? In cricket you can never tell. The tale of the Bengal Tiger might not be over yet.” And how right he was. The Ganguly swansong was not over. On October 1st Ganguly was handed another life line by the new Indian selection panel. The Prince had resurrected himself again and I wrote this on October 2nd,
But on the 7th of October, I had the shock of my life. My dad informed me that Sourav has informed of his retirement. I couldn't believe my ears and thought my dad was pulling my leg when he said that Saurav Ganguly has officially announced his retirement. So I flipped through the news channels and was not ready for what I saw. It was true. One of the four jewels of the famed Indian middle-order has announced his retirement. I wrote the following on that day expressing my surprise and shock at, Nobody expected it and what was to be a just a regular press conference turned out to be the site of a nuclear bomb blast. The 36 year old former India captain said, “I have an announcement to make,” He then added: “This is my last series.” His words betrayed a feeling of hurt caused by his fans, the BCCI, and the ever scrutinizing media. He had every right to feel bad. From the time of his dream comeback at the Wanderers against South Africa, He has scored 1667 runs (not including the Border-Gavaskar Trophy), the highest by any Indian in the same period. “I don’t think you can do this in sports. You cannot do it to players like Sachin (Tendulkar), Rahul (Dravid), V.V.S. (Laxman), Anil (Kumble), and myself. Okay, we failed in one series but we have done so well over a number of years. When their time comes, they will go out on their own terms. They are men for the big occasions. When you play so long, speculations do not bother you.” said Ganguly.

The media always looking for a good story with plenty of masala and garnishing cooked up a brilliant story of the BCCI planning retirement scheme. According to it, Ganguly was on the top of the list. (I wonder where these news people get such ideas). This kind of rubbish, I hate and probably made the fab four (should be the fab five including Kumble) come under immense pressure as they had to deny that such a policy existed. Ganguly made it very clear that he was leaving on his own terms and not on any voluntary retirement scheme. “No senior player has been asked about retirement plans by the Board”, revealed Ganguly. Then Ganguly expressed his hurt in an interview to a Bengal newspaper. The exact words, I’ve posted at,
The most successful Indian left-hander was known for his glorious timing and stroke-play. His nippy stump-to-stump medium pace has often done miracles.

Ganguly who mostly plays in the off-side, tends to crouch more with a higher back-lift for off-side play. Thus he has always struggled against the ball coming in to him. He has technical shortcomings against sort-pitched deliveries. He as also had trouble in the corridor. But Ganguly worked on his batsmanship. And this was evident in his comeback where he played closer to the body with much better foot work. Greg Chappe; acknowledged, "I have never seen Ganguly bat better". Ganguly in his peak could bat in his sleep and has made runs in pitches with pace, swing and bounce. S. Dinakar writes, "In the off-side, he stroked with timing more than power; a seemingly harmless push would scorch the turf". No wonder he is known as 'the god of off-side'.

He was also India's most successful test captain with 21 victories from 49 matches. He made a group of youngsters in rags into a champion team who believed they could win every time they set on to the field. He backed players whom he trusted and just look what has happened to M.S. Dhoni because of him. He was also tough talking and had the 'in your face' attitude. He was a ruthless captain and well respected by his oppenents for his aggressive approach. He was only the second Indian captain to lead a team to the World Cup final. Even in his final series which I've termed it as his final frontier, has been a very good one. In Mohali he came up with a match-winning century and in the first innings of his last test managed to score 85. Ganguly is leaving on a high and what more could anyone ask for?
To know about Ganguly's stats go to,

S. Dinakar writes, "Loathe him for his faults or admire him for his talent, Ganguly is bound to be missed".

To know more about ganguly visit, . This link is the officail site of the Bengal Tiger,


Anil Kumble another captain of the Indian team decided to call it quits. Kumble was another player who like Ganguly, had seen the ups and downs and contributed heavily to Indian cricket but unlike Ganguly, he was a player, captain and mentor who stayed far from the public's eye. He was a behind-the-scenes kind of man who probably was India's lone match-winner in the past decade.

On November 2nd the script-writer of many Indian victories bid adieu to Test cricket in the most queer manner. He let the world know of his retirement only a few hours before his retirement. But the fashion of his exit was one the champion would not have liked nor his fans.
I wrote a post on his retirement at,

In a recent article I read, Y.B. Sarangi writes, "Despite his race against time, the man who cammanded 18 years of respect in world cricket calls it quit gracefully".
It was only fitting Kumble chose the the Kotla as the venue to bid adieu to his cricketing career. In 1999 against Pakistan, the leg-spinner bagged all ten wickets in an innings to become first Indian to hold such a record. He has 58 wickets in seven Tests at Kotla. It was also here where he made his captaincy debut and became the second person after Jim Laker to bag 10 wickets in an innings.

Kumble was a fighter who loved combats. He would fight with his last ounce of energy even in an losing cause. I remember him in Antigua in 2002 bowling with a broken jaw and getting the price wicket of Lara. Even in his last match, he bowled with a heavily bandaged hand and his last wicket, his 619, was one that he caught of his own bowling. He surely be remembered as one who gave his best and nothing less than cent percent for the team's cause. "I'd like to be remembered for giving 100 percent for the team every time I went out there", said Kumble. And that's exactly how he will be remembered. This next post explains his incredible work ethic at,
Sarangi writes, "He is not who would grimace and complain and when the finger injury told it was time. Kumble obeyed." It was Anil's fitness and not criticism that forced him to quit.

Kumble was a medium pacer turned spinner and was not the orthodox spinner. While conventional spinners relied on flight, and turn, Kumble relied on subtle pace variations, seam and bounce. His nickname Jumbo orginated from the way his balls used to take off like the flight 'Jumbo'. Kumble also has an impressive record against the Aussies which prove beyond doubt the best in the world struggled dearly with him. Kumble was a sincere student of the game and always looked to evolve his game. He revived the art of spin bowling when it looked as it would die out. S. Dinakar writes, "The presion of Kumble's bowling, the ability to send down long spells with control and accuracy, subtle variations, slight spin and killer bounce made him a formidable adversary."

Kumble was also a gentle man who never did of anything which brought disgrace to him, the team or the game. In his 18 long years he was never pulled up for bad behavior. This next post probably describes him better, The Bangalore player was also respected by team mates and opponents alike.
Kumble also reached out to the youngsters in the team. Kumble's discipline and preparation before and during matches and his words of guidance always helped the new-comers feel at home. Amit Mishra reveals that it was Kumble who first called him to tell him of his selection and the champion leaves a void that will be bitterly fought between Amit Mishra and Piyush Chawla. Youngsters saw Kumble as a role model and a warrior who would not lift his hands to kill even a fly. He was a warrior with a big heart who would only topple over batsman. The team's admiration towards their captain was seen during his send off at Kotla. Kumble was also another player who made many a comebacks. His comeback in 1992 made him a permenant player for the team. His comeback in 2001 after a shoulder surgery only showed his resolve. Kumble was a devastating bowler in any pitch and in Australia in 2004 he almost won India the series as pitches with bounce suited his bowling more. Kumble also has made many valuable partnership with the tail. It was only rightfull that he have a century to his name. Though 'Kumble the humble gaint' has called it a day he will always live on.

To know more about India's leading wicket taker visit, .This link is the official site of Kumble,

Farewell to both Kumble and Sourav. Thank you for your contribution and for the smiles you put on all Indians face. It will be impossible to replace you and we all will terribly miss you. Hope you have a pleasant time after cricket. Good luck on your cricket academy Kumble and all future plans of the former captains. Good Luck and good bye.

Wish you a happy time after cricket.
To see Kumble's perfect 10 go to,
And to see Dada bat like never before go to,

Farewell Legands

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Farewell Kumble

The third test between India and Australia turned out to be a drawn match despite heroic performances. But this post is not about the match but about the man who led India into the match.

Anil Kumble announced his retirement from Test cricket just after tea with India sitting pretty at 206 for 5. Kumble after much criticism for his captaincy and his recent bowling form decided to hang up his boots sending shock waves throughout the cricketing fraternity. It was a surprise and shocking announcement not only for me and his fans but also to the very men he shared his dressing room with. What was to be wonderful Sunday turned out to be a sad day when India lost one of it's favorite sons.

India's leading wicket taker and the third highest in the world Anil was more than a match winner. He made his international debut in 1990 and has taken the world by surprise. Kumble not being an conventional leg-spinner bought to the game a whole new dimension. He used to bowl much faster and relied on bounce and seam rather than the orthodox flight and spin. He trapped many with his faster ones and hence rightfully called Jumbo (After the flight which like his deliveries took off fast). His subtle variations and his famous 'flipper' always managed him wickets. Kumble surely revived the dying art of spin bowling.

In test cricket Jumbo has 619 wickets at an average of 29.59, second best only to Muralitharan and Warne. He also has 35 five wicket hauls and 8 ten wickets hauls. Jim Laker and Kumble are the only bowlers ever to capture all ten wickets in an innings and Kumble could not have chosen a better venue to bid adieu to his cricketing career. In 1999 against Pakistan, the leg-spinner bagged all ten wickets in an innings to become first Indian to hold such a record. He has 58 wickets in seven Tests at Kotla. In the shorter format he has 337 wickets at a price of 30.89 a wicket. He is the highest Indian wicket holder in the world.

Kumble also stayed far from controversies and always maintained himself as a gentleman. The perfect ambassador of the game. Kumble also had strong work ethic and would always give his cent percent. He provided break-throughs and has contributed with his bat whenever necessary. He was a bowler who would bowl for a long spell under hot and humid conditions and always with a smile.

Will we ever find a replacement? Definitely not. Not of kumble's class. Ever.
How dearly his many fans including yours truly would miss his smile at grabbing an important wicket or seeing his smiling face even when losing. And how much more to look at the score card without any 'Bowled Kumble - Caught Dravid'. One thing is sure though, we all will terribly and i mean oh so terribly miss him.

So all I have left to say is Thank You Anil Kumble for all the wonderful memories and the many smiles you have brought upon our faces. Farewell and Good Luck. May life be always kind to the MAN WITH THE BIG HEART.