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Monday, December 29, 2008

And The Awards Go To.................

This is the First Annual Presidential Awards for the year 2008.
The awards are awarded to the various players and teams on the basis of performance in 2008.

Best Rookie Player - Ajanta Mendis (Sri Lanka)
Best Bowler - Dale Steyn (South Africa)
Best Batsman - Shivnarine Chanderpaul (West Indies)
Best Captain - M.S. Dhoni (India)
Team Of The Year - South Africa

ODI OF 2008
Best Rookie Player - Ajantha Mendis (Sri Lanka)
Best Bowler - Nathan Bracken (Australia)
Best Batsman - M.S. Dhoni (India)
Best Captain - Graeme Smith (South Africa)
Team Of The Year - India

T20 OF 2008 (Including IPL)
Best Rookie Player - Shaun Marsh (Rajastan Royals & Australia)
Best Bowler - Sohail Tanvir (Rajastan Royals & Pakistan)
Best Captain - Shane Warne (Rajastan Royals)
Team Of The Year - Rajastan Royals & West Indies

Best Of 2008
Best Rookie Player - Ajanta Mendis (Sri Lanka)
Best Bowler - Dale Steyn (South Africa)
Best Batsman - M.S. Dhoni (India)
Best Captain - M.S. Dhoni (India)
Best Coach - Gary Kirsten (India)
Best Umpire - Simon Tuffel
Best Commentator - Tony Greig & Harsha Bhogle
Best Team - South Africa

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Team of the Year

Recently Peter Roebuck published his test team of the 2008.

His team consists of Gambhir and Graeme Smith opening the batting. Hashim Amla first down followed by K.P (Pietersen). Chanderpaul and A.B. de Villiers are at 5th and 6th respectively. Captain and keeper Dhoni is followed by Ryan Sidebottom, Dale Steyn, Mitchell Johnson and Ajanta Mendis.

Roebuck's team has only one Australian player, clearly showing the fall in the Aussies performance and their depleting strenght. The list contains 4 South Africans and 2 Indians indicating that these two are surely the next number 1 and number 2.

Many Indians missed the list by a whisker. Sehwag lost his spot to Graeme Smith since Smith has scored two fourth innings century coming in an winning cause.

Dravid who had a dismal year was out of the race for the first down spot.

But Sachin Tendulkar was a close second for the no.4 spot. While Sachin has scored more than Pietersen, the English skipper has an average of 50, just 2 runs ahead of the master blaster.

There is no doubt of Chanderpaul's position as he has scored 909 runs at an average of 101.

V.V.S. Laxman lost to A.B. de Villiers. V.V.S. and A.B. have both scored a double century this year and have been in prolific form but the latter has a match winning ton at Perth in the fourth innings guiding his team to victory. V.V.S.' lack of runs against the English also affected his place.

Dhoni keeps wicket and also leads the team.

Sidebottom and Steyn lead the bowling attack. Styen with 66 wickets at 21 apiece was a sure choice, but the inclusion of the injury prone Yorkshire man is a surprise. Though he has 47 scalps at 20, it was all in English conditions against the Kiwis. I believe Ishant Sharma should be with 38 wickets at 31. These wickets were taken in the sub-continent and thus a little expensive.

Mitchell Johnson, the lone Australian in the squad is there with 61 wickets.

Mendis is the surprise man. Though he has 26 Indian wickets at an average of 18, he just played 3 matches - too less to consider him. I would have chosen Harbhajan Singh who has 63 wickets this year.

If this team is supposed to indicate anything, it indicates the end of the Australian domination and the rise of the Indians and the South Africans.

Thursday, December 25, 2008



Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Rightful Champions

With the Australian empire fast crumbling, the fight for supremacy rages on. South Africa and India fight for the crown to be no.1 in Tests. South Africa is ahead in the current rankings but I believe what Ian was saying is right.

“Currently, India is energised by the formidable challenge of playing Australia while the prospect still intimidates South Africa,” Ian Chappell claims. I believe he is right.

"The real measure of where a team stands in relation to Australia is not a computer ranking but how they fare when they play the champions at home. India has displayed the nerve and skill to win matches against Australia on their turf and in the most daunting of venues, the WACA. They are the more worthy heir to Australia’s throne." South Africa did beat them now chasing an improbable 400 plus target in the fourth innings but still the Indians are much better as they relish the fact of playing against the crumbling champions.

One might argue......................let him argue.

Hail the new Indian World Champs.

Sri Lanka Dangerous

After India called off the series with Pakistan, the PCB have invited Sri Lanka in India's place. The Sri Lankan cricket team doesn't have any security concerns and the tour seems likely to progress. Why this lack of concern, you ask.

I'll tell you.

Cause, Sri Lanka is more Dangerous than Pakistan (What neighbors we have!!!).

Monday, December 22, 2008

Rome is Falling

All empires crumble. Some just hang round longer than others, and at their zenith it seems as though they will be there for ever. But they all go down eventually. The greatest empire Rome fell and now the cricketing empire imagined by Allan Border, forged by Mark Taylor and defended by Steve Waugh is falling and crumbling too fast. Faster than the current economies of the world.

Everyone knew that the empire was declining but after Australia's loss to South Africa at WACA one must be suprised at the rate of decline. Alex Brown writes, "No batting unit had ever achieved such a feat in Australia, yet the South Africans completed the task with such ease and poise as to defy comprehension that this was their first Test victory on Australian soil in 14 years".
The Aussies are only a pale shadow of their past and their number one ranking is more of it's past glorious conquests than recent performance. The Aussies are crumbling and the world watches. "Australia will officially abdicate Test cricket's throne if South Africa emerge victorious in Melbourne and Sydney, and on the evidence of the past week, it is a distinct possibility".
The takers of the crown are the Proteas and the Indians. Both are neck to neck in the current rankings with Smith's men leading by a whisker. But days are not far when the struggle for supremacy over the crown between India and South Africa starts. Mark Anthony and Augustus Caesar fought for the crown of Julius and now Dhoni and Smith will fight for Ponting's throne.
Hail the new world champions.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cricket in Heaven

Tom and Bill were close friends - real close friends- right from 10. They always had time for each other and now both are in the last leg of their lives.

Tom and Bill are in their nineties (90's).

One fine day Bill falls sick (He didn't fall down) and is told by doctors that he has only three (3) days left to live (Not a fine day is it?). Tom on hearing the bad news rushes over to his friend's side. The two friends laugh and have the time of their lives as they remember the 'Good ole days'. Finally when Tom has to leave, with tears in his eyes, he asks his dying friend a final favour. He asks Bill to see if they play cricket in heaven.

Bill passes away, the following day.

About a week after, in Tom's dream, bill appears and says that he has some good news and some bad news.
The good news is that they do play cricket in heaven and the bad news is that Tom was to be opening the batting tomorrow.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Night in Taj with Terrorists.

Sridhar Manthani was one of the many stuck in the Taj during the terror attack and slept through the night with his cell phone off!

The following is Sridhar Manthani's account of the incident.

I had a meeting next morning at 10am with a visitor from France. Instead of getting up early and going to airport in Bangalore, I decided to go the previous night and stay.
I reached the hotel around 6pm, dropped my bag and wanted to eat some sea food. I asked the concierge for directions and went to Trishna which is about 15min walk in the Fort area.
I came back after dinner again walking back and went to my room around 9pm. This time I was alone in the hotel so did not hang out in the bar for a drink. Also I wanted to watch the cricket match.
I went to the room, watched the match and around 10:30, the TV went blank. Minutes later, I was about to sleep when I get a call from font desk saying there is some disturbance in the lobby and do not come out of the room. The lady was calm and I thought must be some big party going on. I heard some blasts, but I thought it must be some wedding and fire crackers were being burst.
I called back in 10 min to the operator so that I can put a wake up call at 6am, but none picked up. Then I kept calling the receptionist and some lady eventually picked up. I asked for a wake up call and also asked fora Masala chai to be sent at 6:15am. She took the order. I asked about the disturbance. She calmly said, it is almost under control and she will call and let me know once it is fully under control
I heard a few more thuds and ambulances, but I slept off and woke up at 6:30am. I was cursing the front desk for not waking me up and also the room service for the masala chai. I said to myself - even in Taj how can they do this. I now feel foolish for thinking that.
I wanted to go down but before that I called and wanted to ask how come they missed my wake-up call and room service. None picked up the phone. I generally wanted to go down for a morning walk for half hour but luckily I turned on my cell phone. Within minutes my Admin. called me and warned me and said my wife was very worried. They watched on TV and there was no way to contact me all night.
I called my family and parents and said I was safe. Still I did not know the gravity of the situation. I used my blackberry to get onto news and it said 40 dead in Taj. Then everyone asked me to stay put in the room. I called a police DGP friend of mine and he said he will put my name on the VIP manifest but told me that everyone in Taj is on the list anyway.
I smelt smoke and turned of all lights and drew the curtains and I was a bit agitated initially but I became fatalistic and then was quite calm and joking with my wife and friend continuously on the SMS. They were updating me but underplaying it.
I heard thuds and gun shots, but I stayed put. I raided the minibar for water and nuts and for once they wont charge exorbitantly for the stuff in it!
At 2pm the NSG commandos were creating huge noises in the corridor. I thought they may be terrorists but I saw thru the peep hole and saw 5-6 guys with guns all dressed the same way (black dress fully armed). When they asked anyone in the room I opened the door. They had my hands up and frisked me and checked my ID and two batches of people asked questions. They asked me to speak in hindi. Then they asked me to speak in English. They were very fluent in English and they asked what I do etc. Then they asked me to be in a group of 5 others (all foreigners from that floor). We were escorted down the fire exit stairs 8 floors. They were extremely cautious checking each hallway and stair well going ahead of us and saying all clear. It took 15 min to get down. When we came to 2nd floor and down, we saw blood and gore all over, high heeled shoes etc. bodies dragged thru blood all over the floor. Even the lobby was like a war zone. That is when it hit me and it is hard to recover from the scene.They put us in an ambulance with red cross and Mumbai police and took us to police station. They debriefed us took all details and Taj wanted to put us up in other hotels, but I got to the airport and took 6pm flight back to Bangalore
My family was shaken more than I imagined because they were seeing TV.
All is well that ends well.

Surely an heart warming tale, isn't it?

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Ball Driven With a Stick

How many times have we heard people define cricket as 'a funny game'. In Dr. Johnson's dictionary he describes cricket as a 'sport wherein a ball is driven with a stick'. This is probably the perfect definition ever describing the game.

Cricket is more a mind game than anything else. Modern cricket has just added more complexities to it's elementary nature. But I don't believe in one bit of the Australian method of getting under the opponents skin. The game's new skill is what Steve Waugh calls ''the mental disintegration" of opponents. In other words sledging.
Ponting thinks it is part and parcel of the game and said that the Watson-Gambhir on field clash at Delhi was not unacceptable and termed it as a 'banter'.

As cricket becomes a more complicating game it also becomes an ugly game. Former Indian skipper Anil Kumble holds the view no Asian can stomach blasphemous statements. And I too agree to that.

I just wonder where 'the gentleman's game' has disappeared to.

God help (SAVE) cricket.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Indian Victory?

Please Strauss spare India in the next match, two centuries is more than enough.

Seeing Sehwag bat 387 dosen't seem like a long way off. Go Sehwag.

The Prince of Calcutta backs Dravid. “One should not judge Dravid by a few failures. His loss of form is temporary and I am sure he will come up with a big knock to silence his critics,” Ganguly said, “Dravid is a great cricketer. It will be wrong to say that it is over for him.”

Hopefully Dravid finds his form this match.

I'm concluding this post saying two things,

1.) Go for the kill India.................waiting for a 1-0 scoreline. 2.) Good luck Dravid.................hope to see you in the midst of runs.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Long live the New Indian World Champs

Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has come under enormous scrutiny from the media after the Border-Gavaskar series for putting his own interest before the team’s.

Ponting’s decision to bowl part timers over his specialized bowlers in the fourth test having a defensive field set has been criticized heavily. By bowling the dubious spin of Clarke, Katich, Cameron White and the medium pace of Mike Hussey over Brett Lee and ‘leftie’ Johnson, Australia let down a chance to win or even tie the match. The thought behind the decision was to avoid a ban or a fine for the team and the captain. By doing this he let India gain the advantage and eventually win the match. And he sure was lucky that debutant Jason Krejza took a record 12 wickets which cost him only about 358 runs - far from a match winning effort.

Hope Ponting will not look to abandon proven approaches like he did in Nagpur. I was never a big admirer of the Taswegian’s leadership but was amazed to see such a seasoned campaigner resort to negative tactics. No wonder all retired captains are asking for his head all over the world.

After losing to India, the Aussies won against the Black caps but is a test win against the New Zealanders something worth winning or more even a record or a achievement? Now Ponting’s biggest challenge comes as the South Africans go down under to challenge the ‘Mighty Aussies’.

I’d like wish Punter good luck versus the South Africans as he would need it badly. I’d like to end this post quoting Frank Tyson, “So the Australian World Champs are dead - Long live the New Indian World Champs”.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

We are ready Barmy Army

Welcome back to the land of a billion people England.
We (I infer to Indians as we) are ready for you.
Hope to see a 2-0 result this time.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Mr.Warne Sledges Again

Legendary Australian Leggie Shane Warne has started his old business of sledging again. But this time it's in a different way. In his new book 'Shane Warne's Century' where he talks of 100 cricketers of his choice he has dished out at former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly questioning his leadership and batting skills.

"Sourav Ganguly might not be my cup of tea as a bloke, but what he did for Indian cricket has to respected", he said justifying his inclusion in his book.

"He is a feisty sort of character, not short of self-confidence or unaware of his standing in Indian life. He is regarded over there, especially around his teeming home city of Calcutta, as one of the greatest ever Indian captains. They won more games under him than anybody else, so I guess the statistics back that up. Personally, I am not so sure," he said.

He also questioned his management skills and writes,
"I think he had some outstanding players and solid characters in the team. Do you need to be a great leader to win games with Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble in the ranks. Tactically, he was not among the best leaders I came up against, and his management skills left a bit to be desired."

Warne felt Ganguly was not outstanding as a batsman and said even minnows Bangladesh tried to get his wicket on his vulnerability to short-pitched bowling.
"I think that every bowling attack in the world, even Bangladesh, has tried to get him with the short ball or has placed a couple of gullies for those left-handed slashes that he likes."

And then to add insult to injury (or insult upon insult) he said, "Supporters know him as the Prince of Calcutta'. The story is that he gave himself the nickname and it stuck."

Warne also took a dig at Arjuna Ranatunga saying, "Through gritted teeth, I have put Arjuna Ranatunga in my 100, because everybody knows I don't like Ranatunga... if there was any way I could knock him down to number 101 for the purposes of this book, I'd be delighted to do so".

All I got to say is. "Mister Warne, when it comes to sledging the Aussies are the best. And this is something that I do not like one bit".

Monday, December 1, 2008

True Spirit of the Game

The following poem is written by yours truly.
The best from around the world
at the top of their game
compete in a huge rat race,
to finish first among their mates;
With their skills and technique,
they make magic in front of billions all over the world.
And only those who devote every minute
will ever finish; as it takes only the elite.

But guts and glory is not all.
Blood, sweat and tears are part and all.
Years of practice, preservation and determination
narrows down to the present one moment.
As tension rises, blood boils,
eyes bulge and the heart rapidly pumps.
The spectacle will run undisrupted,
unhindered and unbounded.

This game, the spectacle is the best,
played by the elite all over the world,
for the hopes and pride of the billions who watch.
It’s called as the gentleman’s play
and all who play follow that simple way.
Winning and losing is part of the game,
but the real magic is upholding the name;

- To play in the true spirit of the game