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Saturday, May 16, 2009

My Childhood Dream.

I lazily climbed out of the bed and headed towards the luxurious bathroom in my room in the famous Taj Coromandel. Today was the big day and also the day that I turn eighteen. I looked in the mirror and saw not an eighteen year old boy but a small boy about ten years ago stare back.

The small boy, who like every other Indian boy dreamed of playing for his country in his country’s colours and here I was in front of the mirror unable to hold back my emotions as they rushed in. I splashed cold water on my face hoping that it would hide my joyful tears. Could it be that the same boy who once was almost paralyzed be playing for the Indian cricket team in today’s match?

I arrived at the stadium and soon was into drills and practices. Fielding drills and last minute warm ups went while the captain won the toss and elected to bat in the first test between India and Australia. I learned then that the eighteen year old boy would be making his debut in this match by opening for his country. A childhood dream just became true. And for a cricket fanatic like me, who lived, ate and breathed cricket it was more than a dream. Of the millions, I was chosen here to represent my country and that was something one always longs for.

I quickly donned my batting gear and as I bent down to tie my shoe lace; I could see my fingers tremble at the mere thought of playing for my India.

Seeing the sun beating down hard, the clouds motionless, one knew that it was going to be a stuffy humid day. I didn't seem to mind the temperature as I didn't notice it, at least not until I had donned my equipment and took my blade.

I stepped out of the pavilion along with Gambhir and instantly was blinded by the sun. Though temporarily blinded I could hear thunderous roar greeting as we walked to the centre. I looked around and saw people cheering and welcoming the two Indian warriors as they walked towards the pitch. I saw my mother and father and all my loved ones and friends in the pavilion cheering me on. The others, barely even knew my name but here they were applauding.

What was waiting for me, I did know. I was preparing for years for this one moment and now I suddenly felt not ready. As I took each step towards the centre, the more the feeling persisted. The hope and joy of a billion people was now suddenly on my young shoulders.

The mercury seemed to go a few centigrade up all the sudden as I reached the centre. And I started to sweat profusely.

“Leg Stump”, I said to the umpire and carefully took my time taking guard. Then as I surveyed the field, I felt shivers up my spines. The expectations were high, the adrenaline was flowing, my heart beating madly as my childhood dream that I had nourished for the last decade or so was to become reality. I said a few words for heavens to hear.

The first ball of the match would be bowled by Brett Lee, the fastest in the world. He had the ball in his hand, the fielders were ready, the keeper was ready, the stadium was ready, and the world was ready and here was my chance to live my dream.

I took my stance, and rapped the ground hard twice and the umpire said play. Lee came running in as the world waited with baited breath and I with my heart in my throat.

The ball was released, my bat hit the dirt, and behind me, my timber shattered. First ball duck was my score; a debutant had struck out first ball for a golden duck.

As I walked back, my head fixed on the giant screen as it replayed my childhood dream. A Yorker at 150 Kilometres was all it took to end my childhood dream.

But as I neared the pavilion, I felt my heart light and my head with immersed in the joy of tasting the dream that I had carried, nurtured, and hoped to live every minute for the last ten years. It was as if a huge boulder had been lifted from my shoulder and I could only wait and hope for my second innings.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cricket Fielding Postions

The following are fielding Positions simplified for easy understanding.





Monday, May 11, 2009

Still much to be desired.

Kolkata Knight Riders, the most controversial team of the IPL and also the last team in the table still has much to give to it's large fan population.

With so much commercialism being done on the team and with an foreign coach who has led the Aussies for world cups it only succeeds to disappoint us all.

I, never was a fan of John Buchanan's coaching and think that his coaching is plain stupidity.

Having a foreign coach in an international team makes sense. But in the IPL, where only four internationals are playing, the coach is better of if he is an Indian. An Indian coach can communicate in the same language and not feel out of water. Also an Indian coach will have seen the players playing in Ranji or other domestic circles, so he can spot talent in the domestic circle and bring up them. But a foreign coach only has statistic to look from. A player should be selected based on his temperament and his talent rather than figures on a computer.

No team will win only due to the four internationals so the other seven players are also important.

Chennai, was quick in this department and through director V.B. Chandrasekar, the likes of Gony and Thyagi emerged. These were unheard players now contributing big time.

Kolkata, are playing with three keepers in their ranks. Wriddhiman Saha, one of India's brightest keepers is being played in the eleven as a specialist batsman. This shows the lack of talent in the squad or the team management's ignorance.

Having said all this, the captain also is in the mix. McCullum may be the best thing in New Zealand, but definitely not in the IPL. He is not captain material. I don't find him doing any leading on the field and does not motivate his players on the field. His thinking is also so much clobbered like Buchanan's.

McCullum, if he was a responsible captain, in this time when the runs aren't flowing for him, he should take up keeping. Instead he fields and drops sitters. A captain should lead from the front and McCullum having a highest of 21 in this IPL surely doesn't qualify.

In yesterday's match, I saw a sign that said "Ganguly, We love you forever". Buchanan may have ignored him and so may have Shah Rukh Khan (saying Ganguly is a 'dude' doesn't qualify), yet he persists. Ganguly would and will be a much better captain than McCullum for the simple reason that he can communicate to his players in the way they can understand in their own language. Besides he is already known to this situation of building up a team of aggressors from a nurturing bunch of youngsters.

Ignoring Ganguly's credential as a skipper has surely caught Kolkata in a position they are in now.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Commercial Strategy Breaks

Strategy Breaks is a new concept in the IPL this year like KKR's multi-captain theory. And it is just as stupid as the multi-captain idea.

Harry Catchpole writes in his article, "Lalit modi's addition to IPL-2 of a tactical timeout - is the most transparent commercialisation since....well since the IPL re-branded a six as a 'DLF maximum'."

The game of cricket revolves around the key factor of momentum, be it test cricket, ODI's, or T20. After a break the batsman who is well set in takes time again to settle in, and in a fast paced game such as twenty 20, this is not advisable. There is little cricket in this strategy breaks and the Chennai Super Kings coach has agreed that he was at loss of words to tell his team during this break.

The IPL got Rs. 300 crore in television advertising last year and this time a 10 second slot is worth Rs. 4 Lakhs. So due to the break 2.4 crore is earned each match.

Sachin Tendulkar and many others are against this time out, and this will not be followed in the twenty 20 world cup. (Hooray). At least common sense prevails in some place.