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Saturday, June 20, 2009

My bet is on Pakistan

Another finals with two sub - Continental teams. I vouched for the Windies yesterday but sadly they were blown away by the brilliance of Dilshan. In the finals I'm betting on Pakistan. i know this sounds crazy as all logic points to Sri Lanka and also since so many cricket experts such as Harsha, Srinath, Ganguly are for the men from the emerald isles. But I justify my prediction that it will Pakistan who will emerge as winners tomorrow in the following points.

1.) Pakistan have a strong batting line up unlike the Sri Lankans. They bat all the way down while the batting for the Lankans rests on the shoulders of the top four.

2.) Among the top four of the Sri Lankan batting, only Dilshan and Sangakara have produced runs in the tournament so far. Jayasuria (other than the one innings against the Gayle and Co. in the group stage) and Jayawardena are yet to open their account. These are the main batsman who carry the task for scoring runs.

3.) The Pakistan bowling is strong just like the Sri Lankans, but the Pakistanis have Umer Gul who gets the ball to reverse swing so early in the innings. Also the variety of Shahid Afridi is just as lethal as the carom bowler, Mendis. Muralitharan will be threat for Pakistan. Slinger Malinga not in the best of colour can be juiced for runs while the 8 overs from Angelo Mathews and Udana are the weak link for Sri Lanka.

4.) The Pakistan team has a more experienced and balanced side compared to the Sri Lankan outfit. While Sri Lanka has a lot of younger faces, Pakistan have only 2 or 3 new boys. In a finals where nerves will be shaking, the team that will win will be the team that can contain those nerves.

5.) Though Pakistan fielding continues to be ordinary, it has improved over the course of the tournament.

6.) The peaking of Afridi - the batsman adds fangs to an already powerful batting lineup.

7.) History repeats itself. So Pakistan is bound to win like they did in 1992 when the Aussies exited in the group stages.

Therefore I believe it is Pakistan who will emerge as the champions.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Is Steve Waugh an English Man in Disguise?

History repeats itself.

That commonly repeated statement just proved to be true yesterday as South Africa again decided to hold onto it's 'choker's tag'. So if history does repeat, then Pakistan are all set to win the cup. In 1992 when the Aussies were kicked out in the group stages it was our neighbors who lifted the cup. So my bet is on Pakistan versus the Windies in the final.

This may go against everything I've written before, but the Pakistan team that turned up yesterday against Smith's Company was a different Pakistan all together.
The move to send Afridi finally worked as he blistered an well deserved half century. He finally didn't self destruct. And what a golden arm he has!! Boom Boom Afridi.

But this post is not about Afridi but about Steve Waugh. Legendary Australian captain Steve Waugh feels the Indian skipper's "honeymoon period" is over. It is isn't it? But Stevie gave it all away when he was asked whether Dhoni or Ganguly was a better skipper. After a moment of pause, he diplomatically evaded the question saying "Dhoni is a fantastic captain". That's all we wanted to hear Steve. Bengal surely rejoices now.

Waugh, regarded as one of the most successful captains in cricket history, admitted that Australia's aura of invincibility was over but felt it was a good sign for the game. This is an AUSSIE SAYING IT. "Their aura of invincibility has gone since their loss to India at home but it is good for the game because challenges enhance the game," he said. And how right is he !!

This just makes me wonder whether Steve Waugh is an English man in disguise?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A True Leader......

As much as Dhoni is blamed for India's early exit as a skipper (especially by me), I can't help but praise him about the decision he took yesterday. I know this a 'U - turn' of my stance against Dhoni, but Dhoni displayed leadership qualities yesterday that showed just why, he is the Indian skipper.

Yes, India lost yesterday, but it that is not the point I'm making here. Dhoni stuck with the same team that lost to England amid much speculations and criticism that the playing 11 was not the best. Yet Dhoni stood behind his players and backed them up to the hilt. A true character of a captain.

Sourav Ganguly showed the same quality when he was the captain and bought in Harbhajan Singh as the replacement for Kumble in 2001 against the Aussies amid resistance. This payed huge dividends as Harbhajan bowled India to victory in that series and also now is India's senior bowler.

I never doubted Dhoni as a leader. I only doubted his new evolved batting.

As the saying goes ...
Fear a lion leading 100 chickens than a chicken leading 100 lions.

Monday, June 15, 2009

India is out.........

India is out of the World T20 Championships in England.........The dreams and hopes of a billion people shattered..........The defending champions ousted........

What more can I write? Analyze the mistakes of India and Dhoni? There's too many to do that. Just sit alone and sob I guess at what could have been.

Expect the back lash and an in depht analysis of India's disastrous campaign to glory this weak end.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Warner very Un - Chanderpaul

This was something funny I just read.

To read the article go to,

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Cynical of Mr. 47. 82

As most of you know, I am not a big fan of M.S. Dhoni. I despise his batting technique but at the end of the day the results only count and Dhoni secures results. He has been a vital cog in the Indian batting line up and has scored runs consistently over the last 18 months. His captaincy also seems to lose the sting he had early on and he is too predictable. On captaincy, he still has a long way to go and am not surprised that he is not able to perform the same results over and over again. No captain can do that. No mortal.

But his new batting style baffles me. Though I despise his batting style, I have always admired the power he puts in his shots. The way he clubs a spinner some 40 rows back takes a lot of muscle power, and great hand-eye co-ordination. Dhoni, the batsman has excelled in the 50 over format but in the test arena, he had it tough going. Dhoni has always been a natural aggressor and curbing his natural instincts is inferring with his performance. He comes one down now and that wastes balls. Yesterday he had a strike rate of 45. What is he doing? Trying to save a test match? As a captain, I understands that he wants to play the role of a responsible captain. But why not let Raina manage this role? He would be a better person for the role while Dhoni can slog - something he is really good at. Why try to be someone you are not, Dhoni bhayia? Just look at Gayles and McCullum. They are captains too but they play their natural game and club the leather out of the ball.

Dhoni's captaincy is all and well and he has proved time and again that he has enormous leadership capability.

If he concentrates on his batting, the India will truly be a force to reckon with. We don't want a Mr. 47.82%, do we?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Aussie Madman to Work With His Enemies. (God save the queen)

John Buchanan,The former Aussie coach and Kolkotta coach is all set to work with his enemies. Who says a leopard can't change it's spots?? John just did. Don't believe me?? Here's the proof. All's fair in love and war and cricket, isn't it?

I don't actually pity the Australians. I pity the Englishman.

May God save English cricket. May God save the Ashes, and may God save cricket.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Punter & Australia - Down & Under

After a day of upsets, peace and quiet settles in. Bangladesh and the Australians are sent packing home.

I'm not going to concentrate on the Bangladeshis too much, but they deserve to be mentioned. Again I was disappointed by Ashraful's batting. The youngster is so talented and can gets starts in almost every match, but he has a nasty habit of throwing it away. Mortaza the batsman and the bowler came to the party even though he was on the losing side. Credit has to be given to Trent Johnson and also the O'Brein brothers. Ireland deserved to win and they did that by scoring their highest T20 score.

Australia also are sent home packing by Sangakara's men. The Australian batsman struggled against Mendis and couldn't read him at all. They found Muralitharan more easy!! Imagine that. The Australian batting line up is strong but it failed to click again. I don't understand Ponting and his decision to send Haddin ahead of the Hussey brothers fails all common sense. Maybe he was sent because he is probably Australia's best player of spin, but wouldn't a set Mike Hussey be more dangerous ?

The Australian fielding was up to it's usual standards as Warner pulled a beauty to dismiss Jayasuria.

Chasing 160, I was expecting alot from Jayasuria, but sadly it was not to be. Sending Dilshan opening turned out to be a brilliant move and the skipper, Sangakara's innings sealed the door for Punter and his men.

The Australian bowling line up lacks teh intensity. Brett Lee was fiesty in his first spell and the bouncer to get rid of danger man Jayasuria said just that, but sadly coming from injury he has this no-ball problems. No - balls are not acceptable in this format where a free hit follows it. The Aussies also lack a genuine spinner. Nathan Hauritiz did impress me yesterday but will he be consistent and come up with the wickets the Aussies require in the middle over. Micheal Clarke's slow left arm spinners seemed to do the trick but Sangakara had the game well within his reach. Mitchel Johnson, Watson and Bracken didn't trouble the men from the Emerald Isles and the Aussies clearly missed the services of Symonds both with the bat and the ball.

The heroes for Sri Lanka were the usual Dilshan and Sangakara. Dilshan was outstanding as he continued the form from the IPL. He tends to get his runs so easily that runs tend to flow when he is at the crease. Sangakara was outstanding as he paced his innings well and stayed through till the job was finished. Another hero was Mubarak, who caught my eyes. The young man was outstanding and helped finish the job along side his captain.

I hope this at least teaches Punter and his men to be humble. They are no more the world champs and we can clearly see that now.

A new era has begun - The new has come and the old has passed.
Good going Sri Lanka, humbling the 'invincible' Aussies.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Pakistan All Ready to Board the Return Plane to Pakistan

"It won't be a disaster even if we exit before the Super Eights," said Younis Khan, the Pakistan skipper. "It would be sad if we don't make it, but I have never attached too much importance to Twenty20 cricket, as it is fun cricket. I mean it is more for entertainment, even if it is international cricket. It is all for the crowd. Twenty20 is all about fun. Everybody expects players to come out and entertain." Can you believe him???

Is that the attitude of the Pakistanis??? No wonder they are dropping catches and giving easy runs to the opposition. When the captain says something like that, you know something is wrong.

I just wonder if Younis Khan is a Pakistani or an Englishman. With this kind of attitude, why even turn out for the next match. They can instead pack their bags and head back to Pakistan like in 2007. Younis is preparing his players for an almighty fall tomorrow. Pakistan now have to beat Netherlands by at least 25 runs, which will be no easy task. Or better yet, they can choose not to show up for the match.

I thought that teams would become serious after seeing England lose to the Dutch. But sadly that is not the case.

I feel for the Pakistan team and their captain. Such a casual approach to such a major tournament just underlines the state of cricket in Pakistan.

I can only say, "good luck Pakistan, and please don't turn up for the match against the Dutch."

Thanks Q from Well Pitched,

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Can Anyone Understand Dhoni's Captaincy ?

After watching yesterday's match, I started to question Dhoni's skills as a Captain once again. I have always been cynical of Dhoni's captaincy and am also not a big fan of his batting either. My dad would often say, "If you want to learn how not to play cricket, just watch Dhoni bat". Yes, he currently is one of the world's best batsman and a wonderful keeper, and probably the best thing that happened to Indian cricket after the time Sachin picked up his bat. But his batsmanship is sheer muscle power and just plain hand eye contact. There's not much elegance and class in his batting, I feel.

Dhoni might be the best captain in the modern era, but still I have my doubts. I just don't understand the many of the moves and decisions he takes. The below are a few example.

1.) Dhoni ALWAYS prefers to bat first irrespective of the conditions. I don't understand the logic behind this. Especially in a T20 match when you do know what is a good score wouldn't it be better if you batted second? People might say that you can pressurize a the team batting second if you got your runs on the board, but when playing with a weaker team wouldn't it be wiser to let them bat first. In the first match we saw England lose to the Dutch, after batting first. Underdogs especially in this format have a better chance of winning while chasing than restricting. Also when the conditions is better to bowl first like in yesterdays match, why not field first. This also gets the players used to always posting a total on the board and may find it difficult to chase when put in to bat by the opposition.

2.) I don't understand why Dhoni makes his part timers bowl so many overs in a match over his regular bowlers. In yesterday's match he made Yusuf Pathan bowl in the powerplay (taking a leaf out of Warne's captaincy) and it paid him rich as he got the breakthrough, but even after the wicket, Dhoni persisted with him. He makes part timers Sehwag, Yuvraj, Raina bowl when he has the regular bowlers to do so. If he was going to make the part timers bowl, can't he just go with 4 bowlers instead of 5 or 6.

3.) Why does Dhoni come in at 3? Dhoni has always been the attacker and the one who clubs the leather out of a ball. So why does he come out at the fall of the first wicket, when there's Raina? If he wants some big hitting done, can't he send out Yusuf Pathan - who probably would be a great value as a floater. Yesterday, I feel that he wasted Raina by sending him at 5th.

4.) Dhoni's evolution as a more defensive batsman also draws many question. As a natural attacker why does he tend to play slow. Many would answer that he wants to take responsibility as a captain and bat sensibly. But what good is that, when it is not your natural game? If he wants someone to anchor the innings, can't Gambhir, Raina or Rohit take that up while he plays his natural game. Look at captains such as Gayles. He just smashes the ball leaving only damaged nerves for the bowlers and the opposition captain.
5.) Dhoni's heavy reliance on spin can be his undoing even if it has worked out so far. in yesterdays match he made the spinners bowl 11 of the 20 overs. That's more than 50% of the innings. This ploy has worked till now but will it always is the question.

These are some things I don't understand in Dhoni's captaincy. The boy from Ranchi has a long way to go still and hopefully would have the above points cleared by then.

After reading this you may say I am anti - Dhoni, but I'm nothing of the sort. I admire and enjoy his captaincy and also his entertaining knocks, but at the same time also a critic of the boy with the Midas touch.

Hopefully, Dhoni will prove me wrong as usual.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

10 Reasons why Pakistan lost yesterday.....

What a match we had yesterday!!! It was like a final with intense rivalry and madness. India versus Pakistan again turned out to be treat for the eyes as Mumbaiker Rohit Sharma came of age. The lazy elegance of the under 23 Citi player in the IPL captured every single eye in the world. With his amazing wristy shots, the pulls along the ground and his drives in the 'v' make him a classical talent that promises so much in the near future.

10 Reasons why Pakistan lost yesterday........

1.) India has a perfect record against Pakistan in World Cups and have always returned as Champions in all encounters between the two rivals in the past. Stats definitely favour India.
2.) Ahmed Shehzad's breezy innings came to an early end due to his inexperience. Still the 17 year old boy from Lahore has captured my eyes. How sweetly he times the ball !!!!
3.) Afridi again fails with the bat. I just wonder why he goes so hard against Irfan Pathan first ball.
4.) Raina's brilliance in the field awarded India a timely run out of Kamran Akmal and also the wicket of the 17 year old opener.
5.) Ishant Sharma bowled a feisty spell and had outstanding bowling figures of 3 -1 -11- 1. The conditions in England will suit him perfectly.
6.) Rohit played the innings of his life as he raced away to 80 of just 53 balls. His lazy elegance makes him a treat for the eyes. His head is so still when he drives and what a pair of wrists has!!! And he found an ideal partner in Gambhir who steered the ship home with an unbeaten half century.
7.) India were aided by the Pakistani fielding. The fielding was below par for even an domestic match. There was no pressure and the Indians easily stole runs.
8.) Yunus Khan's captaincy was so predictable. He got all his fielders in the wrong positions and had trouble motivating his team (not that I blame him). Malik was probably a better captain than him. I just don't understand why he introduced Tanvir so late in the match.
9.) The Pakistani bowlers too gifted the Indians free runs as they conceded way too many extras. Added to this the bowlers were erring in line and found it difficult to bowl to the right - left hand combination.
10.) The Indians have played alot of cricket in the past six months (maybe too much), while the Pakistanis have hardly played a few match. This was probably the biggest reason for the defeat.

But, still what an eccentric match it was. A match for peace efforts that brought two cricket playing nations closer (or at least I hope it did).

I conclude this by saying Chak de India.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A crazy driver

Micheal Clarke aka Pup is sure to catch a lot of eyes.  Especially his fiancee Lara Bingle.  But they are truly in love and I got the proof here.  <Proof>  Why else would he miss the second edition of the IPL?

Now Clarke has admitted that he is truly scared of her.  Yes, scared of Lara Bingle.  In an interview with GQ magazine the Aussie vice captain admitted that he is scared to ride shotgun with her in her Aston Martin.

The daily Telegraph quoted him saying, "She's a crazy driver.  She's 100 miles an hour.  If I get in that car beside her, I always have to take over.  I just say, 'babe, come on!  Let me drive'.  Not because I'm better, just because I'm scared to go with her.

I wonder what she thinks of this interview.  She agreed that "I am not the best driver,  It is kind of difficult to drive. It is a heavy car. It has got a big front and lots of power.
But now I just wonder.  LARA Bingle's mile-high heels may be the height of fashion but how on earth does the glamour girl drive in them? 

I just hope that Cricket Australia have their star batsman well insured before the Ashes.

Proof Courtesy - Maidenbowling