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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

IPL Auction - Seriously Confusing Reserve Prices

The biggest news in the Indian Premier League is that the Calypso magician, Brian Lara is included in the auction.  Along with Lara, many English players such as Broad, Swann, Yardy and Anderson find themselves in the fray.  Many of the big names in the previous seasons who have not been retained also find themselves in the auction with the exception for a few Australian players such as Ponting, Hayden, McGrath and the English all-rounder Flintoff.  

Seeing the various prize brackets, I'm a bit confused.  A few surprises have been thrown in by the Governing Council such as including Lara in the highest reserve pool of $400,000.  Lara hasn't lifted a bat in the last four years other than a small stint in the rebel ICL, where for the most time he was sitting out due to injury and when he did take field did little with the bat.  He also played in the T20 Zimbabwean Tournament recently.  Other than this, there's no surprises for the most part in the $400,000 pool.  All the big names in the previous editions and a few new ones find themselves in it. It consists of Adam Gilchrist, Brett Lee, Shaun Marsh, James Anderson, Kevin Pietersen, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Luke Wright, Michael Yardy, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Yuvraj Singh, Daniel Vettori, Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor, Graeme Smith, AB de Villiers, Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan, and Chris Gayle.

 Likewise Indian heavy weights Zaheer Khan and Yusuf Pathan find themselves in the $300,000 pool along with Kallis and Muralitharan.  All four have been integral parts of their respective franchisees and have played a huge role in their team's success, however they are deemed a lower base prize.  Tait, Symonds, Sangakara and Angelo Mathews are the others in that pool.

The biggest surprise is however yet to come.  Ganguly - KKR's icon player in the first three seasons and their most consistent performer in the last two editions finds himself relegated to the $200,000 pool.  Delhi Daredevils skipper Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa are the other big surprises in this pool.  I understand the point of keeping Jayasuria in this pool as his age is a liability and his performance in the past hasn't been great, but how one can explain Dirk Nannes being in this pool is beyond my levels of comprehension..  Isn't Nannes the biggest name in T20 bowling?

Even the $100,000 bracket has a surprise element with R. Ashwin being named there.  Ashwin has been one of CSK's vital players and Gautam Gambhir has named him a great find during the recently concluded ODI series against New Zealand.  However the man who is said to be India's second best spinner after Harbhajan in the shorter format finds himself with a low base prize.  

The base prices don't mean anything as the entire process is an auction process and any player can be bought at any price (above that of the base price of-course).  Remember Ishant Shrma being bought for nearly a million dollars when his base price was only $150,000 in the first IPL?  So anything is possible, but one thing is for sure.  Whoever set up this list is either a person lacking common sense or is a brilliant human who wants the entire world to scratch their heads and say "huh?".  So I end by saying that this auction is the most interesting one till date mostly because it's got me scratching my head and all confused.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sir Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar?

India is on the brink of losing a test match unless the weather, Sachin Tendulkar and Sreesanth or the new kid Unadkat have other plans.  And speaking of Sachin Tendulkar - Shouldn't he have been knighted by now?  He just scored his 50th test century!

Yes 50th!  You probably knew that but it's the 50th!  I mean that's unimaginable, and the sheer size of the achievement is above the scope of comprehension.  This man here has 14,366 runs as I write with 50 diamonds among them.  Plus add another 17,000 runs in ODI's and you get a mammoth of a mountain that truly is unscalable !  I mean when you measure any mountain you take the measurement and compare it to another object. a building or another mountain or a hill whose height is already known to get an idea of just how big that mountain is.  But imagine a mountain somewhere thrice the size of Mt. Everest.  Now that's quite unimaginable, isn't it?  That's exactly how Sachin's achievement stands out as.  It simply can't be put into context.  His closest competitor is 11 tons short!  That's more than one fifth of the height!  The only thing that I can compare this is to Bradman's average which surely will stand the test of time.

What's more is this achievement is not only simply amazing and indescribable but also reflects on the man who wields the willow.  Sachin is into his 21st year in the International level, has seen defeats and wins and surely his body must be under tremendous strain from such a long career.  However his fitness is great (Why!  It's better than many younger players in the team) and he still has the same passion towards the game even after achieving everything.  He walks out every time like it's his debut with that sparkle of excitement in his eyes.  He has no record to beat, and no one even stands close to his achievements yet he still does what he does best.  Play cricket for India and play it only the way Sachin can do.

Now why shouldn't this man be knighted now?  I can think of 50 reasons why he should.  Sir Richard Hadlee has the unique distinction of being the only player to be knighted while still playing for his country, and I think it's time Sachin joins him.

Each of his 50 test tons have been wonderfully recollected here by cricinfo.