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Friday, September 14, 2012

The BCCI and it's outdated superstitions

If you thought that the BCCI was an organization, whose management style resembled something from the middle ages, then here's another example to back up your thought.  According to reports BCCI have trashed the new jersey that Nike India had made specially for the upcoming T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka, on the grounds of some superstitious beliefs.

BCCI scrap the new kits as their astrologer deems it to be unlucky.
N. Srinivasan, the BCCI's President is known for his superstitious beliefs and he takes no decision in his life without first checking with his astrologer.  Now that seems to be the same for the working of the BCCI too, as the new kit have been thought to be unlucky and the 2011 World Cup winning kit lucky.  Think it all to be ridiculous?  Well its not for a man who announced the World Cup squad a day later, since it was a luckier day with the numbers adding up to 7 - MS Dhoni's number.  He also is said to have specially chosen the yellow color for his IPL team - Chennai Super Kings, based on his astrologer's advice and when CSK had lost a string of matches in the IPL, he had the team change their dressing rooms.  He travels only on certain days as not all days are auspicious for travel and if given a chance will probably rearrange the entire working calendar based on his 'starry' beliefs.

Now with light being shed on this BCCI's decision, one cannot help but wonder just how many of the BCCI's decision has been based on such superstitions.  Most of BCCI's nonsensical decisions can probably be attributed to this.  This lapse in reasoning and logic is perhaps what attributed the BCCI to pick Piyush Chawla and Rohit Sharma in the World Cup squad.  The appointment of Greg Chappell as the coach, the dropping of Sehwag due to 'injury', and scheduling so many India - Sri Lanka series all makes sense now.

Now that the strange decisions by BCCI make sense, I just wonder how many cricket boards also follow these stone age superstitious beliefs.  Could West Indies dropping their number one player, Chris Gayle and England dropping Kevin Pietersen after he scored one of his best centuries be attributed to some senseless beliefs of the unknown?  The ECB is probably as much superstitious as the BCCI with their persistence that Samit Patel is not over weight and the selection of Darren Pattinson in 2008.

At least these revelations that the decisions made by the boards aren't completely random and does have a reasonable explanation in their beliefs of superstition does settle a few nerves and its good to know that the future of Indian cricket is in the hands of the person who reads the stars.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

PCB's sense of humor

Saeed Ajmal who was without any shadow of doubt one of the star performers for Pakistan in the last year with 72 test wickets was omitted from the ICC's Test Cricketer of the Year Award shortlist.  The PCB batting for their premier spin bowler, immediately objected to the decision of the independent 32 member jury that omitted Ajmal's name.  The ICC replied in the negative saying that it simply can't be done, and that they stood by their decision.  The PCB now angered threatened to immediately boycott the gala ICC Awards ceremony.  When the ICC didn't flinch, PCB reacted again, now coming up with an award themselves that would see Ajmal being recognized as the World's Best Bowler.  PCB's chief, Ashraf said, "Saeed Ajmal, we still say you're the No. 1 bowler in the world and the PCB recognises you, and whether someone gives you the prize, that is immaterial, we don't care."

PCB have introduced their own awards to help recognize players whom the ICC fails to such as Pakistan's spinner, Ajmal.
The PCB's approach to the entire saga is more than just humorous.  It is ludicrous and bordering insanity.  Just imagine Bollywood thinking that Saif Ali Khan deserves the Oscar for his acting in Cocktail.  And imagine Bollywood getting angry with the Hollywood officials for their decision to omit Saif, and then deciding that they would host their own 'Oscars' to honor Saif's acting.  Sounds insane and rightly so.  Maybe the PCB isn't that crazy because unlike Saif ,who has to pay for the health hazard his movie caused the spectators, Ajmal did perform well.  The PCB are perfectly justified in thinking that Ajmal should have been included in the list, but rather than just think that and perhaps express displeasure, they have gone to the dark side by insisting and trying to arm twist the ICC in agreeing with them.  When none of that worked, they decided to make their own award - their own PCB Awards that awards the best cricketers in the world for achievements that PCB think is worth while.

So here are some the awards that will be given by the PCB after the T20 World Cup, to the cricketers who deserve true recognition for their performances.

PCB's Test Cricketer of the Year: Saeed Ajmal (Pak)
PCB's T20 Cricketer of the Year: Cameron White (Aus)
PCB's ODI Cricketer of the Year: Rohit Sharma (Ind)
PCB's Young Cricketer of the Year: Shahid Afridi (Pak)
PCB's Spirit of Cricket Award: Salman Butt (Pak)

And some special awards recognizing cricketers' other achievement 

The Shahid Afridi Award: Kevin Pietersen (Eng)
The Inzamam Ul Haq's Award: Samit Patel (Eng)
The Shoaib Akhtar 'Speed' Award: Munaf Patel (Ind)

Harbhajan Singh unfortunately misses out on the awards list and it is learned that the BCCI is hurt by PCB's omission of their premier spin bowler.  They have complained to their Pakistan counterparts, hoping to correct the wrong and have Harbhajan Singh included in the list.

Monday, September 3, 2012

India's youngsters deliver!

India win the Bangalore test and win the series 2 - nil against the visiting Kiwis.  The result was expected, and not a big surprise, but the way the second test panned out showed that the young New Zealand team are no pushovers and can indeed compete in foreign conditions.  New Zealand despite being on the losing side, have plenty of positives as it was a good learning experience for their younger players.  India like the kiwis also fielded a young team with fresh faces with the retirements of Dravid and Laxman and it was great to see the newcomers taking responsibility and playing some great cricket.

The Indian middle order which was largely inexperienced with the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat  Kohli, and Suresh Raina made sure that the gaps left by the greats before them wasn't shown.  There is plenty of talent and potential, and if these youngsters keep performing the way they did in this test series, then Indian cricket has a good future ahead.

Cheteshwar Pujara, a player long dubbed to be in India whites, finally looks to have come of age.  His 159 in the first test was a stunning display of quality test cricket batting and was largely instrumental in setting up India's victory.  The knock was one of confident, dominance and the entire New Zealand team could only manage to match Pujara's score in their first innings.  In the second test, he failed to impress in the first innings, after failing to keep a pull shot down, but he made amends and in the second innings scripted a brilliant 48.  Again it was yet another innings of elegance and solidarity in his technique.

Virat Kohli, India's big star for the last year, did everything to further improve that and my respect for this young batsman keeps growing.  He's so gifted, that Kohli knows the importance of making the most of that when the sun is shining and he did that yet again.  With 2 half centuries and a century, he was without any doubt the engine of the Indian batting.  His knock today was one of total control and maturity that one would expect from a seasoned campaigner, and its just unbelievable to see a youngster exhibit such nerves.  He helped India home, today and if he can be as consistent as he is being at the moment, then there's surely more than a decade of whites waiting for him.

Suresh Raina is the only worrying batsman in the middle order.  Despite showing some promise, he still hasn't been able to erase the question marks, and that spot is still up for grabs.

Ravichandran Ashwin, the man of the series, was simply exceptional in every way!  I never considered him much of a test match bowler, but the way he has carried himself this series, has made me eat my words.  With 18 wickets, and three of those 5 wicket hauls, one really can't expect anything more from a spinner, can they?  I'm sure Harbhajan Singh is somewhere out there crying just watching this youngster take his place in the Indian team.

The pace department however still looks bare and despite the fact that Umesh Yadav can churn some good pace, he is very erratic and much fine tuning is to be done.  He did bowl his heart out and was among the wickets and is definitely a name that will keep reappearing in the future.

The Indian youngsters performed well, but one must remember that it was against an inexperienced New Zealand side playing in foreign conditions.  The real test starts later this year with India taking on England, and Pakistan.