Saturday, April 16, 2005

Shahid what is the 'point' !

Although I am following the ODI series quite well despite not being keen on it as much as the test series, I should stay that some interesting things are happening. But most of it is not exactly related to cricket field directly.

I promised someone that I would write on Afridi, and write about some things that are 'good'about him. Frankly, a couple of years back I would have loved to watch one of these Afridi innings, however infrequent they might be, rather than watch most of Rahul Dravid innings. For ODIs are all about satiation of cricketing desires in a short span, aren't they. Those who want more have test matches. More of that later, but first Afridi...

Ofcourse he is an entertainer, and ofcourse you cant but sit back and enjoy when he is hitting, even if your own team. Even Dravid and Sachin were seen almost enjoying him in full swing. The best part about his play is that you can 'see' him not thinking ! I dont know any other cricketer playing such emotional game in my times (and I'm sure there couldnt have been anyone earlier, 'cause merciless hitting was invented during these times only). His game is so expectedly unexpected that someone who is at the receiving end is taken by surprise for a while. And before he can recover...bang...he is 100 notout :-)) The point that he is able to do this so infrequently (3 centuries in almost 7-8 years of game) means that most of those who are at receiving end have first experience of it.

So Balaji/Mongia etc started with the thought...ok he's hit this one...he would be more cautious next time....ok this one again disappeared...but what about next time...ok now he is close to century..maybe more cautious....etc.etc..and it goes on...till he's out. I am sure each of these bowlers would be better prepared next time. But then that next time is anyway far off isnt it :-) (ohh, I'm hoping it is!). And Javagal Srinath pointed out well here that his captain and coach must be exactly sure of his hit ratio to take this gamble.

But the bigger point is....what is the point of this kind of hitting ? Sure cricketing entertainment means runs scored, wickets taken, matches won and lost. But is there some logic behind it...when you constantly see good length balls from

Saturday, April 09, 2005

ODI 3 ...almost gone !

Similar script...bat big....and squeeze opposition from pressure ! Not much fun this way. But few interesting aspects of this match : Indian bowlers seem to be jaded a bit. Except Nehra, he was all fired up. Khan and Pathan seem to be holding back. Harbhajan is also not as penetrative as usual

Pak seamer bowled like Nehra, and won the match in 15 overs taking 6 wkts. Not much fault of the batsmen.

But it should be remembered that its the same team who won two consecutive games on a trot (well balaji was missing...he might have made a difference). No point blaming too much, the matches on Indian pitches are like this most of the time.

Its interesting to note that Pak made two changes in the team (so much blame being laid on their wrong lineup earlier, making it out as main reason for their flat performance etc etc) Younis Khan in batting....and was hardly needed....and Danish Kaneria...who again came in to ball when Ind had almost lost the match. So, changing the team may not necessarily win you a match.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

India - Aus : World Cup Finals

India plays Aus in World Cup finals at Centurion on Sunday ! Sounds familiar ? Well, this is the Women's World Cup 2005.

Indian women's team is kind of a converse to the male team ! They seem to be more of a bowling side with 3 of top 4 tournament wicket takers being Indian. Neetu David leading with 19 wkts with Jhoolan Goswami second on 12...the closest Aussie is Rolton with 10 wkts (Indian Anju Sharma and Khadeer also at 10wkts ... here are details).

The highest run scorer is Mithali at 5 place

Anyway, its Belinda Clarke vs Neetu David on Sunday ! I wonder if its going to be as interesting as the Ind-Aus male matches (not the WC final...forget that...forget !). If only it was being covered !!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

ODI 2 - Ind Won - Let Ganguly struggle in peace

So, Ganguly looked good finally, and middled almost each shot for around 4 overs (didnt get much runs though, except for a trademark charged loft over mid-off). Since now it seems that team is doing well, I would hope he is allowed to struggle the way out of so called slump in peace ! There is no point even arguing with so many people driven by media hype about his bad form.

Anyway, the match was again interesting, though for non-cricketing reasons again:- Ganguly was arguing with Youhana in hindi...when Youhana was taking too many breaks and Ganguly complained to umpire...Youhana might have said ki "mai jaanboojh kar nahi kar raha hoon" and Ganguly explained ki "mai isliye umpire ko bola jisse woh mujhe fine na kare, mai ye nahi bola ki tum jaanboojh ke kar rahe ho" !!...and he said this with Bowden standing right next to them..but cudnt understand :-))...this would be the first time I've see two teams making use of language to bypass umpire :-)

And Ganguly seems to be extra-inspired as a captain in this ODI series, maybe Bangalore still hurting :-) Here are some good examples (a) Playing Nehra over Pathan who gives more all-round value. Nehra is proving so useful despite flat tracks ! Although Pathan may yet get a chance in next match (Balaji injured ?) (b) Using Sachin well enough for defensive-attack (realising its not Sehwag style of bowling pitch) (c) Using yuvraj in same mould today, and to even greater effect ! (d) Not only sending Dhoni ahead, but being very frank about the reason- that he himself would have taken time to get set, and Dhoni was therefore better utilising first 15 overs. I hope someone remembers (Ravi Shastri) that Gang has so often been criticised for using pinch hitters amidst a starry lineup. (d) Effecting such timely bowling changes in 2nd match, it was close right till the end !

So, atleast I dont care if his loss of form is not hurting the team !

Update : And as I said earlier above, it does seem that Ganguly is progressing more as a captain due to the lean patch. Another example The Indian skipper said the fact that Harbhajan Singh did not bowl well in the last two matches does not make him concerned. "He is a matchwinner. Such lean days happen in everybody's life."

Saturday, April 02, 2005


..Sehwag went for the MoM award....took the cheque...talked to Ravi....walked back to podium...there was a trophy lying around....picked it up and walked back !!! As simple as bashing Sami around, no confusions needed :-)

And by the way, there were 7 people in the presentation team, standing back, watching Sehwag pick up the trophy himself ! Its always funny to watch these ceremonies in India, something has to happen !

'the conditions'

Its funny..really funny...last 5 overs Ind made 15 runs...lost 4 wkts...Pak lost 3-4 fielders....all the heat....'the conditions' funny (from here :-)

But seriously, I wonder how much will they impact be on the match...Pak also has to play in same conditions...Ind has to are almost a luxury...and tired batsmen cant hit too much either !

..just saw Dravid get run out...he was almost willing himself to be out !!..never seen anything like this bad is it out there !!...wonder if it was a bad strategy for Dravid to not go for his shots when he still had the strength..and allowed Yuv to settle at the other end...

ODI #1

Its been Sehwag all the way in the Indian innings...he seems to have so much time, and plays so late, that he makes medium place look like spin ! Imagine repeated late cuts at 135 kph deliveries !!

And he is now batting at 100...mainly against the 'conditions' as commentators put it. Actually Sehwag 'appealed' for a drinnks break at the end of 31st over...ump refused :-)....and he was playing at 99 then ! Imagine the desperation !!

And Sachin, Gang got out on consecutive balls...I hope not much if made of Gang bad form...Sehwag was also dropped first needs time to settle down....getting anyone early is easier.