Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pune Warriors India: #1 to #10 One match at a time

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1 to 10 in 15 days flat.

In what captain Yuvraj Singh called a "collaborative effort across the franchise"; Pune Warriors India, became the fastest team in IPL history and quite possibly the first to occupy all positions in the points table over a period of 2 weeks. Like Ravi Shastri, in his playing days, we can play from any position he said.

Starting from the #1 position they had on April 16th, after each successive game, Pune Warriors India, have either maintained their pre-game position or progressed to a worse position. "Progress" and "worse" are typically not complementary words but we are talking about Pune Warriors India.

Over there they get it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fletcher for Stability, not Rebuild

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Duncan Fletcher has been appointed India's coach for two years. His credentials are noteworthy. He took a terrible English team instilled team spirit and self-belief. He made them contenders. If anything, he was coach for too long and that reflected in England's spectacular 5-0 whitewash in his swansong.

My impression of Fletcher is that he is a turnaround specialist. This is at odds with India's current position in world cricket. John Wright turned India around and Gary Kirsten took it to new heights. This is the first Indian team that is ranked number one and deserves it.

Duncan is no coach

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Toddlers across the globe have reacted to the appointment of Duncan Fletcher as the newest coach of the Indian cricket team.

Duncan does it all - But he ain't no Coach

According to them Duncan works on Mr. Percival's narrow gauge railway. He means well but will "Rock 'n Roll" along the rails whenever the mood takes him. Duncan has a great big heart but is a little misguided.

For more information visit Duncan @ Thomas and Friends

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sachin Tendulkar is a health hazard: Ministry of Health

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Our sources in the government have revealed...

The Health Ministry of India, in a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan have shared with him a report that suggests that India's obsession with Sachin Tendulkar has reached such unhealthy levels that they will be forced to accord the addiction the status of a "disease". They said that the disease has already reached an epidemic and needs to be first controlled and treated like one.

Government insiders say that the report, that is yet to be released and likely to throw the country in turmoil when it is, has results of extensive studies done by the government in collaboration with the Amercian Institute of Sports Induced Diseases in Fans.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

IPL is the new Irani Trophy

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The IPL was supposed to bring in new fans. Younger ones. For a while, everything was trending upwards like on Twitter. It is fair to say that when it comes to Twitter, IPL seems to be doing fine. I have seen updates on domestic cricket in South Africa and England being tweeted with the hashtag "#IPL". IPL is surely a way to get noticed in the world of tweets and tweet decks.

Initially people were confused about how to invest their loyalty then came Lalit Modi, Shashi Tharoor and his fiance and questions of loyalty took a back seat. The IPL struggled to hold on to people's trust. Actually no...because the BCCI in classic BCCI style completely changed the conversation. While Lalit Modi spoke about deals and money, the BCCI responds to questions with questions questioning the questions.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Virendra Sehwag's Easter Speech

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In a speech that according to historians the world over is likely to have far reaching impacts, that will eventually make the world a better place to live in, Virendra Sehwag today warmed the cockles of sports traditionalists on easter weekend. In front of a crowd of an unsuspecting public he uttered the words that stunned the crowd to a prolonged silence not sure if what they heard was real.

It took a good few minutes for the crowd to first digest and react to the words uttered by the maverick opener.

The traditionalists in the crowd were the first to react. And even then all they could manage was tears rolling down their eyes in disbelief, and a sense of hope. It was as if it was God had risen from the dead to deliver a message they had been craving for.


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Cricket seems forever at cross-roads nowadays. West Indies, Pakistan and now Sri Lanka seem to be back in turmoil. Add the upheavals in Australian cricket and we now have a situation where most teams are creating excuses for losing. i.e. "rebuilding".

West Indies inflicted a deep gash on themselves by dumping Gayle, Chanderpaul and Sarwan. A smooth transition is always more healthy than a clean break. In this context, I don't understand players giving up captaincy and refusing responsibility to help with sustaining goodness in teams.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Opinions on... Chetan Sharma

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Chetan Sharma did not have a particularly bad debut in Tests. It was against Pakistan in Pakistan and he bowled quite admirably. However it was Azeem Hafeez who stole the show for Pakistan in that Test. Yes, he was the bowler with the missing middle fingers.

Chetan Sharma's debut series had to be abandoned due to the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Perhaps that was a bad omen. Its wasn't an auspicious start to Chetan Sharma's career.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

India v Pakistan - Plans for a "revival" series

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Someone in the The Indian government (no one's sure who)  has done something that has convinced the PCB that India is keen for a "revival" series between India and Pakistan.

Quite unsurprisingly no one associated with the BCCI has any knowledge of this.

They learnt just a few hours back that Paul Valthaty is an Indian eligible for selection. So this news about Indian government's unconfirmed advances to their Pakistani counterparts may take a while to reach the offices of the BCCI.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Why Lasith Malinga is more patriotic than Shakib Al Hasan

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We can leave the discussion on the impact of IPL to cricket for another time but there are a few things the IPL is certainly helping with. For example previously it was impossible to distinguish players based on their sense of patriotism. Or to put it more correctly what is it that really motivates different players to perform. Is it the money, the love for the country, search for personal glory, or a combination all all these things in the right mix.

With the advent of IPL it is now possible to do just that...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Opinions on... Gautam Gambhir

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I am excited at the prospect of how Gautam Gambhir will evolve as a batsman in the next few years.

He has provided consistency and stability to India's all-star batting line up since 2008. The way he started his career in 2004 there weren't too many reasons to believe in Gautam Gambhir. Since 2008 Gautam Gambhir has been amongst the best batsmen in the world and has secured a place in India's rich history of batsmen as one of the most successful openers. His success while very welcome, was unexpected in many ways.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cricket Round Up

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Cricket schedulers clearly have little sense of timing. After a World Cup that ambled at the start into a furious sprint in the end, we have Australia facing Bangladesh. I mean, gimme a break! The IPL too has cranked up to empty stadia. After the frenzy of the World Cup, all the six hitting now seems pointless.

Shane Watson annhilated Bangladesh, but who cares? Big deal, so did Sehwag, but in a World Cup game that mattered. I'm a huge fan of Shane Watson, but didn't he get his timing off by a few weeks? This is what he should have done against India at Motera. Having said that, Watson further rubbed humiliation into Bangladesh's wounds by claiming that he simply didn't want to run. I mean, did he really have to say that? It's bad enough for Bangladesh to know that they don't belong. An Aussie hammering of Bangladesh, right after a good World Cup is not what a cricket fan should be subjected to.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Shane Watson is now a Country

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Shane Watson has gained independence from the mediocrity that is Australian Cricket. He will now play for Self. And for his country. Which is one and the same.

Shane Watson is now an independent country.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Portraits: Geethu Anna Jose

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So who is Geethu Anna Jose?

If things go well, she would be the first Indian to play professional basketball in the USA.

Yes, its a big deal

Geethu Anna Jose - India Captain (Women's Basketball)

For all pencil sketches...

Friday, April 8, 2011

Portraits: Michael Clarke

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Michael Clarke is Australia's newest captain. Here's wishing him the very best from us @ Opinions

But we are concerned. Just a couple of days back Micheal Clarke said his appointment as Australia captain hasn't sunk in yet. If we remember correctly, Michael Clarke was identified as Ricky Ponting's successor just a few days after he learnt to walk as a toddler.

In our estimation there shouldn't have been a 'sinking in' issue.

Michael Clarke - Australia's newest captain

The best way we know how it will quickly sink in, is if Michael Clarke loses his first game as captain. That would be a wake up call and 'Awe shucks I am the Australia captain' feeling rolled into one.

Not that we are hoping that would happen but we aren't hoping for a Bangladesh loss either.

So if Australia losing helps Michael Clarke digest his appointment as Australia captain, then we believe its prudent to wish that Bangladesh wins

Coming to the portrait it self. Some of you - those who are not artistically endowed - might succumb to the urge to suggest that the sketch; like many others on this site; has little or no resemblance to Michael Clarke. A visit to the optician's may be worth your while.

Other portraits...

  1. Imran Khan
  2. Ricky Ponting
  3. Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I Resign

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I am resigning from my post at Sri Lankan Cricket. Actually I am not legally contracted in any way with SLC but  I am resigning nonetheless.

Allow me to explain.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

1983 + 2011 for 2015

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India has now won one world cup in the subcontinent and one on English green tops during the early part of summer. How about a combined team to defend their title in 2015 on Australian and New Zealand pitches

Here's my playing X1 for Australian conditions

Monday, April 4, 2011

1983 v 2011

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Which one is a greater achievement. India winning the 1983 Prudential Cup completely out of the blue or India winning the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup under the weight of insane pressure from a billion people magnified a 100 times; to use Shahid Afridi's magnifying glass; by the relentless Indian media.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Portraits: Mahendra Singh Dhoni

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Just how big a name has Mahendra Singh Dhoni become.

For his opponents, he is certainly more threatening than Mogambo, Gabbar Singh and Shakaal put together.

No one has seen where Dhoni was from a few moments after he hit the six to bring home the World Cup till the time he was called on by Ravi Shastri for an interview. And then he went missing again. No one saw him lift the cup later, either

That makes him invisibler than Mr. India and more secretive than James Bond.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

India is now Dhoni

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At 30 off 29 balls, Yuvraj Singh swung and missed off Malinga. The familiar feeling of an impending implosion began taking possession of my being. Two more dot balls followed and I closed my eyes hoping that madness would not consume Yuvraj. Over the next two balls, Yuvraj took 3 calm runs. I breathed a sigh of relief. India were going to be champions. There would be no heartbreak. India knocked off the runs without a flourish until the very last shot. No mountain too high, no river too deep and no adversity too hard. India has become Dhoni. Calm, collected and cool.

That's the way...Mahi Way

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Mahendra Singh Dhoni may have just eclipsed Arvinda D'Silva's 107* in the 1996 finals; the only century till date in a successful run chase in a World Cup finals. Arvinda's century too like Dhoni's 91 not out, came on the heels of 2 quick wickets but when those 2 wickets are Sehwag and Sachin; the pressure you have to absorb is that much more.

India are World Champions again and it was almost scary the way they scripted the most tense but strangely serene run chase I am ever likely to see. With each run that brought us closer, I asked my self what a win would do to the legend of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. I am not sure what the answer is, but perhaps we are seeing the beginnings of a cricketer that will eventually be bigger and meaner than Sachin Tendulkar. He will never have Sachin's skills. Thank God for that.

Sri Lanka seemed to have been defeated by Dhoni much before India finally beat them with a six of the last ball. After having started almost all matches with the Sehwag way, India ended a successful World Cup campaign; the Mahi way.

See Also...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Portraits: Muttiah Muralitharan

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In a grand total of 61 Test wins for Sri Lanka, Murali has featured in 54 of them and accounted for 41% of the wickets. Later today he would be itching to go out on a high with another world cup.

Even if both his knees are struck with age related arthritis, the guy will turn up for the finals and bowl.

He usually scripts his own farewells

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World Cup Finals - India v Sri Lanka: Does India have the legs for another scrap?

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When asked if an all Asian World Cup finals, suggests a power shift in world cricket, Mahela Jayawardene said,

"We mustn't forget that this is a World Cup on the subcontinent, and obviously home conditions suit us. In fact, it would have been disappointing if Asian teams hadn't made it to the final. The World Cup will be played on a different continent the next time, and we can say the balance of power has truly shifted if two teams from the subcontinent make the final then."

A smart answer from a man who plays for a smart team led by an even smarter and sophisticated Kumar Sangakkara. India's opponents in the finals are a team perfectly capable of beating them comfortably

A preview...