Beer, Chips and Cricket

This is a site about drinking beer, eating chips and thinking cricket. I am not a former player, a television commentaror or a journalist; my qualification to being worthy of hearing is that I drink a lot of beer, eat a lot of chips and think a lot about cricket. The thoughts need not be politically correct and often include colourful language but there will be no deliberate bias towards any player, community or state. I don't care about popular opinion or perceptions and I speak it as I see it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Day before the second test ... boriiinngggg

Firstly about the team for the second test. From media reports, it seems Ganguly has "almost" announced the first eleven for the match, pending approval by the selectors. So no firm words yet but he has indicated that Kaif will come into the squad and Yuvi will open. I always knew that if it came down to Chopra vs. Yuvi, Gangs would pick Yuvi. Well, as a well wisher of Indian cricket, I cannot wish for a failure here so .... Go Yuvi. Looking at the positive side of it, if the combination of Yuvi and Sehwag does do well, we will be in the driver's seat simply coz these two will bat fast and put pressure on the opposition ... no question about that.

Though the "statement" from Ganguly is reflecting only now on all the sites, I read one news article on the Telegraph India ( site today morning that said the same thing. Of all the sites that carry news / scoops whatever ... I have always found the Telegraph India to have the greatest accuracy rate in its predictions .... probably they have good contacts with the people who matter in the current Indian team management and thus get inside news .... they r not 100% accurate but I will believe the Daily Telegraph more than I believe Rediff or TOI or Hindu. That is my belief.

According to the Telegraph, Agarkar will "most likely" come in for Zaheer ... and that is the way it should be, according to me. Zaheer is the better bowler when in form but when he is so-so, it really doesn't matter .... Aggu's whimsical batting plys his ability to get Langer might be more useful than Zaheer. Yes, if Zaheer gets in his stride by the next series (or whenever) I will always opt for Zaheer over Agarkar ... but right now, Aggu looks the better bet. What a situation when we are actually cheering for Agarkar to be included ... geez, with a fit Zaheer and a in-form Balaji, Aggu wouldn't have stood a chance ... but then jab din aata hai ... tab din aata hai. Aggu has wasted a huge number of chances in his career ... lets see what he makes of this one.

SRT won't play ... and while I had the sneaking suspicion he might play this one, the Telegraph basically says he won't ... so I believe he won't. The official word hasn't come in yet though everyone from the coach, captain to the team bus driver has been quoted as saying it is "highly unlikely" which basically means shit.

So Kaif plays a test ... I think almost after 2 or 3 years .... again, it is a matter of grabbing the chance. Being selected at Number 6, it is evident that when SRT comes back, Kaif will go back to the bench but that is what is the funny aspect of the situation now ... if Yuvi makes 40 as opener and Kaif makes 80 in the middle order, when SRT comes back it will still be Kaif who will be first choice to go out. Anyway, who can see into the future ... grab the chance when u get it, Kaify pal ... at least u will be the number 1 replacement on the bench for the middle order if and when required ... currently it is Yuvi (a bit confusing coz Yuvi is also preferred as opener ... but the way I see it ... whatever position it is, Gangs has Yuvi as his first preference).

Reports also say that Ganguly has indicated that "Dravid will definitely bat at 3 and not Laxman" which is a bit dumb ... it may be plan A but if Yuvi and Sehwag do manage to make a sound start and we are above 150 when the first wicket falls (ok so I like to dream ... sue me), it might really turn the screws on the Aussies to have Laxman go in and play one of his typical innings in which no ball is good enough and no bowler able enough to get past him. Laxman has had a failure in the first match but I am hopeful simply coz guys like Laxman have no fixed agenda ... they can bat beautifully one moment and get out stupidly the next ... so if someone says Laxman is out of form while Dravid hit 60 odd in the second innings in Bangalore, I would just tell them to relax ... normal rules do not apply to Laxman.

Ganguly needs to take a big responsibility in this match ... simply coz India is without SRT and has been hammered in the first test ... truly speaking, his technique against the faster bowlers is not really confidence-inspiring but the guts shown by him frequently make up for it ... example being the first test in Australia. He needs to do one of those again here in Chennai simply coz he is the captain and he has to lead the thrust. One thing is certain ...if India look to be gaining the upper hand, no one better to go in and twist the knife in deeper ... still remember his knock in England (Edgbaston, I think ... where we won) when he came in with India slightly on top but with the possibility of the match going onto the draw and simply smashing the bowlers all over the park and converting the draw chance to a victory for India ... SRT was at the other end (he got a century too) but in my mind I am clear ... SRT's knock was good but Ganguly's knock got us the win. Batting like this just does not win matches in the second innings ... people often start thinking of the time element only from the 3rd day onwards ... the the sooner u put pressure on the opposition, the sooner they can wilt ... u don't always have to put pressure on the last couple of days.

Anyway, some faint reportings on the pitch have been finally heard ... but nothing more helpful than "it is expected to have better bounce and carry than Bangalore".... so ... what???? What is that mean? Will it bounce? Will it spin? Two fast and two slow bowlers or 3-1 in favour of spinners??? [Don't even mention 3-1 for fast bowlers as a possibility ... I just ate]. Traditionally we have had exciting matches at Chennai ... and personally, win or lose, if we get excitement till the 5th day, I will be happy ... happier if India wins but not sad if we lose. The game must be alive till the last session on the 5th day (ok, so if India wins in 4 days I won't be sad ... but that is as likely to happen as Mallika Sherawat acting in an art movie).

Other tidbits .... Lehmann is quoted as saying that if and when Ponting comes back into the team, one of him and Clarke will have to make way for him and he personally would never take Clarke out. Hmmm ... I don't know what to make of this one ... either he is extremely noble or extremely dumb, I really can't decide which. But frankly, I don't think he has a choice coz the selectors are not gonna select him or Clarke based on what Lehmann thinks .... personally I would pick Clarke anyday (particularly after seeing Lehmann's wild heaving against the Indian spinners in the first test ... he didn't look to have a clue) but then hey, let them look after their own headaches.

Seems like the Indians are looking to a documentary on Lance Armstrong for inspiration ... u know ... the cycling champ who came back from cancer and won 6 or 7 consecutive Tour De France thingies ... I am not a cycling fan but hey, u can't be wired onto the internet and not know who Lance Armstrong is or what importance the Tour De France has in the sport of cycling. Anyway, I dunno what this thing is about the Indian team constantly needing inspiration is ... During the world cup, Sandy Gordon provided the much needed motivation ... even when we went to Australia for the test series, Gordon was inducted for a session or two ... now many "experts" (personal opinion, 90% of these experts are idiots who display their stupidity the moment they open their mouth ... and many of them are found in the commentary box) are already advocating some kind of psychological help. And now the team management is seeking to inspire them by the example of Lance Armstrong .... Hey, what did I miss here ... those lakhs and lakhs of rupees in terms of match fees and contracts (when do they sign the damn things anyway? it has become like the loch ness monster ... everyone knows about it but no one has actually seen it) and playing for their country etc etc etc ... what more inspiration do they need anyway? Agreed we should learn from everyone, be it Armstrong or Legstrong but are the chappies that weak in their minds? See, the documentary as a source of inspiration is ok ... but u know, things like this can be of value at all times, good times and bad times ... one doesn't have to get destroyed in the first test of a series to watch this thing. If all it takes for the boys to get depressed is a test defeat, we r in big trouble here. SRT can't play ... we r depressed ... we lost the first test ... we r depressed ... hey I broke a nail ... I am depressed. Sheesh!!!

Enjoyed reading about the Australian fans stealing their beer from the team hotel ... heh heh ... one of them claimed to be Gilly's brother, in order to fool hotel staff but finally some of them ran away and a couple held by hotel staff ... the beer was returned and officials decided not to press charges.

Anyway, signing off now ... if I get more news before I leave office, I will put it in ... but the rate at which news has been trickling in, I don't have too much of hope.

Refreshing google news talks about the possibility of three spinners and a quote from Ganguly about "if two fast bowlers play then Zaheer will play" ... not sure what to make of this one. Lets wait and watch ... can't write more.

Ok Ok another last note I can't miss out ... those of u who read my blog and post comments ... thanx for that, I appreciate that a lot. I can't always answer any queries / comments etc but I do read all comments posted on my blog ... or at least I try to ... u can't make out without actually going through them as to whether they r new or ones that have been read ... blogspot really oughta give some way of marking stuff as "read" and keeping the rest as "unread". To the gal who said she liked my blog a lot ... ;-) ... me too .... and the guy who wondered how he hadn't found my blog before, well, its been less than a month since I started it. Yeah, the counter stands above 5000 hits but I guess I just got lucky .... an article of mine came on Rediff and carried this URL ... and a gentleman named Amit Varma from Crickinfo gave me a link from his blog 23 Yards. Thanx, mate ... I owe u one for that.

If I manage to keep this up for the next year, I will be happy that it is a regular thing ... but till then, lets just treat this blog as an experiment that seems to have started out well.


The Chuckster


  • At Wednesday, October 13, 2004 5:25:00 AM, Blogger Chugs said…

    i heard the groundsman saying - it will offer good bounce on the 1st day, will be good for batting for the next 2 days and will assist spin thereafter.
    he seems to have created the perfect pitch :)

    about the team composition - ganguly would have been lynched if didnt make any changes after all this. they had to happen.

    about the blog - keep it going. there is a need for niche blogs. and u wont ever be short on cricket news or followers :)

  • At Wednesday, October 13, 2004 8:34:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Good blog. Man you have a lot of time in your hands for sure! I agree with you, Zaheer is a suck ass these days, besides I think he has always been overated anyway. I dont want to say too much here but I think you touched upon an important observation on how the "Team India" actually has to load up inspiration by watching Armstrong's fight back or crap! this really says that the team has absolutely no pride in playing for the good ol' country, they might as well be a bunch of pampered baniyas (with big and deep pockets) who know how play cricket by accident! frikking morons!! I would have imagined that one plays cricket to the best of their ability everytime you go out there when you play at this level. I think it also says that they know that they can be a bunch of goddamned slackers on the field. Jeezus!!! Just watch them get clobbered in this series if this attitude is true! feckin Losers!! Its time to toss out the captain who personifies this and get some n00bs with the right attitude, of course I'll get Dravid to lead the side if it was up to me , he is the Man!
    -Inquilaab zindabaad

  • At Wednesday, October 13, 2004 8:58:00 AM, Blogger Zag said…

    Trying to do some root cause analysis on the team's (or rather the key players') form drop. The one thing which jumps up in the case of Dravid, Laxman and Sehwag is that they all got hitched in the recent past. Marriage seems to have extinguished the fire in their belly. While they were bachelors they were really going great guns. Probably need a shrink to sort out the reasoning - but I am sure a shrink would be able to find a similar reasoning as to why Ganguly's form droppped after he stopped his dalliance which was reported in the press around two years back. I believe Imran Khan used to dictate his team to a celibate existence for the duration of key tournaments/series. He sure came up with some success. So there must be something going here.

  • At Wednesday, October 13, 2004 12:16:00 PM, Blogger Ari said…

    Grazzie, Chucky Ram J
    And thank you for acknowledging my comment, now let’s move onto business.

    First of all let me appreciate the quality of the pitch. I still remember my dad telling me that Madras’ pitch used to be one of the best in India for its bounce and pace and I’m talking close to 3-4 decades before. Then due to some Indian batsmen’s failure they changed it into a spinners pitch. Damn !! Damn!! Not that I’m complaining of present pitch, but this is surely one place which would make cricket alive from both the player’s and the spectators point of view. I call it “Stage of Excitement”

    I think Shewag will deliver the goods, it’s not impossible it is Inevitable.

    Now I hope some Indian “current” Cricketer reads this”Guys you’ve always done a good job of giving your best and for pete sake you saw what Bajii , Irfan & Zaheer did that last match. They showed you the path of confidence, Irfan is hardly 20 years old and he stepped down to hit Warne (Dadha I’m quite sure u could do better), I remember Bajii traumatized the Lanky Man in his spell (Laxman you earned your place in the team for your shots, not your sits… )

    I think stop mulling over all these media men who would love to create pressure, because I believe that pressure is all in your mind. I think you have more than what it takes to bring them down, especially you have the all famous humidity factor; use it to your level best.

    I don’t want argue about Tendulkar’s presence, but being a sportsman will explain what Tennis Elbow is: “Tennis Elbow or Lateral Epicondylitis is a condition when the outer part of the elbow becomes painful and tender, usually as a result of a specific strain, overuse, or a direct bang. Sometimes no specific cause is found.” And do remember this is formed over a period of time & if fitness level isn’t taken care of. A very close friend of mine who’s a bio-mechanist & a body builder (from India) , incidentally a true fan to SRT’s talent says his career is almost over. Now it’s just an opinion!!!

  • At Wednesday, October 13, 2004 10:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    LOL!! Zaheer Khan made it again!! What a joke!

  • At Wednesday, October 13, 2004 11:59:00 PM, Blogger Nag said…

    Hi Chuckster,

    I must say your writings are really attention-grabbing and passionate. I am glad that I came across your blog (thanks to Rediff) because ever since Prem panicker stopped writing regularly on Rediff, there is a dearth of good cricket writings (for want of an apt phrase) on the web. Instead, what you get these days about cricket is either plain reporting or blatant rumours. There is a need for guys like you to pen down some thing that in turn sets off a meaningful debate about various aspects of the game we love so much. Keep the good work going!!

    - Nag (
    P.S: your mention of watching cricket on a full working day (in one of your earlier pieces) reminded me of my own foolhardiness (or passion?) in watching a full day test match cricket in the stadium, exactly a day before my end-term exams (in IIM, Bangalore).

  • At Thursday, October 14, 2004 2:52:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think it is just a matter of time before fame reaches you. I seriously think that you should be joining the commentary team. We need people like you who live on cricketing instincts, people who live, eat and sleep cricket.

    I was not a regular follower of cricket until my boyfriend introduced me to your blog site. The english is so perfect and the language so interesting which makes reading and following cricket a lot different. Infact, nowadays for the last 1 week, I regularly keep checking your blog for new posts. Life is never the same now!

    I may not be an expert, but I have one question to you. Why cannot India find regular openers, wicket keepers, etc. ? Why is Indian team always looking for people with different specialization to do a job that is outside his expertise ?

    ~ ruks

  • At Thursday, October 14, 2004 5:42:00 AM, Blogger ananth said…

    Hi chuckster!
    gr8 writing! interesting tone and comments;-)
    keep it up..

    my 2 bits: i think yuvaraj and parthiv shud not be allowed to the grounds even to see the matches..what a sloppy game they have! it cud be contagious and cud screw up the game of pathans and dravids aint?

  • At Thursday, October 14, 2004 3:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    oye! saaley! mur gaya kya!?

  • At Monday, October 18, 2004 10:25:00 PM, Blogger Satty said…

    Yo dude i should thank that cricinfo guy for posting this really give very good view of things but i feel you are at times opinionated......but i guess everyone differs............keep up the good work and really cricket needs more people like you especially in India,because there is really a dearth of good writers......Dont know how srinath&srikanth get to write columns in offence srinath is a great bowler and i think thats how i would like to remember him.........srikath i really have doubts about his cricketing abilities......neways cheers and let the beer flow&the game begin...


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