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, December 29, 2004

Email subscription fixed?

After a long time I realized that the email subscription to my blog wasn't working. I checked out bloglet and changed some settings which oughta take care of the problem. Anyway, I will get to know tomorrow since I am also a subscriber to this blog (there are 29 in total of which I have two entries ... the way to see this is - there are 27 subscriptions which ain't me ... heh heh).

Also, there was this slight bug by which the profile / email link / site hit counter etc on the right side of the page went to the bottom of the page. I fixed that too and I can see it works.

Keep coming back guys ... u r the reason this blog exists.


The Chuckster

The Bangladesh series is over

Still the problem of maintaining a happy family life and at the same time a happy cricket writing life ... hmmm, someday the balance will become right.

Anyway, so we won the Bangladesh series ... yippieeess for us. One thing that made me happy was that in the tests India won comfortably. We oughta win comfortably, a lot of u might be muttering but then India hasn't always won the way they should against the lesser teams; so here it was good to see them stamp their authority.

From the test series, a lot of positives can be taken. Irfan Pathan's three 5 wicket hauls, for example. Yes, Bangladesh isn't much but then this is a guy in his first year of International cricket ... till now his toughest opponents were the A teams of the other countries and many of them wouldn't be much stronger than our Mumbai or Punjab Ranji teams. More admirable was the way he got his wickets ... no free gifts like Agarkar gets so many times ... a widish ball that the batsman wafts at and edges behind and lo, Agarkar gets a wicket. Pathan swung the ball admirably and really, the performance was worthy of a better opponent. I am really wondering what he will do in England whenever he does get to play there.

SRT got his 34th ton and hey, seriously here ... congrats, pal. Really, it was a no-win situation for SRT ... if he didn't get runs, people would make fun of him and if he got runs, they would say - "pah, against Bangladesh". So he really did the correct thing and got the runs anyway ... he gonna get cussed either way. The way I see it, more than the runs, it was the strokes he played that got my eye ... he wasn't the explosive batsman of his twenties but he wasn't the boringest batsman of the century that he has been of late, calling it seniority and responsibility and whatever else he could think of. Rather than delicate touches, he played a couple of shots that had some of the old power behind them. Those were good to watch ... let him make 40 more tons but dear God, let him play a few shots in anger now and then ... for some of us, that really would matter more.

I would have announced SRT's comeback to his old self but for the fact that these big shots are just appearing every now and then and not like before when they used to define his batting. But then "boond boond se ghada bharta hai" and I will take it as it comes. Another problem I still see is his tendency to get beaten ever so often. Earlier one of the reasons he used to be so special is that it took something special to beat him. Today any idiot on the block can come and beat him now and then. I don't really attribute it to loss of form coz it is today almost a feature of his batting ... but I really can't believe that he is no longer that good in judging the bowling. I would say that the quality of bowling SRT faced in his prime was definitely better than what he faced today and I can't believe eyesight can deteriorate to such an extent that he can't read bowlers of half the calibre of those he used to hammer earlier. Mid-life crisis? The one positive point I can say is he seems to be trying to get out of it. Earlier he didn't even seem to be trying ... now at least he seems to be trying. Yesterday, in the final ODI, I saw a shot he played ... coming down the track and smashing the ball to the mid-wicket boundary using the pull shot. If that isn't a sign of recovery, then what is?

Anyway, another funny thing in the last ODI was SRT waving goodbye to two of the batsmen he dismissed ... it was pretty child like and Harsha Bhogle was touched enough to remark "there is a bit of a child in Sachin Tendulkar, isn't there" with Arul Lal nodding his head vigorously and saying "Yes, and I hope it stays always". LOL ... I wonder if waving goodbye to a batsman with a smile on ur face is tanamount to bringing disrepute to the game?

One thing I did get right finally - Dhoni keeping wickets all through the ODI series. It was bound to happen but I wasn't certain simply coz I thought he would keep wickets and the general trend is for the opposite of what I say to happen. Anyway, he kept wickets pretty decently by all accounts ... I saw him keep but not enough to make a good judgement ... I saw him muff a Bhajji doosra, saw him take a snick off Bhajji and then a stumping off Tendulkar ... the stumping in particular was pretty neat. I would want to see more of him before I judge him but I didn't really see too much bad ... his collection could be a bit better. His batting was entertaining though ... I saw him run out in the first match and realized that he wasn't exactly the brightest around ... saw him score a few in the second and hit that six in the third ODI ... first impression I got was that there isn't too much of a difference between Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh's batting except that Bhajji wears a patka under his helmet while batting. It is basically trying to hit the ball as hard as possible and there he might have an edge over Bhajji simply coz he is used to hitting them and not just as a passtime. However, he really needs to blend in a bit of judgement with his shot making coz in international cricket, u just can't swing ur bat at everything that comes along. The lad seems to be pretty strong and I don't doubt that if he plays to potential, he could be devastating in the end overs but I don't know if he can really don the role of the seventh batsman that Ganguly so craves in this Indian team. Really upto Dhoni to make himself seem indispensible ... he didn't do his chances any harm by hammering that six in the third ODI.

Yuveraj's shots in the third ODI were absolutely brilliant ... yes, the bowling wasn't of the highest quality but the shot making was. Maybe he wanted to make a point; maybe he didn't. Whatever it was, it was brilliant. His comments to newspapers show his hurt at what he calls his unfair treatment in the test scene but in my opinion, he is lucky to have got the chances he did. Now that he has been tried out, there is no harm in giving him a bit of a rope coz one point the guy makes is right ... two innings is really not enough. My opinion still stands that two innings for him is two innings too many but hey, don't let any bad blood remain ... Yuvi is a critical part of the ODI team ... surely there will be chances to try him out again ... that is why u don't let the man eater smell blood ... coz then he wants some more. Bad planning on the part of Ganguly to let Yuvi smell that opening slot and then take it away (under pressure, no doubt).

Kaif has really come into his own in the past year. I always viewed him as a bits and pieces player who fitted into the team to fill a position the requirements for which really weren't specified clearly enough. Did they want an all rounder? Did they want a full time keeper? What the phuck did they really want? Whatever it was, it was Kaif filling that spot for so long coz he seemed to be the most qualified among the un-qualified ... and oh yes, he fielded a bit. Today it is a different story and I for one think he has moved out of the bits-and-pieces player mould and is starting to become a very good ODI batsman indeed ... no, not in the league of Bevan but he could do that ... today the possibility seems to be there. Again, that is different from his test spot which is really on only if something drastic happens to the top shots of the Indian team. But hey, he isn't staying where he was ... and that is a positive sign. VVS could learn from it.

A couple of funny things I noticed ... dunno if anyone else did. Sriram (who, in my opinion, for his 50 and 2-3 odd wickets did absolutely nothing of note) gave Kaif a mouthful when he got stumped in the 2nd ODI. I didn't really get it coz I saw it in the replays and not when it happened live ... but Sriram lost track of the ball and the keeper gathered it and Sriram took off for a run when the keeper had the ball in his hands ... and of course, he ran out (or was it stumped) Sriram ... and when Sriram passed Kaif at the other end on his way to the pavillion, he seemed to give him a mouthful ... what was interesting was Kaif immediately looking the other way which indicates that Sriram's words weren't exactly those of encouragement or to carry on or something on those lines. Anyone know anything about this? Damn cheek, it looks to me.

Bhajji also gave Dhoni some lip in the 3rd ODI ... I again didn't see it live but heard the commentators talking about it ... what happened? Any enlightened soul there who can throw some light on this? I would be much obliged.

Joginder Sharma seems to be nothing special ... again watched a bit but not a lot of him. He showed balls while batting though ... seems he has a couple of first class hundreds to his name too. Though I don't see any place for this guy in the team, really liked his pluck ... and hey, who am I to talk .... once I have said I don't see any future for this guy, it just might mean the start of his tremendous international career ... heh heh.

Finally to sign off on the cricketing front, a comment on those who are talking mockingly about India bringing their best team into the final ODI and talking about this showing the lack of bench strength etc. First of all, I fully support the move of bringing everyone back for the final ODI simply coz Bangladesh had to be shown their place after the 2nd ODI. It isn't as if India needed their best team to win ... just that they needed to stamp some authority while winning the third ODI ... and they did that with their batting exploits. Indid didn't need that team to win the match and I think everyone knows this ... why people even are discussing this angle is something I don't understand.

A non-cricketing thought comes to mind ... a month and a half back, the Chuckster was on the beaches of Vizag on his honeymoon and admiring the strengh of the waves hitting him and his new missus who screamed with laughter every time it happened. Today the same waves are causing so much of misery and heartbreak all over South East Asia. The television channels are really making merry with some cameramen asking wailing women to "get it line otherwise camera mein nahi aaega" and others asking survivors "when u saw ur wife and kid being washed away by the killer waves, how did u feel"? How the phuck do u think he felt, bitch? And how can I forget the guy whose face came in the paper a couple of days back ... a guy who was bringing out the dead body of a girl from the sea ... he was holding the body in his hands and grinning for the camera. Sheesh!!! Anyway - May those who lost their lives to the tsunami (new word for me ... though tidal wave was well known) rest in peace.


The Chuckster

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Laxman, SRT, Zaheer and a footballer

Quite a few things to write about here ... hopefully I can jot them down quickly enough to do justice to the issues and still rush home quickly where my new bride is waiting with bated breath and a quiver in her heart.

The first issue is that of VVS Laxman ... I wrote this post one week back but the stupid site went offline just after I finished typing it and pressed "POST" and I lost it all ... no amount of going back and forth got me the typed text. Anyway, here goes again.

Laxman and Kumble both seem to be unhappy at being left out of the ODI team. Where Kumble is concerned, I don't wanna comment too much coz this is a guy who has really come back to the peak of his form in the past year. He has taken on the toughest of opposition and given them something to think about ... so while I feel that ODI cricket would be detrimental to his re-birth as a bowler, I would rather not comment till I actually see the damage happening coz just like in tests, this guy might just re-invent himself in ODIs too. A long time back, Kumble coming on in the 9th over used to be a familiar sight in ODIs coz the faster bowlers would be getting hammered ... and when he came on, I for one would always be like "Ok, it is gonna be ok now ... Kumble is here". When we can hope for a SRT re-birth, a Kumble re-birth in ODIs is not too farfetched.

Laxman's is a different case altogether. The guy has been in and out of the ODI team numerous times and still his game hasn't changed one bit. That is the only thing that makes me have less hope for Laxman succeeding in ODIs than for Kumble succeeding in ODIs or SRT re-discovering his attacking instincts or whatever else. Either the guy is just plain dumb or someone is just not telling him what the problem is. Coz if he knows what the problem is, his cribbing is not really called for. He himself should recognize the problem.

First of all, calls about his fielding being a point against him is pure baloney. In a team led by Sourav Ganguly, we really shouldn't talk about fielding being a point either for dropping or picking a guy. I mean someone outstanding or someone terribly, terribly, terribly bad is one thing ... but anything in the middle ought to be ok coz the captain is out there setting an example as one of the worst fielders and least fit players in the team (when he bends to field the ball, u can actually heard the creaks if u listen hard). Yep, he doesn't drop catches - fielding is not equal to holding catches - but when he runs after the ball, I personally get a doubt about the story I read a long time back about his being a very promising footballer before he decided on cricket as the sport to pursue seriously. A footballer who runs like that???? Point I want to make is - fitness and fielding concerns should never be an issue as long as u have Ganguly leading the team ... unless as previous mentioned, someone is either outstanding or terrible, both of which Laxman is not. If Ganguly can play, then Laxman can play ... fielding cannot then be the main issue.

The problem with Laxman exists in his batting position - No. 3. In my book, either Laxman bats at 1, 2 or 3 or he doesn't play. Playing in these three positions gives him the freedom to either take advantage of the fielding restrictions in the first 15 overs (I still feel - a theory propogated by me a year or two back - that he would be an outstanding opening bat simply coz he can find the gaps so well ... a la Mark Waugh) or even after the first 15 overs are up, take his time about building his innings coz once the field spreads out, Laxman is terribly handicapped ... he can take those singles but you can't expect anything more from him. In this case, there is enough time for him to build his innings and for others after him to come and fortify the innings. If he comes in at any number after 3, he slows down the entire innings. He might still get his 50 odd runs but the scoring rate will be pretty average and if at any point of time the innings needs a push (lets say, chasing a reasonably decent target), the only way Laxman is gonna push the rate is by retiring hurt. Face it, he doesn't have the big shots that are required in the middle of the innings ... shots that Yuveraj has in abundance, Kaif has in short bursts and shots that Dravid has learnt to play over the past two years (that guy is so amazing) ... he doesn't have the running ability that can make up for this lack of hitting ability ... Kaif is an example ... he doesn't hit big like Yuveraj does but he runs so hard he makes up for a large part of it.

That probably is where Laxman's "lack of fitness" comes in ... the inability to run consistent twos and threes in the middle to end overs overs that gives others like Kaif - much lesser capability than Laxman, mind you - an edge. This wouldn't matter if Laxman batted at 1, 2 or 3 ... it does matter when 1, 2 and 3 are taken by SRT, Sehwag and Ganguly. One can see this in the mindset of the team management ... when either of SRT or Ganguly is unavailable coz of injury etc, Laxman gets to play ... otherwise he doesn't.

Laxman has had good performances in ODIs but they have been limited to Australia ... when the opposing team is not Australia, Laxman's ODI performances are nothing to write home about. That is why he will not replace SRT, Sehwag and Ganguly at the number 1, 2 or 3 positions. Whatever their form of the day be, one knows these three can run away with matches ... Laxman still has to show he can do it in ODI cricket. He can't do it with 40s and 50s ... he can only do it with consistent big ones coz he is not trying to replace a Kaif or Badani here ... he is trying to replace the three best ODI players in the team.

I suggested in an earlier post of mine that if Laxman really wanted to try for an easy spot in the ODI team, Kaif's spot would be the one to pick rather than the first three spots. Unless any of the top three drop down to 5 or 6 (the experiment was started by dropping SRT and then Gangs himself to 4 but we all know it didn't work ... it will take a brave man to try again ... I said it then and I say it now ... it is a good move to send one of the top three down and try Laxman up top ... a risk worth taking but I know it will not be taken), Laxman has to fight for a place with the Kaif and Mongias of Indian cricket ... even the Dravids and Yuverajs are much above him today. If Bihar's MS Dhoni succeeds as the keeper / batsman in the team, Laxman can wave his ODI career goodbye for the next year or two. If Dhoni doesn't make it (and it will take something extra-ordinary to make Ganguly change his Dravid-for-keeper policy), the seventh spot will still be open for the likes of Laxman, Badani, Mongia, Gavaskar etc to fight over. If Laxman is honest to himself, he will know that in test cricket, he is invaluable while in ODI cricket, he is one of the also-rans and not above the Badanis and Mongias and he cannot be accomodated because of his test exploits. Ganguly has always been ready to give his players a long rope but Laxman should look at his game and analyse what has changed over the years ... since he was constantly getting chopped from the team, he should have tried some changes, right? He might find minimal changes in his game and then he might understand that it is nothing personal for him to be dropped. He simply doesn't fit the scheme of things as they are ... either the scheme of things has to change or Laxman has to change.

Second topic - SRT's 34th hundred. I won't comment on his record breaking for two reasons - one, coz it was against Bangladesh and second, coz ESPN-STAR on which the series is being telecast is not available in A.P. for the past year or so ... I don't know about the rest of India. However, I did see some clippings of his innings on DD News (bless u DD ... I am sorry for cursing u a couple of thousand times ... sometimes u r the best) ... and while I did see the missed chances, I also saw the quality of some of his shots. A cover drive screaming to the boundary .... a vicious slash of a square cut ... and a push or two down the wicket ... the cover drive and square cut are two shots that SRT has almost banished from his armoury and it was good watching him play this way ... some slight shades of the "Tendulkar of Old" ... heh heh. Anyway, so he is joint top 100 scorer with SMG ... yippie for him. SMG had to salivate all over SRT for this occassion - I don't think we could have avoided it - and thankfully, we won't have to see such emotions again till SRT's next century ... geez, we all know what SRT has achieved over the past 16 years ... SMG constantly drooling over the world's best batsman even when he is batting like crap (ok, so here he didn't bat like crap, from all reports) is becoming a big headache.

Anyway, anyone notice something? One of the lives SRT had was against left arm spinner Rafique (hope I got the name right) ... geez, a left arm spinner from Bangladesh made him look like a novice and people say SRT knows what he is doing. Oh, well! When Ashley Giles can make SRT sweat, why not Rafique, Tommy, Vicky and Pappu?

Pathan took a 10 for the first time in his career and here I am particularly glad that they gave him the man of the match ahead of SRT. No doubt, SRT's innings was crucial to such an emphatic win for India but a youngster in his first year of test cricket getting 10 wickets in the match surely is a better performance than a master batsman getting a double ton against Bangladesh. I am not being anti-SRT here ... just keeping things in perspective.

What was Dravid's wicket all about ... he shouldered arms to a ball pitching just outside off and darting back in ... it wasn't that great a ball that a batsman of Dravid's class should be food by it ... geez, he has come onto the front foot to similar deliveries from Allan Donald and patted them back like he would to a spinner. Anyway, just mentioned it coz it was amazing to see Dravid make a mistake like that.

Finally on Zaheer. I have always maintained India have a hidden jewel here in terms of batting (bowling everyone knows). He is not a good batsman and will never be a good batsman simply coz he doesn't know abcd of the technique of batting. But what he can do is hit them far and wide and while that approach doesn't always work, a little practive and training will get the team 25 runs every now and then with sometimes the bonus of a 40. The problem is that they should get him to achieve this without teaching him how to bat coz if they try to teach him batting, his main strength of hoicking them far and long will go for a toss. So, rather than someone like Dravid teaching him, I would rather one of the big-hitting guys like Sehwag / Ganguly / SRT take some coaching lessons for Zaheer where they show him how to decide between the boundary and non-boundary balls ... teaching him the finer points of batting might simply destroy the whole exercise. Anyone who remembers Zaheer creaming the last 4 balls of a ODI against Zimbabwe for 4 consecutive sixes will tell u - there is a jewel sitting out there waiting for someone to unearth it. As long as he is a tail ender with nothing expected from him, we will get nothing out of him. Make him accountable ... not just with the ball but with the bat ... and give him the training to go along with the expectations. We might all be surprised at the edge he gives the team in the end overs of any ODI.

A non-cricket issue to end with. We all read of the death of Dempo footballer Cristiano, an import from Brazil, after a supposed foul by the Mohan Bagan goalkeeper. I also saw the replays and personally I don't know if the keeper got in a blow at all or how hard it was ... theory is that he got in a good blow as the player managed to get the ball past him and was in mid air. What I am trying to say is - it happened and while it is regrettable, it also raises the issue of who exactly to blame here. The death of the player was not due to the blow (even if it landed) ... post mortem reports say it was due to cardiac arrest supposedly due to over-exertion. The goal keeper is being blamed coz he is the easiest scapegoat to find in the entire scenario ... but physical contact between players is so common in football that talking of the Bagan's keeper's actions is really ignoring the larger issue at hand ... Are these things ok as long as no one dies?

If tomorrow, lets say a McGrath and Sarwan scream abuses at one another about each other's wives and mothers (thankfully no serious reports of actual physical contact, at least in international cricket, have come to light), and suddenly one of them has a stroke in the heat of the moment (improbable but then Cristiano was an athlete too ... and footballers are surely fitter than cricketers), will that be the moment we talk about discipline among sportspersons etc? Who will we blame? The system which allows it all or the individual player (Sarwan or McGrath or whoever) who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time???

What will be the reaction of all those cool cats who sit in air conditioned commentary boxes and talk about having been there / done that ... about these things happening in the heat of the moment ... about needing mental toughness in international cricket ... about mental disintegration separating the men from the boys ... as Ravi Shastri once put it - "when big boys are playing, little boys should stay home with mama" ... about having a beer after the day's play being a suitable antidote. If tomorrow, the scene I outlined does happen, will these cool cats tell Sarwan's mom or wife - "well, at least the boys have been separated from the men ... may he rest in peace".

I published this post and then remembered ... can't leave this one out, really. Non-cricket stuff here. Recently, there was this quote from Aishwarya Rai informing people that "the Taj is more beautiful than I" - see this link .. .... Quote - "Taj is a beautiful piece of architecture, more beautiful than me. I've always regarded it with admiration as it embodies love," said Rai, who has studied architecture.

Oh My God ... what a dope this woman is!!! The absolute cheek of the woman ... Thanx for telling us, Aish ... I wonder if anyone will remember u 5 years after u take ur simpering stupidity off the small / big screen. Shah Jahan will be rolling around his grave stammering - "Mumtaz baby ... I will have it cleansed in milk ... don't look at me like that ... it isn't my fault".

Anyway, cheers

The Chuckster

Friday, December 03, 2004

Keeper and Bangladesh ODIs

It was a good feeling I got when I read about the ODI team to Bangladesh. Yes, it is not going to be a great series or something but it shows some promise of good things to come.

We all wanted to know for some time what MS Dhoni could do. What with Ganguly intent on showing his loyalty to Patel despite repeated horrors and Dinesh Karthik being touted as the next big thing, I was wondering if Dhoni would get a look in without giving Karthik a raw deal. So taking Karthik for the tests and Dhoni for the ODIs sounds good ... Dhoni is supposed to be the dasher while Karthik is supposed to be the more accomplished batsman ... so Karthik for tests and Dhoni for ODIs sounds good, at least when we are in the mood for experimentation. These things are small but so important and so easy to screw up ... I still remember Rahul Dravid making his debut in ODIs and really struggling ... it was obvious to one and all that he had class written all over him but he just didn't cut it in the chances he got. Thankfully for Indian cricket, he did get his chances in test cricket and made the best of them.

S. Sriram is an example of what could have been ... I am not placing Sriram and Dravid on equal terms here but Sriram's strength was supposed to be test cricket and he was considered quite promising at one point of time (not that he is considered bad now ... in fact he is in the ODI team too to Bangladesh where he will no doubt hone his drinks-carrying skills) and went to Australia on a BCCI program etc ... but he made his debut in ODIs, flunked pretty bad in the 5 or 6 chances he got and never played a test. What could have been .... we will never know.

A few people suggested to me that Dhoni will most probably warm the bench in Bangladesh since Ganguly is so intent on playing 7 batsmen. An ODI series elsewhere and an ODI series against Bangladesh are two different things and I have no doubts in my mind that Dhoni will get his chances coz making Dravid keep in these ODIs would just be tiring him out for no reason at all. Hell, they could make Ganguly keep wickets and still win the ODI series comfortably. Laxman's absence will also play a part here coz it is always difficult to have a player like Laxman in the squad and not play him. To be fair to the selectors, Laxman despite his good performances against Australia has never been convincing as a ODI batsman. This gives us a good chance to evaluate Dhoni because all said and done, playing Dravid as a keeper is ok; in fact I have always been an active supporter of the move; the point is the next world cup where Dravid will be no longer as young and fit as he is today. In the recent world cup, he was young enough to take the load; he probably won't be for the next world cup.

Kumble's absence from the squad is another good move; I really don't know if he was dropped or he opted out (reports suggest he opted out but in Indian cricket one never knows) but we all know they will play one spinner in ODIs in most cases and it will be Harbhajan. Kumble has done his bit for king and country this year and meaningless drivel against Bangladesh is best avoided. As suggested by many people, I would even advocate his retiring from ODIs to concentrate on test cricket because really, the past year has been a rebirth for his test career and ODI cricket will not really help. His decision, of course, but I think Kumble's days in ODI cricket are numbered.

Closing note on Tendulkar's batting ... all TV channels seem to be debating on whether he is as good as he was and whether he still is the best batsman in the world etc and it is fun watching these programs if only for entertainment value; what was surprising was that even among Mumbai people, there were quite a few who felt he was past his best etc etc etc. My sister lives in Mumbai and I have no regional bias but I have always believed that a Mumbai guy will only praise Tendulkar, come what may. It was surprising to see fans from Mumbai talking about his waning powers.

To finish off, take a look at this link, if u haven't already seen it. It is a nice one. A couple of things are striking - the drastic change in percentage of shots in the cover / point region which is what gave Tendulkar that classy touch (of course that straight drive too) and increase in on side play and play towards third man. Damn, u don't need to be Sachin Tendulkar to open the face of the bat towards third man. The covers are what u gotta aim at when u r Sachin Tendulkar ... coz that is something not everyone does as easily as he did in his heydeys.

Click this link

BTW, I saw that six SRT hit on the last day of the Kolkata test ... came down and hit it far and long with the ease of old. In the recent past, he has been mis-hitting these more often than not and probably that is why he tries to avoid this shot. I was watching some old match on TEN SPORTS and watched SRT and Sidhu take some bowlers to the cleaners, repeatedly coming down the track to the slow bowlers and creaming them over long on and long off. Sighhhhh!


The Chuckster

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Thank God the series is over

To start off, let me talk about the comments about Tendulkar getting older etc ... just coz some of the readers of this blog (and elsewhere too) pointed it out. Guys, he is around 31 or 32, no more than that. Yes, he has played international cricket since he was 16 but that is his choice and our good luck. His having played so much cricket cannot be an excuse for his below par performance; he is not doing anyone a favour by playing cricket today. That is his profession and he is expected to do it, not that he does it to make us all happy. News is that the cricketers have signed the contracts, SRT included, and SRT is in the A category of players which means a lot of moolah. If he is getting old, let him go sit on an armchair and write his auto-biography, not get bowled by Ontong and Hall and crap like this. I don't know if he himself feels ashamed getting out to Ontong and Hall but I feel ashamed watching the highlights on TV. His dignity is slowly getting stripped.

Anyway, today's play made me a happy man. Not coz we won coz that is nothing to be proud of; we should have won this series 2-0 and both times within 4 days. What made me happy is the commentary on Crickinfo that showed Tendulkar coming out to the spinner and hitting him for a big six over long on. Hmmm, you can count on ur fingertips the number of times he has done it in the past three-four years.

Anyway, lets not talk too much about the India-SA series. It was an insult to cricket and an insult to the public. The only people who benefitted probably were the players who still got their fat pay cheques for doling out that drivel in the name of test cricket.

Anyway, it got confirmed that Andrew Leipus would be leaving after the Bangladesh tour and a new physio would take over. No news on the coach yet which might mean Wright stays. Hopefully we will get more inputs over time. Personally, I think we need someone more aggressive; Wright's approach was probably good when it came to handling a temperamental but talented side which played as individuals and not as a team. Now we are more or less playing as a unit and with good unity and discipline, the team needs a push which takes them from being also-rans to being winners (yeah right ... winning 1-0 against SA the way they did does NOT make them winners). Seeing India's performance over the past couple of series really makes me wonder if Wright is the person to give that push. Something tells me that with a team like India, where so much of aggression is lying latent (SRT becoming responsible being a case), one needs an Aussie touch to take them to the next rung ... where they can actually stand and look at the Aussies in the eye.

About SA, the only thing big about them right now is their coach's mouth. If this is the best team they have, I think Australia is the only team we need to think about ... earlier I always used to think about Australia and South Africa as the top two teams in International cricket.

Team for the Bangladesh tour was announced. Hopefully we won't be drawing any test matches there. Otherwise, like he did against SA, Ganguly would be crapping about good cricket from both his side and the SA side and all that after playing the dullest cricket possible. They drew the first test; ok, it shouldn't have happened. It was too shameless to actually call it good cricket.

What is sad about this Bangladesh tour is that Kumble's 435th wicket and SRT's 34th ton would probably come on this tour and for milestones achieved, really, achieving them against Bangladesh surely would take away some if not a lot of the pleasure. SRT's ton really (if it does indeed come) would not be that big an event for me personally coz he has played crap in the recent past but Kumble has been amazing in the recent past. This year he has taken 66 wickets or something like that in tests and he deserves all the praise he can get and then some more. Getting some Bangladeshi batsman as his 435th ... damn, that doesn't even have a good sound to it.

SS Paul gets a look in and that is good coz he has been doing all the correct things in domestic cricket and A tours ... but Bangladesh is not really the place for a fast bowler (or medium fast bowler in this case) to be making his mark. Good luck to him. Another inclusion is Gagandeep Singh of Punjab who I know nothing about (at least I have seen SS Paul bowling three or four times) ... his record in domestic looks to be pretty good. Good luck to him too.

Anyway, non cricket news. Bhupathi will be teaming up in 2005 with one half of the Woodies ... seems Woodbridge has been dumped by his 2003-2004 partner Jonas Bjorkman (Sweden) who will be teaming up with Max Miryni (incidentally, Bhupathi's partner in 2004). I don't know who Paes's partner will be but the Woodbridge / Bhupathi pair will be a cinch to be the team of 2005.

Aussie Ind ... relax about my getting the comments on my blog. Write with passion and people will respond.

And for those of you who are thinking that this site is really not living upto expectations due to the infrequent posting, I agree it is disappointing but I will be thinking up ways by which this can be more regular and more importantly, more content can be covered. Don't lose hope; bear with me ... somewhere out there, there is a solution to this problem; I will find it soon.


The Chuckster