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.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Tsunami cricket and all that

A very Happy New Year to u all. On a personal note, it has been hectic like hell and I hope it is a little less strenuous this time around.

Anyway, I read with some amusement about the media coverage of Sehwag's bat fetching 70,000 for the Tsunami victims and something else fetching some other huge amount at auctions. Sure, money counts however it may come but media organizations seem to be attributing stuff like these (auctioning tee shirts, bats etc) as personal contributions from the demi gods of Indian cricket and we must remember that the money is not coming from them but from those who buy the auctioned stuff ... from the player's pocket, not even a paisa goes and even the tee shirt / bat etc would most probably be free. Sure, it is possible that all players are doing their bit by personal contributions but I just want to make sure the issue is not confused by talking about someone's tee shirt fetching amount XYZ and someone's bat fetching amount ABC.

The teams selected for the Tsunami relief match on January 10 in Melbourne make for interesting reading. I initially thought it would be the Asian best against the non-Asian best ... but with a player from Bangladesh in the squad and Ganguly / Tendulkar in the team, it surely can't be the best team possible ... just the best star studded team they could come up with. I don't dispute the thinking behind it coz in a festival match, the crowd come to have fun and the result of the match doesn't really matter. However, there are talks of the match getting official ODI status and here I object ... if it is going to be an official match then merit and not star attraction should be the first criteria.

Forget the Bangladeshi guy ... we don't really need to discuss whether he belongs in the best team possible from Asia or not ... but where SRT and Ganguly are concerned, there can be a good debate. My take on things - both wouldn't be in my squad of Asia's best today on current form and ignoring what they achieved in the past. A Sehwag ranks much above a SRT today and so while Sehwag's inclusion is not under dispute, SRT's inclusion is nothing but a crowd pulling move ... which is not required because irrespective of whether SRT plays or not, I am sure the stadiums would be full. Even if SRT plays, it is going to be interesting watching where he will play ... with Sehwag and Jayasurya in the team, is SRT gonna open? I will be watching with bated breath. If Imzamam had not been injured, he would have been my pick over SRT anyday.

Again, Ganguly being the Indian captain has some merit coz he has built the team and it might well crumble without his leadership. However, for a one off match, his being captain doesn't really make sense coz he has never been really known for on-field brilliance. As for his "people" skills, I really doubt if they are required in this scenario. A Yuveraj in the team would have fitted much better.

There are other things one could debate about the teams but enough said. Lets hope the cricket is of the highest quality and lets also hope the match does not get official ODI status else it will be an injustice to those who missed out because they weren't so flamboyant as the Tendulkars and Gangulys.

A point on Tendulkar's playing the match itself ... he is supposed to be recovering from injury and has been advised rest ... that is the reason why he is not playing the domestic matches even though Dravid / Ganguly / Zaheer etc are turning out for their respective teams. One of the earliest reports in the media about the match suggested that SRT might captain the team (which is really dumb ... does the word "captain" have no significance at all ... to give it to a proven failure) but later reports confirmed that he got in at the last minute at his own request to play the match. While it may be a noble and big hearted gesture on his part, personally I have no time for dramatics like this ... either he is injured and can't play cricket or he is ok and can play cricket. If he cannot play for Mumbai, he surely cannot play for Asia XI ... the injured elbow is not going to look at the cause for which he is playing. Personally, I think it is pretty irresponsible of SRT to volunteer ... coz once he volunteered, there is no way he was not gonna be in that team. I really can't support that move.

BTW, is it only me or are others noticing the really impressive cricket Jadeja is playing since becoming skipper of the Delhi team? He has been scoring consistently and against good teams and one might just see his name come back into reckoning for the ODI team. Yes, there are others who are performing well on the domestic scene but we all know that Jadeja can play at the top level and that makes his case special. I try to put Jadeja in the current Indian team based on my rememberance of his past and u know what ... it looks pretty damn good to me.

Anyway, the new year will see an Indian woman in the Australian Open tennis main draw ... Sania Mirza playing with a wild card ... after Nirupama Vaidhyanathan, she will be the first Indian woman to play a grand slam (if one forgets Shikha Uberai losing to Venus Williams in the US open ... coz Uberai is strictly not Indian ... yet). An indication of better things to come for Indian sport? Lets hope so.


The Chuckster


  • At Tuesday, January 04, 2005 9:21:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Rating Sehwag over Sachin (regards to both form and reputation), am sorry to say..its JUNK !! They are playing ODIs remember and Sehwag is in very poor form in this form of the game. And Inzi over Sachin on any day...another JUNK !! i hope u were not sleeping when typing this..Inzi over Sachin "for No 4 slot" would probably be right (assuming Sanath and Sehwag wud open).

  • At Tuesday, January 04, 2005 8:28:00 PM, Blogger Chuck Inn said…

    To answer the previous comment, Sehwag over Sachin is junk, IMO ... there I differ with u. The other point u raised ... I AM talking about Inzy over SRT at Number 4 ... coz for me Sanath and Sehwag would open. I am not talking about Inzy over SRT for the opening slot.


    The Chuckster

  • At Tuesday, January 04, 2005 9:30:00 PM, Blogger Ari said…

    The river meanders its own way.. Chuck..

    SRT currently is the crowd puller and for a real long time will be for various that we know he aint playing at all, the controversy almost ended. Chances of seeing Murali bowl is going to be fun,he wud b the new tsunami which takes over SCG/MCG...

    Surprisingly Gangs and co are doing great in the domestic level. AJ has been consistent but his age is catching up real quick unlike Robin Singh I doubt if he would be able to make best efforts, but who would he replace in the current team?

  • At Wednesday, January 05, 2005 1:00:00 PM, Blogger Gana said…

    As you might have observed Tendulkar has pulled out of Tsunami charity match(correctly IMO) but will be attending the match, required in my opinion again.No one pulls the crowd like Mr.Tendulkar in world cricket.

    selecting Sehwag over Sachin in One Day cricket in present form is just not worth it. Sehwag is a lottery where as Tendulkar is sure shot.
    Mat Runs HS BatAv 100 50 W BB BowlAv 5w Ct St
    6 281 82* 56.20 0 3 12 3/21 12.25 0 1 0
    13 189 81 15.75 0 1 9 3/37 33.55 0 4 0

    Just look at the statistics.

  • At Wednesday, January 05, 2005 4:10:00 PM, Blogger Filbert said…

    I am not sure on what basis you have said that you would prefer Sehwag over Sachin. May be its bcos Sehwag can turn the match around on its heels single handedly, something which Sachin was doing in his hey days. But then, dont you think that Sehwag lacks the most vital aspect of batsmanship called CONSISTENCY. I looked up the ODI stats of all the three (for the last 30 matches they have played) and this is what I got (read as matches, runs scored, average, no. of centuries and no. of half-centuries):

    30 845 29.13 1 5

    30 985 42.82 2 6

    30 1365 48.75 3 8

    I know statistics conceal more than what they reveal. But then when there is such a huge difference in the average of the players concerned, it sure needs some consideration. Sehwag has 1 century and 5 fifties in his last 30 ODI innings and Sachin has 3 centuries and 8 fifties in the same number of innings. I know ,in light of the 248 against Bangladesh, people will jump into the conclusion that Sachin might have got many of those runs against weaker opposition. That is actually not true since only 2 of those half centuries came against weaker opposition (Bangladesh & Kenya) and in Sehwag's case, 2 of his half centuries too came against similar opposition (Zimbabwe and Bangladesh).

    The fact that Sachin is not his old attacking self should not really matter if Sachin should be selected in the team or not. The way he scores the runs should be a matter of concern only to us, the fans and not the selectors, for all they (the selectors) need to worry about is the number of runs a particular player has scored, where Sachin is way above Sehwag. So, the fact that Sehwag is an exciting player does not guarantee a place in the Asian XI whereas Sachin's consistent scores in the past year should see him make it to the XI. And if pulling the crowd to the stadium to generate more money for the tsunami relief is the goal, as exciting Sehwag can be, Sachin is miles ahead of Sehwag when it comes to that.

    p.s.: I had left a comment to one of your previous post and someone has responded back in an unparliamentary manner. Is there any way you can delete that comment?

  • At Thursday, January 13, 2005 7:09:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Shewag over Sachin : Here is my take...To call any one batsman above a crop, to be fit for selection in Asian XI, I will use this yardstick. Suppose, a side sinks to say 15/3 or 25/4, when chasing 280+ total, can the remaining batsman win the match ? Only a select few can pass this criteria and I have to say SACHIN is not one of them. He was never one (even in his best of cricketing years) and he is definitely not one now. LARA is the only one who can meet this criteria in modern cricket. Coming to Asian players, may be Youhana can take the score close but still not solid enough to win and same goes with Shewag. I will agree 100% with Chuckster. Shewag even in out of form is a level above Sachin of the current and as far as Ganguly, the less said the better.
    Kalyan, Houston USA

  • At Sunday, January 16, 2005 1:33:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You are kiddin me right ? Jadeja back in the team ? I spoke to a senior Indian team member recently and he said that Jadeja is hated by most memebers of the current team. he may have won the court case, but certainly not the respect of his team mates. There is no place for players like Nayan Mongia and Ajay Jadeja.

    Good call on plyers not contributing from their pocket. Schumi showed all sportsmen the way by donating 10 Mil.

  • At Tuesday, January 18, 2005 2:20:00 PM, Blogger Filbert said…

    Hello Kalyan,

    Can you list me one innings where Sehwag has won a game for India when he found himself in your yarstick situation? I bet you can not do that since none of Sehwag's innings has come in pressure cooker situations like that. Reason for that - he hasn't even found himself in such pressure situations in first place bcos his is usually the first wicket to fall, irrespective of how many runs he scores. It has happened so many times that he will score a century and still his would be the first wicket to fall.

    Now that you have dragged Lara's name into the picture, I would be glad if you can list me some innings where Lara has won matches for the WI after his side was 15 for 3 or 25 for 4 chasing 280. Do not be blindly saying that Lara is a better match winner than Sachin. True, Lara has won matches for WI in tests but in ODIs, he hasnt done anything remarkable.

    Please do click on the following link. This link has the scorecards of all the matches which were WON by the WI while CHASING during the entire length of Lara's career.;playerid=1982;class=odiplayer;filter=basic;team=0;opposition=0;notopposition=0;season=0;homeaway=0;continent=0;country=0;notcountry=0;groundid=0;startdefault=1990-11-09;start=1990-11-09;enddefault=2005-01-14;end=2005-01-14;tourneyid=0;finals=0;daynight=0;toss=0;scheduledovers=0;scheduleddays=0;innings=2;result=won;followon=0;seriesresult=0;captain=0;keeper=0;dnp=0;recent=;viewtype=aro_list;runslow=;runshigh=;batposition=0;dismissal=0;bowposition=0;ballslow=;ballshigh=;bpof=0;overslow=;overshigh=;conclow=;conchigh=;wicketslow=;wicketshigh=;dismissalslow=;dismissalshigh=;caughtlow=;caughthigh=;caughttype=0;stumpedlow=;stumpedhigh=;csearch=;submit=1;.cgifields=viewtype

    Now, show me one innings in this list where Lara has come with his side in a desperate situation (or in your words, at 15 for 3 or 25 for 4) and played a match winning innings. He has scored 7 centuries and 18 half-centuries in these games. I went through the score card of all these matches and not one of his innings came under pressure. True, he has played a few remarkable
    innings (about 5-10 innings out of a total of 245 innings that he has played in his career) where he has successfully chased 250+ runs but then again, in
    your yarstick, they were not in pressure situations where the WI had lost early wickets. And I can show you at least 20 such innings when Sachin helped India successfully chase 250+ runs.

    Even in tests, you will not be able to mention one instance where Lara has single-handedly won the match for his country after the time both Walsh and
    Ambrose retired (i.e. in the last 5 years). Lara was able to win matches then bcos he played in a good team (with Walsh and Ambrose), something Sachin was not a part of until recently. But ever since they both departed the scene, again, show me one match where WI won due to Lara's single handed contribution. (Actually I can show you one instance where WI could have won
    the match but had to settle for a draw just bcos Lara went for the world record of 400 runs).

    Let me show you what has been Lara's plight in the last 5 years with a good example: Lara scored 688 runs in the 2001-02 3-test series against the Sri Lankans in Sri Lanka but WI lost all the 3 matches. This has been the case of the Lara of late, something which Sachin had to endure throughout his career. His last remarkable match-winning innings came against the Australians in 1999 when both Walsh and Ambrose were in the team.

    My only request to you is this: Before you write something, make sure you have sufficient statistics to back what you say. Just blindly saying that Lara is a better match winner who has won matches for WI from desperate situations will not help you in any way.

  • At Wednesday, January 19, 2005 6:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    FILBERT..Thanks . That was a very good, analytical post and I did go thro' that link to find that what I said is not backed up by stats. I do agree that my writing is more based on a general perception (I was influenced to certain extent, when I saw a recent scorecard between Aus A and WI and in this match Lara blasted a 100+ after WI faltered as usual, initially. One can argue that it is afterall an A team match but if I remember right, Bret Lee was there in the team). Anyway, I have to admit that Sachin, played with a weaker team for most of his career and more important played with colleagues with hearts made of not so sterner stuff. Having said everything, I will still rate Lara above Sachin - You can ask me why? especially after not backing that with stats...that is just the love for the way he bats and the overall fluency. One can argue that such fludidity, grace and rate of scoring is no use, if the team does not win..true to a large extent again but in my book, I will value - the grace, the fluid movement, the effortless poise and the rate of scoring and by that yard stick, I have to go with Lara over Sachin. It is just an opinion of mine and since it is subjective, I do not want others to agree, if they do not feel so.
    Thanks..Kalyan, Houston, USA

  • At Thursday, January 20, 2005 10:54:00 AM, Blogger Filbert said…

    Kalyan, Thanks for your response. And sorry about the slightly jingoistic tone in my previous comment. Anyway, as you have mentioned, I guess we will have to agree to disagree in this regard since I am a huge fan of Sachin and for me, Sachin is & will always be the best when it comes to all the qualities that you have listed - grace, poise and overall fluency.

  • At Monday, January 24, 2005 1:29:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    there you go...licking his ass once again

  • At Saturday, February 05, 2005 1:20:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Do you have any personal vengence with sachin tendulkar. Some of your article is good. But you some times bluff that sachin is not a better player and all. Thats the height of stupidity I ever heard. How can you say that with sachin the team is not the best.. I think ur drinking 2222222 much of beer and writing ur comments..


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