Karthikeyan, Mirza and the Mohali test
Firstly for the F-1 update since I did manage to catch it completely on STAR. Obviously the commentators were aware that they were tending to a huge Indian viewership coz they mentioned Karthikeyan a lot before the race began. Karthikeyan started 12th on the grid and was positioned directly behind Kimi Raikkonen (the starting line up is basically divided into two columns). When the warm up lap was signalled, Raikkonen's car stalled and so while the rest of the line up took their original places after the warm up lap, Raikkonen had to move to the end of the grid. Basically, this meant there was an empty space right in front of Karthikeyan, something F-1 drivers dream about. Instead of weaving around the cars, at least for the first couple of seconds, he had a clear path ahead. That is what made his race disappointing for me. I don't know if his car gave trouble or if he was just ultra-conservative but when the lights went off, he moved ahead so slowly that instead of taking advantage of the space left by Raikkonen's car, cars behind him basically overtook him in the first couple of seconds. Yeah, maybe the cars behind were better than the Jordan cars but one of the cars that overtook him by the first bend was his own Jordan teammate, the Russian - Montiero. He is the second driver for the team and so even if there was a difference in the cars, Karthikeyan would have the better car ... but still five seconds into the race, Montiero had passed Karthikeyan.
Yep, I know that finally Karthikeyan finished ahead of Montiero but the point I was making here was - he was terribly terribly slow off the blocks and possibly that cost him a higher place. He finished 15th after starting 12th ... ideally he should have finished 12th or higher. Anyway, after the start, STAR basically didn't cover him a lot since he was among the tail. Fisichella won and Schumi went out ... ;-) ... Schumie tried to be too smart while overtaking the other car and almost pushed him off the track and in trying to get back, the other chap took out Schumie. "Basically nobody's fault", Schumie said after the race which basically means he knows he was more to blame than the other guy.
Anyway, both Jordans finished the race and that is something for teams like Jordan. Better luck to Karthikeyan for next time (Malaysia in 2 weeks time).
Read about Sania Mirza's sudden increase in ranking (she is now world No. 77) and worth in terms of endorsements. Seems six months back, she was commanding Rs. 5 lacs per endorsement contract ... it went to around 50 after her Australian Open third round entry and WTA win in Hyderabad. After the Dubai open, according to Deccan Chronicle, her sports management team has upgraded her rate to around 1 crore ... which is more than what guys like Yuveraj / Pathan / Sehwag command though lower than the Sachins, Gangulys and Dravids. Also (according to Deccan Chronicle ... not vouching for accuracy), she is only the fourth tennnis player after Steffi Graf, Edberg and Agassi to have her own signature line (clothing / shoes etc) ... i.e. - it hasn't started yet but she is reportedly signing a contract pretty soon. Check out this link for details - http://www.indiaexpress.com/news/sports/tennis/20050307-0.html. Great going, girl ... we needed some attention to be taken off the cricketers and u seem to be doing it. I think it will be good for everyone in Indian sports, fans included, to focus on something other than cricket. Just keep ur head and u will go far.
Finally on the first test in Mohali. Didn't post on that one since I haven't watched the day's play ... in office, like a good boy, though following it on crickinfo and Rediff (Prem Panicker giving commentary there). As I posted some days back, they gave Gambhir first go at the opener's slot and that is the correct way to go. Bhajji vs. Balaji was always going to be a dicey decision and the pitch selected Balaji. Basically, all three who sat out - Nehra, Bhajji and Yuveraj - were North Zone guys and the match is being played in a North Zone stadium. Ironic ... but correct, I think. Also worth mentioning is that Yuveraj who was left out of the 12 was included as the 12th man and Bhajji goes out of the 12. I guess they thought that since Bhajji wasn't playing anyway, better to take the better fielder among the two.
From whatever commentary I read from Prem Panicker in Rediff, seems Balaji was easily the fastest of the three quickies fielded by India ... though at our speeds, that probably doesn't mean too much of a difference. Though the Mohali wicket was supposed to be a green one, from all accounts, it is not bouncy ... pretty low bounce on occasions though the pace seems to be decent. 300 odd for Pakistan and India deserve to be kicked for letting them reach so far ... India always has to make someone a hero and this time they selected Asim Kamal for the honour; he made 91. Balaji took 5 wickets and India bat first thing tomorrow morning.
Will watch the highlights tonight if DD shows it ... problem with bloody DD is that they show the complete re-run of the match and not the highlights. Who has the time to sit for 6 hours to watch an entire re-run? When will they really learn something about sports packaging and marketing ... have they ever heard of something called "highlights"??? Sigh!!! Probably will have to depend on news reports.
Anyway, cheers. Have a good day, everyone.