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, September 28, 2005

Gangs wins ... or is that Dalmiya wins?

It cannot be seen any other way. Reading the contents of Greg C's email, with so many scathing remarks and accusations, for Ganguly to be "cleared of all charges" is nothing short of a slap in Chappell's face.

U know something ... it may be a mis-communication after all ... maybe Greg C just got his head all mixed up and read deep into things that had no deep seated meanings. Or it might be that he is right on the ball and Ganguly is guilty of most if not all the misdemenours Chappell cited against him. Whatever is true, it is clear that the patch up effected by the board is the worst possible solution. I am a Greg C backer but really, even a Greg C firing would have been a better option to the patch up created. How is this going to work? Who says Chappell won't see things again? Who says Ganguly will not try to undermine Chappell now that his side seems to be the winning side?

Thankfully, we have some cricket to focus on in terms of the Challenger series coming up and then the SL / SA ODI matches. The only silver lining I can see is that on the field of play, there is no Dalmiya and there is no "spin" ... If Ganguly can make his scores, the question of whether he should be in the team or not goes away ... if he doesn't make runs, the same issue will come up again ... maybe a bigger mess than this time. Imagine the scene where Ganguly averages 25 ... but hey, most of the guys average between 20 and 30 ... coz everyone tries to screw one another. The Ganguly camp try to run out the Chappel camp players ... the Chappell camp guys drop catches off the Ganguly camp bowlers ... and so on.

Why is that a silver lining, u ask? Coz if the above does happen, and there is another explosion between coach / captain / vice-captain, it will be much more difficult to smoothen things over.

Man, sounds lame even as I type it. Actually, there is no silver lining.

Anyway, among the recommendations coming from the review committee are -

1. Diff captains for ODI and tests. Does that mean Ganguly will go out of one team ... which one?

2. Changing the five member zonal based selection committee into a three member (irrespective of zone) committee. Damn, I can see three possible candidates right here ... Gavaskar, Shastri and Venkat ... who were part of the review committee. What a coincidence!!!

3. The captain looks after things on the field and the coach does his job. What the heck does that mean anyway?


The Chuckster

Monday, September 26, 2005

Gavaskar not to attend BCCI meeting

Hmmmm, I don't know what to say. Gavaskar is rumoured to be one of the Ganguly backers, while Shastri is supposed to be the Chappell backer. If this "reason" for missing the meeting is actually not a red herring, then surely the meeting could have been accomodated to ensure Gavaskar can attend it.

Everything is so much politics nowadays that even a sick dad brings up theories of conspiracies in the minds of innocent people like the Chuckster. Shame!

Will follow developments as and when they happen.


The Chuckster

Who's the next captain?

THough who knows the truth in anything coming in the media, I read this one and thought of sharing with u all -

I am surprised the question of captaincy (or the next captain, to be more precise) Magazine has raised hasn't come up in the media a lot ... coz it has definitely figured in the tea time debates between me and my office chums. The issue becomes significant more coz Dravid, the one guy whose input would be definitely taken on the issue (even if they don't take inputs from each and every member) has a lot to gain from this debate ... he may not wish to get the captaincy through a coup but if it is his evidence that shows Ganguly the door, his reputation could very well be tarnished beyond repair ... he is a strong man but he is also a clean man ... and while he will not back out of giving an opinion if asked, he won't be happy to do it ... this is in my honest opinion.

Could this be the re-introduction of Tendulkar, the captain?

Also in this report is Balaji as one of the lazies .... hmmm, I am surprised ... r u?

One other thing struck me - Do we understand that if now Ganguly stays and Chappell goes, this means Ganguly will play in the Indian XI till he himself retires and he will be untouchable for the rest of his career? Forget anything and everything ... no one can dare raise his voice against him coz if Ganguly can get Greg C thrown out, he can get anyone thrown out. Except Tendulkar, that is.


The Chuckster

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Yuveraj - which camp?

A quick word before I get down to the work of the day. I didnt include Yuveraj in the Ganguly camp earlier when I said Zaheer, Bhajji and Nehra would surely be behind Ganguly as it ensures their hassle-free life in the team. While Yuveraj may be indebted to Ganguly for the backing he has got from him, it is also a fact that Greg C's standards would be much more easier for Yuveraj to measure upto than for the other three. Yuveraj is a classy act in the ODIs and can be a devastating force ... only he is too busy being dashing to be great. Greg C might change that ... under Ganguly he will remain as is ... a dashing but irresponsible player who cannot be depended upon.

The main opponents of Greg C would be the lazies ... the rest, even if they groan under the workload, would recognize the soundness of the coach's advice.

Also, though I will post later in detail ... I think the time has come to bring the team into this. Bhajji went public yesterday and while the BCCI put a gag order on the entire team, for the problem to be solved in all its entierity, it is important to know what each and every player thinks of the situation. I don't mean they all should be paraded before Zee news and Aaj Tak ... but the BCCI review commitee or whoever is the deciding body ... should take the inputs of each and every member of the team ... senior or junior ... before deciding the just course of action.


The Chuckster
Hmm first things first! The Chuckster is back home and what a time to be back … who ever imagined a series of India vs. Zimbabwe would be so interesting … heh heh, never mind if all the interesting things r happening off the field of play.

Sometime back, in a post of mine, I made the statement – Greg Chappell has to decide now if he is man or mouse. Of course this was much before this spat between him and Ganguly – and at that time the Chuckster had no idea that drama of such proportions would be unfolding so soon - but basically, Chappell has answered this question without leaving any question of ambiguity.

In this whole saga, I feel sorry for Ganguly for but the good of Indian cricket, I feel Greg C has to win. Ganguly has been the king for a long time and he has earned his plaudits and it is his misfortune that he has to come up against a strong character like Greg C at this state of his career when he has to rely on past glory to make his point. Three years back, when Ganguly could assert himself with the bat, he could have talked through his performances. Now he is reduced to having his attitude / skills etc being ridiculed in public and all he can do is make lame statements about his past record and not being in good form only since the series against Pakistan …. Who is he kidding anyway? Ganguly the player exists today coz he is the captain … people talk about Yuveraj and Kaif not being good enough to replace a stalwart like Ganguly but I say this – are they as good as Ganguly was in his prime …. NO …. Are they better than Ganguly is today … YES. If u r not happy with Yuveraj and Kaif, look beyond them … today almost anyone can be as good as Ganguly on the field … it is not that hard anymore.

The question is really of roles and responsibilities. What is Ganguly’s role and what is Chappell’s role in Indian cricket today? I have feel following the media frenzy of the past few days and people keep talking about Ganguly being the motivating factor in the team and being the guy who built it from bottom up. I even agree with this statement coz in my opinion, Indian cricket would have been poorer without Ganguly’s leadership over the past few years. However, he was doing a job that was not his … building an Indian team was the job of the BCCI and the selectors … but since they weren’t willing / capable of doing their job, it was left to him and Wright. Since Ganguly the player carried his weight too, no one minded … today the situation is different coz Ganguly the player doesn’t merit a place in the team … only if u make him captain can u actually fit him in the team. Greg C, on the other hand, is doing his job …. Strategizing is his job and identifying the correct personnel to execute his strategy is also his job. In an ideal scenario, the captain and coach would execute the strategy together but here the captain doesn’t fit into the coach’s strategy … the problems begin right here.

IMO, Ganguly did a great job for Indian cricket … great … amazing … give him a momento and a benefit match … give him some award …. Don’t give him a place in the eleven today coz he did something for Indian cricket in the past. Today he is like Rajanikanth, the South Indian superstar, who still beats up the baddies and shakes his booty, albeit wearing a wig to hide his apparent old age. Rajanikanth gets umpteen takes to make his moves … Ganguly will get only one chance every time he walks onto the field … he takes it or gets crucified.

I can understand where Greg C is coming from … he has been given a job and for that he has formulated a plan where working hard and being extremely fit is one of the major criterias … and discipline and commitment are the backbone of the plan. However, the number one player in the team, the captain, is not ready to either work hard or follow the coach’s plan … but wants to do what he has always done … control the show by his own maverick methods. These two approaches clash terribly … it was always going to happen. My only surprise is that it happened so soon. Thinking over it, I am glad it happened so soon … whichever way the battle goes, it is better to get it over with as soon as possible.

When we hired an Australian for the coach’s job, it was always a dicey decision. Whatever u got, u would get it up front and that is what has happened now. Too bad that the captain and the coach r not getting along but then when Ganguly was king, so many others who didn’t fit into his plan of action were thrown by the wayside … the wheel has come full circle here and it is Ganguly’s turn to go.

The most amusing part is the role of the media in all this. Most of those who r covering this story have no clue on what cricket is and what a good batsman / bowler / fielder / captain / coach r supposed to do. They just know the names … Ganguly, Tendulkar, Dravid, Chappell … and based on those names, they r trying to make up a story entertaining enough for their viewers. I am actually surprised this hasn’t turned into a foreigner vs. Indian issue … though there is time for that yet.

Greg C must be wondering what kind of a madhouse he has stepped into … but the advantage he has in this situation is that he can pack up and go whenever he wants. He would lose a lot of money which the BCCI would have paid him over the next couple of years but apart from that, he will go with his reputation enhanced as someone who doesn’t hesitate to call a spade a spade. Ganguly on the other hand is on a stickier wicket. Even if he wins this round against Chappel and it is Chappell who gets the boot, each time he steps onto the field, he will be under the scanner … and I don’t know if Ganguly realizes it but his days r over … and a few more scores of the type he has been scoring of late and all the questions about his capability will rise again … and again … and again. Greg C has opened up a pandora’s box and it isn’t closing anytime soon, whether he remains a part of Indian cricket or not.

The charges against Ganguly are being debated upon like something amazingly un-expected has been revealed. About his not being fitness conscious and making excuses not to work hard, wasn’t it apparent to all of us for so many years? Have u seen him run between the wickets or even run after the ball to the boundary or make a dive to save runs? Physically, he has been at the lower end of the fitness table for years … only no one was willing to take him to task about that. That has changed with Chappell.

The most serious charge (and the one which makes me think the most) is about Ganguly ruling by the policy of divide-and-rule. On one hand, I feel sad that the guy who was given the credit for “Team India” should face a charge like this one … and on the other hand, I cannot think of another way for him to hold onto his crown. His cricket isn’t enough to warrant him a place in the team … and every time a Yuveraj or a Kaif or a Laxman gets dropped from the test and ODI teams, surely there would be bitterness in their minds about some unworthy being in the team while they get tossed around. Kaif and Yuveraj r supposed to be Ganguly’s boys but surely they must know that their futures in test cricket depend on Ganguly’s position in the team … they cannot replace Sehwag, Dravid, SRT or Laxman …. All four are miles ahead of them … so either they turn opener or they replace Ganguly … there is no other way in for them. They might be Ganguly’s boys but how long will they stand and watch their careers slip by?

Divide and rule … hmmm …. I will wait to hear details of this one!

When I think of Ganguly’s fitness or his commitment to fitness and discipline etc, I frequently compare him to Kumble … one of the more im-mobile cricketers in the Indian team … his running is as laboured as Ganguly’s and his dives as painstaking … but what is absent in Ganguly’s case and which is present in Kumble’s is the effort … Kumble may not make that save but he throws all his effort behind that ugly dive of his. Ganguly dives coz he wants to send a message that he tried … actually he didn’t … he knows that and everyone else knows that and he knows that no one can question him as long as that show of effort is there. Till the time Ganguly was king, that was ok … now with Greg C as king, that just won’t do.

Today morning I was listening to the news and the manager of the team gave a statement about Ganguly being part of all practice sessions etc … the news was being splashed as something major and something which went against what Chappell was charging Ganguly with. I didn’t understand that part … obviously Ganguly is going to be part of all fielding and practice drills … he is one of the team, isn’t he? The question that Greg C has raised is not about his absence from fielding and fitness drills but his seriousness about them.

I will be following this situation closely and will try to update my blog as much as possible with my thoughts. The next stage of action seems to be on September 27, when the review committee will meet under the banner of the BCCI … I heard that Ganguly would be present and I guess so would Greg C …. And though the media focus will be on the Ganguly – Chappell spat, one must remember that the review committee’s job is not to choose one over the other … their job is to review everyone’s performance and make a report to the BCCI with their recommendations. So the conclusion of the drama would surely not be on September 27 …. The only question in my mind is whether the issue would be resolved before the next series … coz no way is the team gonna be able to play cricket with this huge drama going on … and if the BCCI actually tries to delay this issue for its own political compulsions, we might see a frustrated Greg C packing his bags and leaving on his own.

Ending this post with a query … all of u guys reading this send and receive mails … if u send a mail to me, do tell me who can leak the email … me, u or someone who has the password to our mailboxes. Doesn’t that really narrow down the window a lot?

I wrote this post today afternoon (Sunday September 25) but I am seeinng on the TV right now about Harbhajan coming out in support of Ganguly .... saying that it is Chappell who is creating an atmosphere of fear in the team and Ganguly is the best captain possible etc. I will write a detailed post on it when possible but my initial take on this - Harbhajan is one of the "lazy gang" as I call them in my own mind ... with other members being Nehra and Zaheer and Sehwag. While it is commendable on Bhajji's part to back the man who has backed him over the years, I for one have no trust in his opinion ... coz Ganguly staying just means Bhajji gets a free ride in the team without too much of hard work ... and I fully expected Ganguly to be backed by the ones who fear Chappell's mantra of hard work.

Also heard comments from Kirthi Azad and Ashok Malhotra .... both saying Harbhajan would do well to stay quiet on the matter and let the BCCI handle it.


The Chuckster

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Pass ur peepers over this article - - it symbolizes what I like about Greg Chappell ... why I think he is different from the rest. He has a long term plan in mind .... any other coach in his place would have talked a bit about the win ... and tried to make it more than it was. Not this guy .... naah, it is not that important, he says .... good for u, Greggy.

I am following the India-Zimby match right now .... and I don't really care who wins ... lol ... but Yuveraj and Dhoni seem to be doing a good job of it uptil now. Gangs misses yet another chance to come good ... and in the finals Bond will be back and I guess Ganguly isn't gonna score too much there.

People have been talking about all Indian batsmen failing in the last couple of series and that too much is being made of Gangs' failure ... but the thing is - guys like Sehwag and Dravid r not in the middle of a prolonged slump ... Gangs is ... so if these guys fail now, it is like "ok they failed ... it happens" ... while with Gangs it is like "here we go again".

Anyway Sania and Sharapova in the next round .... my guess is that Sharapova will win in straight sets .... I saw her against Venum Williams in the Wimbledon finals and Sania has to go some way before being in the same league. But take nothing away from Mirza ... she is moving in absolutely the right direction ... go girlllll!!!

As I write this, India complete the win with Yuvi scoring a ton and Dhoni 60 odd ... commfortable win in the end. Dhoni belongs in the lower order ... to finish off matches ... so said the Chuckster for long ... look at my posts in Sri Lanka ... look at my posts before this series started ... the Chuckster is never wrong in his cricket analysis ... heh heh. Now the only thing left is to send Sehwag down ... not as punishment ... but to be the other half of the Dhoni-Sewag demolition squad ... the Kluseners of India .... we have plenty of people fighting for the top position ... the lower middle order can really make this team into a world beating team. Dhoni and Sehwag r it.

Ok guys ... time for the Chuckster to go sleep .... 25 odd days to go and the Chuckster will be back with wifey and the kids .... wait a minute, the Chuckster don't have kids ... damn, this memory is going. Now why the heck doesn't the Chuckster have kids? Gotta ask wifey this one once I go home ... heh heh.

Cheers guys

The Chuckster

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Aussies - booo hooooo hoooo

Btw, these Australians are strange people. They r great cricketers and competitors but sometimes u wonder if they even know what they r talking about ... whether they r just too dumb to realize it or so conceited that they think they have a point?

Some time back there was this crusade launched by wonder-keeper Gilly, where he decided to turn saint and preach about the morals of walking when out. Of course that didn't stop him from appealing voiceferously when replays clearly showed a couple of Indian batsmen (remember Pathan) not snicking it through to him behind the wicket. Why crookedness is ok when keeping and not ok when batting is something only Gilly can tell .... see, as a keeper he probably has the best idea (apart from the TV camera) as to what has touched the bat on the way through and what has not. Time and again, the camera shows Gilly's appeals to be as false as Agarkar's potential and Yuveraj's humility ... which he cannot be un-aware of. Yet, the guy has to talk noble about walking ... yep, he did walk and must be given credit for that ... but it is like a rapist cum robber being praised coz he decided rape was not good ... so he won't rape anymore ... but that doesn't stop him from robbing.

Ponting too is an example of this post - strange Aussies. Why he feels England shouldn't take advantage of every rule manipulation possible in the book, I don't know. England claim the substitute fielder who ran out Ponting was on for legitimate reasons as Simon Jones was in hospital for a scan / x-ray etc ... but really, I don't think they need have clarified. They could have just told Ponting to jump off the nearest cliff if he felt so aggrieved. I do believe Ponting was part of the team which in the last to last world cup (under Waugh) played slow cricket so they would achieve their target with a lesser net run rate ... and hence get the rivals of their choice to play against (or was it to knock out NZ ... man, this memory is going). He has bloody cheek to talk about the spirit of the game. If he digs up old videos of India's tour of Australia in 2000 (under Sachin), he will see a guy getting hit on the helmet grill and when the bowler comes up to see if he is ok, a volley of abuse follows .... if he takes off his moralistic sunglasses, he might realize that the guy in the old tapes is ..... HIMSELF. Screw the spirit of the game, Ponting old boy ... u got suckered and the world is laughing at u ... so am I .... HA HA HA.

I wrote in some previous post about 'Dizzy' Gillespie whining about the English crowd's behavior ... just thought would give a link to that one though u guys might have read it already -

BTW, my guess on the captaincy issue - if Ganguly averages less in this series (tri series plus test series) ... lets say, less than 30 (and at present, that looks HUGE for him) ... we will see a new captain next series. He has been escaping by the skin of his teeth for the past few months ... but if he doesn't perform soon, it will be either Chappell or him ... and the Board has invested too much money, publicy and hype in Chappell to throw him aside for a clearly on-the-decline Ganguly. Chappell is new on the job so he might not be judging Ganguly on a series or two ... but I am sure he will be giving his views on having a captain who doesn't deserve a place in the eleven on merit.


The Chuckster

good one from PremP's blog

Clive told the story of how one time, Sobers reached the dressing room a couple of moments before the toss, said oh, good, you guys are all here, shucked his blazer, went out, tossed, came back in, said we are fielding, and led his team out. As they were walking to the middle, he tossed the ball to Wes Hall and went, 'You bowl... the rest of you guys scatter!'
That, apparently, was the art of captaincy, according to Sir Gary.

The link is here - - This is in the last para of the first post of the page.

BTW, if Sania Mirza does get past her third round opponent, she will hook up with Maria Sharapova in the fourth round ... and who will the Indian guys cheer then? Heh heh ... Sharapova is the queen in the minds of guys I know simply coz she is so ... delicious ... but I don't think they ever thought of this one - Sharapova or Sania.

Read a few comments about fashion designers commenting on Sania's wardrobe needing a major facelift and about Sania "definitely not with it". Can the stupids shut up please ... request from Chuck. Sania has also been facing some questions over the tee shirts she wears ... with cheeky messages like "good girls don't become famous" and "Am I cute" etc etc etc *not quoted verbatim ... just as I remember it*. As she replied to one question about what statement she was making - I am not making a statement ... i am just wearing a tee shirt ... hell, I am 18.

Anyway, the nation's mania regarding Sania is something fresh for everyone ... but really, salutations to Deccan Chronicle in Hyderabad, which was covering Sania even four-five years back when she was a nobody playing nonsense sattelite tournament matches in nowhere-land. As I have written before, it was Sania's mom who did all the run around to get her daughter's results published in the papers - it is not as if Deccan Chronicle took the trouble of finding our how she was faring - but the paper still gave it a good coverage space. Deccan Chronicle is a Hyderabad based paper and Mirza is Hyderabadi ... but even then ... these chaps r really devoted to their own ... and need applause for that.

Go Sania!!!


The Chuckster

Sept 1

I looked at this article -

and at this article -

and I chuckle to myself and say - "Mr. Chappell ... this is where you show the world whether u r man or mouse".

The stories may be just rumours but I have had reason to comment on Sehwag before this. Before a series started (damn, I am forgetting which one ... was it the Australian series in India ... the one we lost???), he publicly commented upon preferring Akash Chopra to partner him in the opening slot in tests rather than Yuveraj. This was a sensitive issue and one to be planned out thoroughly ... and the guy says "no rather than Yuveraj, I think Chopra is better ... coz he is more suited to be a partner for me". Seriously, if Yuvi read that and didn't get pissed off, I would be really surprised. Forget if Yuvi would make a good opener or not ... IMO, never should Yuvi open in the near future ... unless there is a dramatic improvement in his technique outside off stump. The issue is - Sehwag is not really the person to be commenting on this .... he is nobody to ruin Yuveraj's chances for the slot. He has no right to go public ... he is not the captain or the vice captain of the test team.

The second case was more recent when Ganguly was selected captain for Zimbabwe ... Sehwag opened his mouth yet again to comment on "Ganguly being the best choice" or words to that effect. For a second, forget if Ganguly is the best choice or not. Who is Sehwag to pass judgement on that. The statement indicates "I think Dravid is not the best person at the moment to lead us" .... I can't imagine Dravid wasn't majorly pissed off on hearing this ... anyone would be ... it is the old "salt on the wounds" stuff here.

Sehwag is a wonderful batsman in tests .... coz he is different. Of the current lot, probably he is the only "Australian" mentality kind of guy in terms of always being aggressive. Sourav for all his "firebrand" attitude has tucked his tail between his legs and ran in the opposite direction many a time ... when the decision was his as to whether India presses for a win or plays safe and tries for a draw. Probably where Sehwag should be less Australian is in the way he opens his mouth. McGrath's "we should win 5-0" is coming back to haunt him now .... in fact, things r at a head where Ian Bell, the nobody from nowhere, is commenting on it being good if McGrath is fit for the final test as "we can handle him" .... lmao. If McGrath does play and gets Bell, I can hear some sweet music being exchanged.

On Australia, suddenly they r looking like a team with many a problem. At one point of time people used to wonder if the Australian team even needed a captain ... they were so damn good ... they were like a machine. Suddenly Ponting abuses everyone in sight coz he was dumb enough to get run out ... Gillespie moans and groans about the English crowd abusing him one second and asking for his autograph the next second ... he seemed terribly put out that his parents and wife etc were being made part of the colourful tirade aimed at him. Sooooo sad ... the clean-mouthed Aussies must be shocked at such behavior ... lol.

Gilly is looking mortal as is Hayden ... really, these guys need a series against India ... and things will be right as rain.

Gettign back to India, Chappell would be feeling the pressure. THough India won against Zimbabwe, even the Indians won't be too comfortable remembering the match. Poor Venu got his second duck on the trot and he will be wondering what hit him. In one way, I fully support the move of opening with Venu simply coz, as I put it before, if u don't try it, u will never know. If Sachin, Sehwag and Ganguly were present and in form, obviously one can question the wisdom of trying out Venu and Kaif in the slots ... but with the opening slot vacant (nopes, Sehwag is not it), try something .... if it fits, great! Else back to the drawing board.

See, Greg Chappell could easily follow the tried and tested stuff ... Ganguly, Sehwag, Dhoni, Dravid, Yuveraj, Kaif, Venu or Raina or JP, four bowlers ... makes up the eleven ... and their success percentage might be just decent enough to be usual. It is the easiest thing possible ... but what it will not give u is an idea of what is possible. When I got to know chappell was the selected one, I thought "ok now we will know what we can achieve ... we will know what is possible ... we will think differently" ... and that is happening.

This series is not important ... neither was Sri Lanka ... obviously if India had won, it would have been better for everyone, Chappell included. But the idea is a long term plan ... which requires ... errr ... a long term to achieve.

Chappell will get five out of ten ideas dead wrong .... three of them will be ok-ok ... two of them will be dead right ... that is what we r paying him to do ... if we pick the first eleven on reputation (and with SRT back later, it will be even easier) and bat and bowl and field the same way, hey, we could have had Mohinder Amarnath as coach ... he would have draped the Indian flag around his shoulders and sang the national anthem whenever India went to bat. We could have got him for half the money we may pay Chappell.

Whether it wanted to or not, the BCCI did the correct thing by hiring a professional for the job ... problem is with people equating wins with building a team ... really, my take on this is - if we won consistently, then we don't need to build a team .... it is already built ... that is why we r winning.

The same team will look tons better when Sehwag gets back some of his touch, when Ganguly stops jumping like a cat on a hot tin roof whenever a bowler bowls short ... and when the dependable Dravid gets back among the runs. It will be the same coach and captain at that time but the team will look better. That is the entire point ... the coach is for strategizing ... the players r for playing. The coach is getting it wrong but he is strategizing ... incorrectly, but still doing it ... but the players r not playing. U cannot win anything if ur players don't play.

I read one article - (the person posting here didn't post the source ... u can google it, I guess) - where they r talking of bring back the incentive plan ... that is the entire problem ... mollycoddling the players. no no beta, don't sulk ... we will give u more money ... see if u beat New Zealand, we will give u 50% bonus ... come on ... do it for the bonus.

It is sick, actually. I too love money ... I am famed for loving money ... but I am telling u this as a serious comment - if someone offered me ten times the money I am earning to do the same job I am doing today, I would grab at the chance ... and probably quit in disgust two months later. Coz love of money or not, I have some pride. Increase my responsibility and make it worth earning ten times the money I am earning now ... sure, I would probably be the happiest guy around ... but otherwise ... I feel I would be disgusted .... just a feeling.

The players earn much more than they should ... frankly. I bought a house after taking a loan from a bank ... I bought a car after taking a loan from a bank. I am a software engineer and I do not claim to earn less. It will be many years before I am a debt free man. A young man named Parthiv Patel earned 80 Lakh rupees for not playing the world cup ... plus a house in Amby valley. Others guys would have earned even more, depending on seniority etc ... why would they need a 50% bonus to perform better. Doesn't their conscience ever tell them that they should be playing to make their performance worth the money they r getting .... if not other factors like playing for the country.

This playing for the country thing is nonsense ... no one can eat roti and run a family coz he feels pride in his country ... we have seen Olympians live like beggars ... they all play for the country (must be ... there isn't any money to play for) ... some of them ran away to America coz they lost the bronze medal at Sydney by one second (Gursharan Singh in boxing) and no one gave a damn about them when they came back. If Rajyavardhan Rathore hadn't won silver, the various sports bodies and ministries tripping over themselves to honour him wouldn't even let him in the front door.

The cricketers r playing for money ... and rightly so ... but we over do it. Our culture is like that .... and probably that will be the biggest challenge in front of Chappell. Ask Sehwag to drop down the order and everyone will scream blue murder about his experience and explosive power going waste, never mind his obvious lack of success ... ask Venugopal to open and everyone snickers at this dumb Aussie. Tendulkar's non-availability for a non-series against Zimbabwe is a bigger issue than whether India has an all rounder or not.

Like I said ... man or mouse. Slowly the time is coming when we discover this. John Wright's successes were big coz the standards he had to face upto were abysmally low ... Chappell's task is harder coz the bar is now higher ... but he can take the easy way out and just manage to touch the bar ... or he can take the tough way out and try to raise the bar by several notches.

Time will tell. With an Aussie in charge, however ... I don't think playing safe will really be an option.