Archive for the ‘Australia’ Category

Celebrity Cricket

February 22, 2010

Ran into this video (don’t ask me how) of Daniel Radcliffe professing his love of cricket. He seems mature beyond his years. Or have I just gotten that old now?

Here’s a link to the video.

Verdict on Bracken

March 6, 2008

Bracken was hugely lauded for his performance in the CB series and even given the Player of the Series award. He took the most number of wickets, 21, at a miserly average of 16.52. But nobody seems to have noticed that he played exceedingly well against Sri Lanka, but not India. Here’s a breakdown of his stats.

Against Sri Lanka : Conceded 110 runs for 13 wickets at an average of 8.5 in 4 games
Against India : Conceded 237 runs for 8 wickets at an average of nearly 30 in 6 games

Sydneygate

January 8, 2008

So, a whole lot has been said/written about the Sydney Test. Enough that it made me come out of retirement to provide a clear, concise picture of it all.

The long and short of it is this: downright incompetent and one-sided umpiring. It’s not the Australians’ fault. They did not play out of the spirit of the game, and Kumble was wrong to say that (is he not always appealing for ridiculous wickets?). There were tons of other events that led to the emotional outpouring, but the only thing wrong with this game was the poor umpiring. If all the decisions had gone in India’s favour, they would have enjoyed it as much as the Aussies did. What do you think is going to happen in the next Test when Tendulkar nicks one, is given not out and stands his ground? Players don’t walk, claim catches they haven’t taken, and so on. It’s not new. It has happened before and will happen again. That’s not what was wrong with this Test.

All this talk about India discontinuing the tour, Aussies being ugly (as much as I hate their guts), or not playing in the right spirit, or bringing a charge against Hogg for using the term “bastard” is nonsense, and it would behoove all parties to not conduct, participate or pay attention to such frivolous and time-wasting matters.

Bad umpiring by itself is not that big a problem either, assuming both sides benefit from it. But this was by far one-sided, suspiciously so. And that’s what drove the Indians’ over the bend (along with the fact that the umpiring changed the complexion of a very crucial game in which they had somehow gotten on top even though they had lost Zaheer Khan). I have compiled a list of all the bad decisions (roughly in the order of gravity):

  1. Symonds’ caught behind given not out by Bucknor
  2. Dravid given caught behind by Bucknor on the last day when the ball clearly hit the pad
  3. Bucknor did not refer Symonds’ close stumping to the 3rd umpire (not whether he was out or not, but that one needed to be referred)
  4. Benson asked Ponting if Clarke caught Ganguly cleanly (rules say he has to ask leg umpire and if both are not sure, ask the 3rd umpire or give batsman the benefit of the doubt)
  5. Benson gave Ponting out LBW when on 55 in the first innings (which negated the decision below)
  6. Benson gave Ponting not out when on 17 in the first innings when he was caught behind (a very thin edge)
  7. Bucknor failed to spot the no ball with which Brett Lee bowled Jaffer in the first innings
  8. 3rd umpire failed to give Symonds out stumped even though his foot was in the air (and all 3 Australian commentators at the time agreed that it was out)

I have not included any LBW decisions because they’re usually in a gray area. I did read somewhere about a nick from Hussey (I think Peter Roebuck mentioned it), but I did not see it personally, so I don’t know what that was about. But the two wrong decisions at the top of the list above were enough to turn the game on its head. The first seized the initiative from India and the second handed it to Australia.

Bucknor has been ruling too much against India over the years for it to be entirely coincidental. I want to believe that he’s unbiased, but a lot of evidence to the contrary has piled up. I can’t recall when he’s made a huge blunder in India’s favor, but I can rattle off a number of absolute stinkers that have hurt India badly in important games. I don’t know what his motivation could be — perhaps he got poor decisions in India in his playing days. Or maybe I am wrong and he’s not really biased. Whatever the case, the Indians should raise an issue, furnish the evidence of his poor decisions against India for the past few years, ensure he never officiates in any of India’s games (or is fired permanently) and move on.

The other thing to do is, obviously, to bring in the appeals/challege system so such injustice cannot be done again to anybody. Downright wrong decisions will be avoided and just that will be a huge improvement. It’s time to usher cricket into the 21st century, and the sooner ICC does it the better. I have no respect for Malcolm Speed, but hopefully he’ll do one thing right while in office. Everybody talks about the appeal system after such poor games and call it the right time to bring in that system. The right time is before such games. I wrote about it a long time ago. Wake up, ICC.

As for the racism charges against Harbhajan. It’s difficult to say since we don’t know what exactly was said. Personally, I don’t think “monkey” is a racist term, but maybe in this case it was, and if that was Harbhajan’s intention he should be penalized. I do, however, think that the penalty given (3 Test ban) was particularly harsh, espeically given that there doesn’t seem to be enough proof to suggest a racist intention. Greg Baum argues the case well here. It’s important to note that, from the tv shots, Harbhajan seemed to immediately apologize. That makes me think he did use the “monkey” term, although the motive might not have been racist (aren’t both of them brown-colored? how can it be a skin color issue then?). Also, Darren Lehmann once called Murali a “black cunt” which is clearly more racist, and he got off with a 5-ODI ban, didn’t he? I am sure Harbhajan and the rest of the Indian team would prefer a 5-ODI ban to a 3-Test ban.

I would like to end by presenting my arguments against certain cases I have seen mentioned in a few places.

1) Didn’t visiting teams to India always get bad umpiring decisions back in the 70s and 80s?
I don’t know about back then, but if so, yes, that would be wrong. That, however, doesn’t mean it’s okay for it to happen now for teams visiting Australia. By this argument, you could say that it is okay for Indians to call racial slurs to other Caucasian teams because it was the other way around back in the day.

India was robbed in this Test. What has happened, has happened and can’t be changed. Australia has retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Let’s look forward to the series later in the year when Australia will visit India.

Knickers in a twist

December 28, 2006

For those that haven’t yet seen it, it’s worth taking a look at England’s plans to get the Aussies out.

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

It’s interesting to see their plan to get the Aussies to “knick” [sic] the ball.

A vote for McGrath

December 28, 2006

This blog is all but dead. But I had to come out of retirement to pay tribute to the one man, if any, who can be credited for transforming a very good Australian unit to the best outfit the world has ever seen.

While the cricket world goes ga-ga over Warne, the genial (off-field) McGrath will quietly play second-fiddle. This post is not meant to take anything away from Warne, every bit a champion as there was any, but to put McGrath’s contributions with the ball in perspective. McGrath’s stats are far superior than Warne’s, slice them however you want. His average is nearly 4 points better; his strike rate nearly 6 balls better. If that doesn’t convince you, consider how Australia has fared in his absence. Or the percentage of wickets that included the one of the top six batsmen. The only reason Warne has more wickets than McGrath is because, being a spinner, he can bowl many more deliveries. Most importantly, McGrath has been outstanding against all opposition in all conditions all over the world. Apart from taking those crucial early wickets, he’s gotten vital breakthroughs virtually everytime his captain has turned to him. No batsman can claim to have had the better of him. He has kept the best batsmen of his time on a leash (Tendulkar), if not completely dominated them (Lara). Warne, of course, has a huge blemish on his record against the Indian batsmen. While McGrath may not be as entertaining or flamboyant as Warne, he was certainly more effective.

Remember McGrath not by what you see in the on-going Ashes series. The fast bowlers’ banes — age and injury — have rendered him to be merely good for quite some time now. Instead, for all the non-Australians out there, recall the time and again that he’s dashed your hopes. It still hurts.

It’s a testament to his fitness and commitment that he has lasted this long in international cricket. The time is right for him to bow out, and he will be sorely missed. Stuart Clark has huge boots to fill (although the initial signs are good from Australia’s perspective). The greatest cricketer I’ve seen, bar none, will be playing his last Test next week, and I’ll be watching.

Ponting vs Tendulkar

April 19, 2006

There was a scenario a couple of seasons ago when Warne and Murali were neck-to-neck with the most number of wickets in Test cricket. Then Murali went out for a while due to injury, and Warne took a clear lead. But Murali is much younger than Warne and hence is pipped to be holding the record when the two hang their boots.

We might have a similar scenario with Ponting and Tendulkar. The most number of Test centuries being the stat that will be contested here, of course. With 9 centuries from 14 Tests, Ponting is in the form of his life. And with 31 centuries, he’s lagging Tendulkar by only 4. He’s also 20 months younger than Tendulkar (April, 1973). Although Tendulkar is recuperating from a shoulder operation at the moment, he’s expected to be back in time for the Test series in the Caribbean next month. The progress of both the batsmen will be keenly followed by the entire cricketing world.

For an update to this topic, go here.

This is one of the posts lost over the last weekend.

Australian rotation policy brouhaha

February 14, 2006

A placard at one of the recent VB series games read:

My girlfriend’s a fan of the rotation policy.

Came across this on Will’s excellent The Corridor of Uncertainty blog and found it so funny that it had to be added to my collection of qutoes.

Deja vu?

February 13, 2006

India is doing quite well in the U-19 World Cup and is now expected to face Australia in the final. They beat West Indies to make it to the semi-final. And it seems they’re riddled with the same problems as their senior countrymen. As the senior team did in the first ODI against Pakistan, the junior team collapsed after a terrific start (209-1 in the 35th over) to end up with 284-9 at the end of 50. They’re all having problems capitalizing on a good start.

India and Australia have been in really good form in the tournament (the only two undefeated teams so far) and are the favorites to make it to the final. Any wagers on this junior version shaping out to be much like the senior World Cup 2003?

Google It

December 4, 2005

Want to see a medley of some interesting (and some comedic) cricket moments? Or missed the recent Indian ODI against SA? Google it. I’ve discovered quite a few cricket videos on Google. It has a lot of memorable moments: from Warne’s ball of the 20th century to the complete highlights package of the 1999 World Cup semi-final between Australia and S. Africa.

If you condone the cheesy commentary, one of the better videos is a 40-min. feature of Tendulkar’s career. It’s informative and enjoyable, especially the first half: it shows a rare glimpse into the emergence of this batting icon. There’s an interview from before his playing days (when he was 15) where he mentions that he was ready to join the national team for their tour to the Caribbean.

Afraid of Marshall and Co.? I will have no problem facing Marshall.
Too young? No.
Raju Kulkarni’s the fastest bowler you’ve faced. How was it facing Kapil in the nets? He’s a good bowler too. I had no problems with his inswing or outswing.
You bowl as well? Yes, medium-pace. I will be bowling short spells only.

Interesting that he would term the premier paceman and leading wicket-taker in the country as “a good bowler too.” Another interesting bit was about his thoughts before his first tour of Australia in 1991-92.

I have seen a lot of video cassettes, and from that I can make out that the Australian wickets are very bouncy and fast. The ball comes on to the bat so you can play your strokes, and my game is to play a lot of strokes. So I think I’ll do fairly well.

Enjoy.

Space Filler

November 2, 2005

I apologize for not having posted anything in the last few days, but time constraints prevent me from blogging often.  I have a post coming soon.  Meanwhile, to appease those who’re looking for more reading material, here’s a link to an article that I came across during the recently-concluded Ashes series.

Cricket’s Superpowers

I don’t agree with everything David says, but it makes for interesting reading nonetheless.  Particularly comical is his comparison of Ricky Ponting to George Dubya.