Archive for the ‘India’ Category

Cricket loses Roebuck

November 14, 2011

Peter Roebuck, one of my favorite cricket writers (as you’d know if you’ve read the various articles linked to on this blog), died after police talked to him in South Africa two nights ago. I assumed he had done something ghastly bad, and had committed suicide, and that was confirmed the next day (the suicide part; what he did hasn’t quite surfaced yet). I have no doubt there are some skeletons in his closet, but regardless of what else is revealed about him, it doesn’t take away from the fact that he was one of the best cricket journalists around. There are many highly flawed individuals around who yet excel in one area or another, and Peter was one of them. I will miss his writing dearly. RIP, Peter.

I leave you with this fine tribute written by Gaurav Kalra.


UDRS Interrupted

August 11, 2010

I’ve been a proponent of UDRS since before it existed. And now that it’s here, I’m saddened to see many struggle to use it wisely, and yet others reject it outright. So, here’s my memo to all the cricket captains in the world.

Do not overthink UDRS. Do not try to exploit it; do not try to avoid it out of fear or your own inability to come to terms with it. Use it for what it is: a way to overturn ghastly decisions, not marginal ones. This means that most LBW decisions do not qualify for a review. Only when one is certain that a decision was wrong should the review system be used. Our current technology may still fail to reprieve you. Live with it. That’s why you have two reviews available per innings; the chances of technology failing you twice in one innings are significantly lower than once. On the other hand though, don’t just use those reviews because the innings is about to end anyways. It’s okay to have unused reviews when the inning ends. If all of you follow these modest guidelines, nearly all really bad decisions will be eliminated. And that is all that everybody wants. I repeat, we’re not trying to change the marginal decisions that could’ve gone one way or the other.

There was an outcry among the Indians during The Sydney Test. It all seems a bit rich now that they’re rebuffing UDRS. And why’re they doing so? Because the technology didn’t work in their favor the last time they were visiting Sri Lanka, which was a couple of years ago. The Indian think-tank has failed to comprehend that the system is not here to benefit anybody, but to justly reward whoever played better. UDRS did not outshow the Indians; the Sri Lankans outplayed them. It made for better cricket. As would have the Sydney test, had the UDRS been in use then. Thankfully, UDRS is not upto the whims of the Indians, and is here to stay. Sometimes I think Sehwag is the only guy in this team with a proper head on his shoulders (and not just because, unlike the rest of his team, he wants UDRS). Hopefully, he can convince the rest of his mates.

Tendulkar and sweeping are not the best of mates

August 8, 2010

That is all.

3 (superstitious) Idiots: Sourav, Aamir, Sachin

March 7, 2010

In addition to cricket, I am also a big fan of Aamir Khan, an innovative and phenomenal Bollywood actor/director/producer, and the only one, IMO, who’s maintained some sort of standard in Bollywood. I don’t really watch Bollywood movies (except for the rare, supposedly good ones — which are mostly Aamir Khan movies) but yesterday I had the chance to see his latest movie, 3 Idiots (which is quite good BTW). Aamir obviously cares about education (remember Taare Zameen Par?) and a lot of the message of that movie, he sincerely believes. Since this is a cricket blog, I won’t get anymore into it. But, while looking it up online, I found that before the movie premiered, Aamir travelled to many places in India under disguise. One of those places was Kolkata, where he went to Sourav Ganguly’s home under disguise to try and meet him and get his autograph, but was turned away.

He had set it up to meet him in the evening regardless.

Now Aamir is a huge cricket fan (remember Lagaan?), and so the topic of cricket (and inevitably Tendulkar) obviously came up. And kindly presented me the opportunity to blog about Aamir here. 🙂

I’ll refrain from extolling Aamir here (at least, not any further), but if you want to know more about him, head over to his blog. If you want to see videos from his trip across India, go here.

Garden of Eden

February 19, 2010

What a thrilling Test match. For those that missed it, like me, you can go watch the highlights here. India essentially won with 3 more balls left in the minimum quota of overs. There was a whole other over after that, but Amla would have been on strike for that one and he was not going to throw it away at the last moment. However, there were still 20 or so minutes left in the day’s play (assuming the light did not deteriorate quickly), so India would have had a few more chances. Nevertheless, it was too close for comfort.

An interesting incident that happened was when Virender Sehwag kicked the ball over the boundary to keep Amla on strike (so that Morkel would be on strike for the next over) and signalled 4 runs to the umpire. The umpire allowed the single and levied a 5 run penalty on top of that. The umpire obviously has not watched Lagaan. I am not sure if this is against the law, but I do know that this has happened in international cricket before and nobody was penalized. In one incident, the ball was hit to a part of the ground where there were no fielders, and so the batsmen ran 5 before the fielder (I think he was Indian) kicked the ball past the boundary to keep them to 4. Sehwag must have been thinking about doing that for a while: he almost did that once earlier, where he was just running next to the ball and essentially escorting it to the boundary, but then collected the ball and threw it back. Maybe he was aware of the law and realized the ball was not going to make it to the boundary.

In any case, if kicking the ball over the boundary on purpose is against the law, I suggest we legalize it. After all, one team is giving up 4 runs simply to change strike. If a team has built up a huge run buffer, then why not? Also, it’s so easy to workaround this law. Sehwag could have simply put his foot on the boundary line while picking up the ball and returned it as if he was trying to field it. I can think of tons of other way to skirt this law. So, instead, let’s just legalize it, and have fun watching fielders kick the ball over the boundary.

There was also another interesting incident during this Test match. To counter Harris’ outside-leg-stump line, Sehwag started to use the reverse sweep. The first one was almost a switch-hit (I don’t think he switched hands though) and the ball was hit in the air in front of square and made it to the boundary. The second, a more traditional sweep which I think also fetched four. The third time, though, he tried to repeat the first stroke, but got the top edge and the miscued ball landed safely in no-man’s land around gully. Shortly after that, the large screen at the ground flashed a message to Sehwag begging him not to play the reverse sweep anymore (written in “text-message” English, as a lot of Indian people now do even when not texting)! How odd is that? The screen operator must have been a Sehwag fan.

On a final note, Amla’s grandparents must be the happiest folks on the planet with this match. Being Indians who hail from my home state, I assume they were hoping for a narrow Indian win despite a valiant unbeaten rearguard effort from Hashim.

The Little Master

November 7, 2009

Peter Roebuck pays homage to Tendulkar’s on-going 20-year career in this excellent article: 20 not out.

As much as the loss in the last game against Australia was disappointing, it was a supreme pleasure to watch Tendulkar’s 175. He’s on the wrong side of the equation as far as age is concerned, and won’t be at the crease for too long. Cherish his last few days, and try not to miss a game he’s playing in.

I am saddened just thinking of his impending retirement (which could very well be a couple of years away). Let’s hope he pulls a Jack Hobbs or Sanath Jayasuriya.

IPL Ad – Season 2

April 6, 2009

The second season of IPL is upon us. And I came across these ads from Sony Max, the broadcaster of IPL in India. Good stuff.

Obama in white clothes

November 12, 2008

Peter Roebuck weighs in on Dhoni. Great stuff (from both).

Post-series analysis to follow soon.

Finally, it’s happening…

July 22, 2008

I had first written about it nearly three years ago. It’s been a while, but finally it’s happening. Read all about it here.

Cricket is evolving. And not a day too soon.

All hail Ajantha Mendis

July 6, 2008

The Asia Cup final is going on right now and Mendis has turned the game on its head. India were coasting at 76/1 after 9 overs. Now, it is 98/5 from 16. Currently, Mendis’ figures read 4-0-8-4. That’s 4 overs, 8 runs, 4 wickets. I’d heard a lot about this 23-year-old gem that Sri Lanka discovered, and finally I got to see him in action today. It seems it was also the first time for the Indian batsmen. Frankly, I’m quite disappointed the way they handled him (it seems they hadn’t done their research on him), but this post is not about India. It’s about Mendis. And what he can do for cricket.

Cricket will be that much more interesting because of him. I can’t wait to see Tendulkar play Mendis. India has some of the finest players of spin (Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman), and Mendis playing a Test against them is a mouth-watering aspect. Or even the Aussies. I am anxiously looking forward to these contests. They should be thrilling. Looking at the cricket schedule, India is touring Sri Lanka at the end of this month. What good timing. What might have been a drab series, at least to me, now has become very interesting. Let’s hope Tendulkar is fit and back in the Indian team by that time.

For those that haven’t seen Mendis, here’s a short video of the buzz he created when he first joined the Sri Lankan national team to play against the West Indies.