ESPN bought out CricInfo, but I’ve never seen cricket on ESPN.com’s frontpage. That is, until the Cricket World Cup began last month. A friend of mine pointed me to this great read that was their top story.
Archive for the ‘World Cup’ Category
So, there’s been a lot of confusion among some people that I know about the World Cup 2007 tickets. My understanding was that India could end up being B1 or B2 at the end of the first round (depending on their ranking in the first round). But looking at the Follow-A-Path for India, it looks like India will be given the B2 position if it makes it through to the Super Eight stage, regardless of whether or not they did better than Sri Lanka. That doesn’t make much sense to me. Does any of you know what’s going on?
I thought India was likely to be B1 and bought tickets accordingly. Did I miss something?
I am planning to be there. I have applied for a category 1 ticket for the following two games in the Super Eight round: B1 vs A1 and B1 vs D1. My money’s obviously on India being B1, which shouldn’t be too tough given Sri Lanka’s recent displays. The two games will be held two days apart in Grenada.
I can meet up with anybody who’s planning to be in the area at that time.
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?
The Indian team has been rejuvenated and is on the cusp of a golden era. It seems to be stepping out from under a gloomy cloud into bright sunshine. Chappell and Dravid, in the midst of euphoric reactions from fans (such as my last post), insist on guarding against complacency and over-confidence, and for good reason. Sterner tests lie ahead. For the team as well as the fair-weather fans. While the Indians have bowled very well in helpful conditions, the Sri Lankans have also been of guilty of throwing their wickets away from time to time. The Indian batting has been hardly tested in half the games. South Africa won’t fold as easily. India not only needs to do very well against the South Africans, but also in other countries to prove that this meteoric rise is not a flash in the pan.
The Sri Lankans, who excel in home conditions unlike any other team, were in a similar position not too long ago. And how they have fallen in the blink of an eye. While their abysmal batting display is the obvious cause of the fiasco, I think there’s one more reason. Atapattu’s captaincy has been uninspiring and, to be blunt, simply horrific. While I can’t comment on his leadership skills, it’s very lucid to me that he lacks the mental aptitude (cricketing acumen, if you will) to make wise decisions on the field. In the 6th ODI, with India chasing 197, the only way he could have won was if he bowled them out. Why then did he decide to take the two optional powerplays within the first 25 overs? He’s done this time and again: exercise powerplays at inopportune times. What’s more, he committed a major faux pas and bowled 6 overs instead of 5 for the 3rd powerplay. While that was, in the end, irrelevant in this game, it could cost them a game in tighter circumstances. His field placings have been reactive rather than proactive, he’s been guilty of taking pressure off the Indians when he should have been capitalizing on it, he has shown that he can’t read a pitch if it were a book written in Sinhala (although he probably had some help in coming to that decision), and his ineptness has been exposed in face of the new ODI rules. The Sri Lankan selectors need to take note of this.
The Indians, meanwhile, are motoring along like a Hummer, featuring a plethora of riches and going right over anything in their path. Most players have put their hand up one time or another during this series, and shown that they deserve their spot in the team. Only the places of Kartik, Yadav and Sreesanth seem under question at this point. India is quickly finding its core nucleus of players and has its eyes firmly set on the prize: the 2007 World Cup. The bowling has been impressive, the batting line has a lot of depth, the fielding standard has gone up considerably, the bench strength is promising, and team spirits are high. Expectations from this team continue to rise, and all signs suggest they are not misplaced.
Scyld Berry and Christopher Martin-Jenkins have expressed their discontent at the proposed English tour schedule announced by the all too fallible BCCI. While their concerns are valid, my biggest disappointment is that once again there will only be three tests (not to mention another 7-ODI series). In his brilliant piece, The unique drama of Test Cricket (a must-read), Mike Marqusee posits why three-test series are not ideal. In this case, however, the blame lies not with the Indian board, but its English counterpart: the last paragraph in Martin-Jenkins’ piece reveals that the ECB had turned down BCCI’s request for five tests this time around. Sure, that was before the English resurrection, but surely somebody must see the reason of having one or two additional tests between these two top sides now. The next time these two outfits go head-to-head in the subcontinent, their constituency could have altered vastly. This time around, two ODIs could easily make way for an extra test without adding any more days to the tour. With two more tests, the Englishmen’s request to see some well-frequented tourism spots in the list of test venues could also be accommodated. Hopefully, somebody will insist on putting all issues aside in order to give the fans what they crave the most: some riveting Test cricket.