Sunday, April 29, 2007

and it continues ...

Can the ICC not learn anything? the game was delayed and some stupid rule implementation by the umpires meant that the match ended after darkness set in ....

and now the ICC president gives a long winding speech ... some 8 mins in all and the crowd is booing quite heavily. also, mr. sonn - along with lara and mcgrath, Inzy also retired from cricket. you could have mentioned that.

why the medals to the match referee and the umpires - they don't deserve it for the bungles at the beginning and end of the match.

Nonsensical ...!

Good riddance World Cup 2007 ... that's what i am thinking as Sri Lanka is forced to play the last 3 overs (more on that later)

It started with the murder of Bob Woolmer and i lost complete interest in the game. The public apathy to a real life loss, exit of India and Pakistan, the high rates for tickets and the stupid rule that disallowed bringing music instruments into the stadium all contributed to terming this as the WORST worldcup ever.

and today was the worst of all ... fittingly for the finals.

(1) Because of rain, the match is reduced to 38 overs. 38 overs for a finals match! comeon - couldn't the WI board and ICC fund floodlights for the finals venue. remember, sydney 1992 and i am sad to see that the cricket administration has not learnt a darn thing. sad., very sad. today should have been a 50 over match or else the match postponed to tomorrow

(2) Not the ICC's fault but what was Set Max officials thinking when they put Mandira bedi in a saree knitted with flags of participating nation. Given the kind of backlash that Sachin Tendulkar had for cutting a cake in the shape of national flag, didn't someone in the production team figure that the saree was bound to create controversy - especially when India flag figured prominently below the knee of Mandira. It was sad to see Mandira come out during the break in a different saree and apologize. The production team needs to owe this 'wardrobe malfunction'.

(3) and the mother of all farcical situations., 3 overs from the end - SL was out of the contest and when the umpires offered light, everyone on Earth and elsewhere thought that the match was over. Except for the 2 people in funny clothes called UMPIRES. They were going to arm-twist everyone by insisting that we comeback tomorrow to play or play in complete darkness. Stupid., maybe the rule book should state that COMMON SENSE should be used by umpires and everyone involved in the game. They shoo-ed off construction workers trying to put together the podium and even when Jayawardane pleaded, they were struck in their bone-headed decision. In less than a year, we have 2 incidents where umpires occupied the wrong place in the match - centerstage. i guess the match referee could have sent a word to the umpires to put the nonsense to rest but he was equal in the task of acting like a ... (never mind)

Congrats Australia, you are deserving champions. Congrats Sri Lanka - there is no shame in losing to a team like the Aussies. Congrats to South Africa and New Zealand for their semi-finals appearance. Congrats to Bangladesh and Ireland for their upsets and unexpected entry into super-8.

Shame to the cricket administrators, team officials (i am looking squarely in your eyes, Greg Chappell) and umpires for lessening the repute of the game. the game would be better served with less interference and 'value-add' from you folks. for not seeing you folks, i am happy that the WC is over ....

BTW., ESPN (US Sports NW, not ESPN India) wrote an article on Bob's murder. Nice read as it gives a perspective of an outsider viewing the game. Click here

Friday, April 27, 2007

our politician's backward thinking!

Nothing represent India as a society that the current political action to restrict central govt funded institutes' admission to last year numbers. Check here and here.

Let me interpret the message the central government is sending:
  • To further their political cause, the government forced the institutes to increase capacity and thus ensured that the institutes added 10% capacity (12,000+ over 1.2 lac)
  • The government puts the interest of 1.2 lac candidates aside to address 'concerns' of 12,000
  • When the supreme court decided to strike down OBC reservation, the government has withdrawn these 12,000 seats
  • In case the May 8 judgement does not allow OBC reservations, i am 100% sure that the government is not going to use this to add more general quota or SC/ST quota students to these institutes.
  • If the supreme court clearance takes time, the government will ask the institutes to freeze any capacity expansion

Thus the bottomline is, the government will let capacity go un-utilized or wasted but will ensure that the general public does not benefit. That's why they are probably called politicians ...!

May 8 is likely to be one of the saddest days for India as a nation ....

With respect to reservation - can the government reveal the number of OBC candidates according to their records who have been selected in the general quota for these 1.2 lac seats. Can the government also give a breakup of the location from which these OBC candidates hail from - rural/urban (ain't that simple - look at their hometown and 'rural' can be town/villages less than 50,000 population). Also, can the government provide stats of the number of rural and urban candidates from NE India? These are the more relevant categories that needs upliftment., not their vote banks ....

Monday, April 23, 2007

lets celebrate 23rd April

and we should celebrate 23rd April for years to come, for 2 great events occured today that is likely to shape India's future.

India-launched PSLV put a Italian satellite in orbit today and that signals the start of space business for India. The opportunity for product development companies related to spacecraft launch will blossom and India and China are likely to be atleast 50% cheaper than either of US, Russia and EU to launch a satellite. Now we need to cross the next hurdle - GSLV. That will change the entire equation. I also thought it was regreshing that we had an Italian satellite launched thus proving 2 things - we are nearly done with pseudo-secularism atleast in the field of technology and launching a EU satellite is likely to trigger a few sleepless nights out there. it is unlikely we will remain a choice for cost reasons only

The sound that you heard at work today morning was the SC's rap on the Govt's knuckles. Loud and clear was the message of the SC. No reservation till policy is created based on demographic data. Is there any pro-reservation loyalist who can argue against what the court said today? Instead they will cry themselves hoarse on the powers of legislature (occupied by some 'emminent' people as in charge-sheeters etc) and how the SC was violating. There won't be a single person who will argue against the merits of the ruling itself.

I have just one query for pro-reservation guys: Aren't you encouraging communities to remain backward to avail of the benefits of reservation. Please show me one example of how backward-ness of communities was reduced and leading to hugher socio-economic index for communities. If we have examples like that, is there a benchmark that would satisfy the government that a community no longer remains backward and what would that benchmark be? Per se, i am not against reservations for SC and ST but i think none outside these deserve any reservation.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Dude., learn something .. BCCI will never change!

Man, the rant in this blog is going to hit the roof. BCCI selected teams for Bangladesh Tour. I am very sad that BCCI is such a backward looking organization that there is virtually no hope for Indian cricket sans a few brilliant player. The process, logic and methodology of player selection is so crude that it makes me wonder how at all, are we able to even etch a win outside India

After the World cup debacle, senior players were likely to be axed to assure the Indian fans. Why? Indian fans are the most obnoxious, lazy and illogical fan in cricket. Even when their team has no chance (say against Australia), they want their team to score 600 runs, bowl australia out for 25 runs.

Anywayz, BCCI president wanted 'youth' and what he and we got is nothing close to youth? Some critical examination of the 2 squads.

ODI squad: Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid (capt), Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Manoj Tiwary, Dinesh Mongia, Piyush Chawla, Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Zaheer Khan, RP Singh.
  • What is Uthappa doing in the squad? His scores in ODI cricket are 86, 12, 0, 70, 28, DNB, 7, 52, 9, 3, 18. The ones underlined are the WI WC 2007 scores. The 5 scores before that happened in the 2007 home series against WI and SL. If you analyze, he made to the WC side on the back of the 70 and has done nothing (as in rested on his laurels). What is he doing in the squad?
  • Sehwag - Needed captain's reco for WC 2007 Squad. Needed one more to make it to the Ban tour. Now, let us say he scores 3 centuries in ODIs, what do you do? include him in the test squad? I think Sehwag is the right player on the wrong team. more later.
  • Gautam Gambhir - What is he doing in the squad. Do you know who he is? Lemme help. He is the guy who lost out to Uthappa on the WC ticket. He had nearly booked it till his form failed him in the home series in WI. He has never played ODI outside the sub-continent. Outside India, he averages 20.5 in 8 games with 1 fifty. If say he hits a century, are you going to take him to England?
  • Dinesh Mongia - So he is youth. got it! You want to know something. Between 2003 WC and 2007 WC, mongia played 12 games and he was recently tried and 'discarded' (as only BCCI can do!) after the SA tour. What is he going to do? You know how 'young' he is? 30 yrs.
  • RP Singh - Why was he not there in the squad to the WC? How come the selectors thought of him suddenly.
Correct Decisions - Dravid, Dinesh Karthik, Yuvraj Singh, Sreesanth, Munaf, Zaheer, Dhoni
Debuts: Piyush Chawla, Manoj Tiwary
Wrong Decisions: Sehwag, Gambhir, Mongia
Doubtful: RP Singh
'Replacements': Gambhir by Tendulkar/Ganguly. Sehwag & Mongia by 2 middle-order batsmen (What happened to Ambati Rayadu?)

Test squad: Wasim Jaffer, Dinesh Karthik, Rahul Dravid (capt), VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Anil Kumble, Sreesanth, Zaheer Khan, VRV Singh, Ramesh Powar, Rajesh Pawar, Munaf Patel.

The test squad is even funnier:
  • Wassim Jaffer and Karthik as openers? What happened to Gambhir? What will happen to the England tour in July? If one of these openers hits a century, will you take them to England? Sehwag was the best opener we had on this side of 2000 and we dumped him for ODIs? Why? He had done consistenly well in test cricket (well .. atleast bradmansque in 1st innings!) and has lost form in ODI. So what do the selectors do? dump him for Test and take him for ODI. It happens only in India
  • What both Sourav and Yuvraj on the team? There is place only for one. You could have avoided sourav here. 'rested' for tests and picked for 'ODIs'
  • What is VRV singh doing in test squad? why the distribution of caps across tests and odis between the 2 singhs? what good is it going to do for either of them, except to sulk around the dressing room? Whichever of these can expliot seaming pitches will make it to England., right? But you dont get those wickets in Bangladesh, do you?
  • Ramesh Powar for test cricket. BCCI has sent a strong sign that they will take only kumble for england test tour. Powar, we enjoyed your stay in Bangladesh. thank you very much

Correct: Dravid, Karthik, Dhoni, VVS, Sachin, Yuvraj, Kumble, Sreesanth, Zaheer

Debut: Rajesh Pawar
Wrong Decisions: Gambhir, Ramesh Powar, Ganguly
Replacements: Sehwag for Gambhir, Piyush or powar stays or whosoever - it doesn't matter!, Ganguly - extra opener (gambhir himself) or bowler (piyush/powar) or Kaif/new middle order guy.

Thus we see that BCCI has given a grand total of 3 new caps, has 6 retreads and retained 19 of the previous squad for the tour. This after they promised 'youth'. Neither did they deliver on youth nor did they put together a good team to take to England come july and like every other time, the players have to catch up for the mistakes of the board...

Sunday, April 08, 2007

BCCI - The Star Wars Empire

Senator Amidala to Senator Bail Organa:"So this is how liberty dies - with thunderous applause"
- Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith
And this is how BCCI responds to crisis. With hypocratic self-serving short-sighted populist measures! Recap: Each player cannot endorse more than 3 products. No product can be endorsed by more than 2 players. So where does that leave the endorsement world? The shortest and the simplest answer is that it forces a lot of companies to enter into negotiations with the BCCI. So, we will see an official team TV, tape recorder, milk, cola, socks, shoes, trousers, shirt, t-shirt, car, bike, TV channel and the list is endless. The players will become puppets in the hands of their employers - BCCI and BCCI would reap huge rewards on the name of these players - spoils that will shared by the autocratic regional sarpanches. And since the player has to get the approval of the BCCI for their contract, the conclusion would be that we are in for a lot of court cases when the corrupt in BCCI block player endorsements that don't suit their interests. The rule of players not appearing for events upto 20 days prior to tournaments is equally beneficiary for BCCI - they would be available to promote BCCI sponsors.
I watched an interview of Ajay Jadeja in NDTV where he said that the players are the only people ever held accountable and no beauracrat has ever been held responsible in the history of cricket. I am not against a showcause notice sent against Sachin Tendulkar as long as the stupid VP was also issued one. But the shameless people who run BCCI have concluded that office-bearers should not give interviews. No show-cause notice. I am reasonably confident that the contributions of Sachin Tendulkar to Indian Cricket is much more than the beaurocrat VP. For all potential Indian cricketers, please take note - even Sachin Tendulkar comes second in priority to BCCI's office bearers. Times might have changed, but BCCI attitude does not. It always insults and backstabs its star performers - ask Sachin now, ask Kapil in 1984/85, ask Gundappa in 1970s.
I have no love for Greg Chappell and to see our BCCI fall at his feet is perplexing. The guy is the opposite of professionalism. If you notice, the only way he operates is through the media - silent leaks, SMS-es, e-mails. I am dumbfounded that BCCI did not censure Greg Chappell for the SMS or the NDTV leaks but sent a showcause notice to Sachin Tendulkar. Sorry to say this - 60 years after Independence, the color of the skin does continue to have an impact.
I have a doubt. Is BCCI still stuck in the age of the cold war era? Why is media exposure curtailed for all players? Maybe BCCI wants to continue the culture of media leaks as showcased by NDTV which leaked information from a source close to Chappell. Instead, please do the opposite - all cricketers are open to the media as long as it is non-exclusive and the player receives no money or benefits for talking to the media.
The world cup debacle was the right time for BCCI to interospect about its short-comings. For all those who make their money or spend time in criticizing the Indian players (including you - 'honorable' Greg Chappell) please remember that we went with the team because there were no other options. Chappell favorites like Suresh Raina or Mohammad Kaif don't have a strong case - atleast no stronger than Virender Sehwag. BCCI has taken no steps to address this issue.
At the very least, hats-off to BCCI for turning a bad situation into an opportunity for generating profits. None in the world can milk the cow as much as BCCI does. However, BCCI doesn't realize that the reason for their existence is to promote cricket, not gather cash. The game of cricket, in India is poorer for the autocratic decisions of the board.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Greg's foot in the mouth syndrome

"The pieces of the jigsaw puzzle have fallen into place in the last few weeks. There is a good balance, good experience and youth in the squad, and a good variety in bowling and batting. That will give us a wide range of options no matter what the condition and no matter what the opposition."

"Even in the last selection meeting, I fought for youth. The senior players fought against it and the chairman went with them out of fear of media, if youth did not perform,"

If these statements were made by the same person before and after the defeat. What does that mean? Greg Chappell is a very respected cricketer and captain and i have all the respect for him as India's coach.

However his now geurilla warfare by using parts of the media to quote him and the rest to speculate, throwing the team and BCCI into a dizzy is becoming a 'signature statement'. I am not going to call for his dismissal, thats for the wise men to decide. But i think Gregg Chappell should be censured and a fine should be levied for these irresponsible statements.

On a deeper note, why can't the BCCI give the Coach, Captain and the Chairman of Selectors complete freedom to air their views. Lack of transparency within BCCI is akin to dark ages in this era of information ...

dunno when BCCI is going to change.

I drafted a long blog on the performance, but after i visited my batchmate's blog - i recommend you read the article (Click here).

Thursday, March 29, 2007

And luck deserts ....

And lady luck deserted Sri Lanka when a thick edge past the first slip resulted in a boundary. They collapsed from 205/5 to 207/9 when Malinga took 4 wickets off 4 balls. The irony was even pronounced when the edge was off Malinga's bowling - Sri Lanka's nearly hero.

Two things could have swung the match for Sri Lanka:

1. Sri Lanka had an equally spectacular collapse when they batted. They collapsed from 206/5 to 209 all out with 5 balls remaining. 4 runs and 5 wickets loses you matches, not win them.

2. The boundary would have been stopped if only there was a second slip

Overall a great match. I wonder who will walk with the Man of the Match Award. "The March Beauty" Malinga or "The Steady" Jacques Kallis. I think it would be great if the award is shared. Both deserve it.

Thriller - SL v/s SA

What a game it is turning out to be? Sri Lanka collapsed from 207/6 to 209 all out. The same is happening with Malinga taking 4 wickets in 4 balls. SA needs 3 to win and SL needs one wicket. Who will win. Stay tune

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Of Peyton Manning and Cricket!

I love Peyton Manning as much as most Indians love their cricketers at this moment. In short, not much

But his show at the Saturday Night Live, where he was completely open to ridiculing himself was pretty good. Watch it as he pokes fun at himself and at football as well (his joke on his mom would have drawn widespread contempt India in politically correct India, but something tells me that she gave her blessings to him on this one!)

Oh, talking of cricket, i absolutely loved this piece from Mukul Kesavan from Cricinfo. His opening statement is very provocative:
The subcontinental cricket fan is a lazy, pampered know-nothing who thinks he owns the cricket teams that he supports

Read the rest and let me know if you agree.

And the worst thing is the overanalysis from the news channels. i flipped through NDTV, Headlines Today, CNN-IBN, Times-Now, Star News (Hindi), Zee News (Hindi) between 2230 and 2300 and all the channels were mouning India's exit from the world cup. Come on, gimme a break - we lost and life goes on. I want to pray God that we need to show these media people how stressful it is to be in the limelight for every moment of a waking day. Please grant this wish alone.

and please, spare me of linking money, advertisments and cricketers. Do you think that our cricketers are dumb enough not to realise that there is more money in sponsorship than match fees and that sponsorship is directly dependent on the number of wins and big sixes on the cricket ground. Talk of the sterotype Indian cricket fan!

I watched BBC as they showed an clipping of the streets of Dhaka after Bangladesh qualified for the Super-8. Only a heartless person wouldn't have felt happy for the B'deshi guys.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The real reason for loss to Bangladesh

" .... these minnows have some guts. They have always created upsets and it's foolish for the big teams to overlook them as there might be some surprises ...."

I wrote this without any idea that the world cup upset would be India and Pakistan. I know, India still has a chance but i am not for a backdoor entry. We lost to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and still entering Super-8 would be anything but shameful.

Lets revert back to the real reason for the loss to Bangladesh. What a lot of folks forget is that India won the toss. What do you do when you win a toss on a overcast day? You bowl. Right? Not so with India for whom the lack of practice from the West Indies match still fresh in their minds. Someone in the management decided that Bangladesh was not a major threat and that the batsmen should get some match practice. If anyone followed Bangladesh recently, they won a couple of big matches - all chasing. If anyone in Indian cricket board (is there someone like a scout who follows opponents and reports to team management on the strengths and weaknesses of opposite side players) paid attention to this, they would have ensured that we won this match before worrying about match practice (Match#2: Bermuda would have been the ideal game for the same)

So, i would like the team management to volunteer the information on the person/committee (seriously! do you think Indian cricket works without committees) who made the decision to bat against Bangladesh. They need to explain their reasoning to the nation and the board and only if we discover something new or a better reasoning, we should continue with them. Lets not punish the entire team for the fault of a few.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

100th Post!

Yipee., i finally made it to 100th post. I was not sure if i could make it to here. Some big time back-slapping. Thank you, Thank you.

Between, some sweet news mixed with some sad ones. On the bright side, in the real and the important world, the 8 accussed of killing Manjunath have been found guilty. Let the verdict in the cases of Priyadarshini Mattoo, Manjunath, Jessica Lall be a reminder to all the criminals that they can buy time but these days, there is no escape from the grip of the Judiciary. Long live Indian judiciary

This is also the week when Cricket lost Bob Woolmer. Frankly, my interest in the Cricket World Cup diminished as soon as i heard the news of his death last week. His loss happened in the real world while India's loss to Bangladesh did not. Please don't insult the Bangladesh cricket team by stating that the Indians played poor, they did not - the Bangladeshi youngsters played out of their skins. They knew not of fear and took the fight to the surprised and startled Indians. As i write now, India has lost to Sri Lanka as well. Once again, only a blind man who hasn't seen the matches would tell that India lost these games, when in reality, it is the superior play of India's opponents that won them the game.

I hope the Indian cricket fans get some maturity and avoid incidents like these.

Oh! Between did someone read my post on the minnows - so prophetic, i know - i am a genius. thank you very much.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Pause in cricketing debates ...

A loss in real world always hurts and to lose a young cricketer right during the biggest tournament is devastating.

Prayers to the family of Manjural Islam - the youngest test cricketer to pass away. I wish this is one record none break.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Of Minnows., seriously

I hope everyone is enjoying the Cricket World Cup through now. I liked the Pakistan-West Indies game and i think that this WC will turn out to be a good one as there are a lot of serious games ahead of us. Yeah! just after we are done with the minnows!

Not so fast., these minnows have some guts. They have always created upsets and it's foolish for the big teams to overlook them as there might be some surprises. Lets recap:
  • 1975: None
  • 1979: Sri Lanka defeats India
  • 1983: Zimbabwe defeats Australia
  • 1987: None
  • 1992: Zimbabwe defeats England
  • 1996: Kenya defeats West Indies
  • 1999: Bangladesh defeats Pakistan
  • 2003: Kenya defeats Sri Lanka as well as Zimbabwe; Canada defeats Bangladesh

Dravid has supported minnow participation and so have many a captains over the last few years made at least a cursory experience-will-benefit-them remark! However it is sad to note that the cricket administration has done nothing or near-nothing about getting the associate teams into the main fold. Kenya is no closer to the dream of being a full fledged cricketing nation while we have lost Zimbabwe from the test playing fratenity (or nearly!) and the not so great cricket administration sits in meeting across the world's most expensive hotels to just discuss and very little.

Here's my 2 cent plan for the next 8 years (thru 2015):

  • All test playing nations to modify their policy that each of their domestic team (or atleast in the Elite division) will have atleast one player from the associate nations and a maximum of 3
  • Each of the associate members can have a maximum of 2 international cricketers on the team for the world cup subject to the fact that they should play atleast 2 years in the associate nation's domestic cricket
  • Of the 10 test playing nations, the big-8 (leave BAN & ZIM) will send their top domestic team (or 'A' team) on a tour to atleast one associate nation for 5 ODI series (or 3 tests/ 3 ODIs)
  • The big-8 will send their national team to tour atleast 1 associate nation for a 5-ODI series, once every 4 years. ICC to plan that it is staggered that there is one tourney every year

I guess my 2 cents above is not too expensive to implement or too radical that the whole cricketing world will feel bad about. So time to stop uttering the sympathy line and time for action.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

And that's what i call as a good fight ...

Sunil Gavaskar is a legend in world cricket. He is a stickler to his priniciples and he hardly backs down from a good fight. Was he not the same batsman who protested the ODI WC with an unbelievable 36* off a zillion balls in 1975. For crying out loud, he scored 700 runs in his debut test series against the West Indies attack and remained as one of the few batsmen that looked the fearsome four in their eyes during the west indies dream run in the 70s and 80s. He heads atleast a few powerful committees in the ICC today and is an influential figure across the globe. After his conquests on the field, war of words would seem like kids play to him.

Why his bio? I admire him more today than ever for standing up to the Aussies and dishing them the same stuff that the Aussies strutted for way too long. It started with his article in India Today where he stated that the Aussies were not 'popular winners' and they left a lot to be desired when it came to on-field etiquettes.

Like a true Aussie, Ricky Ponting did not back-off from a good fight and took a shot at Sunny's career and India's recent test record. He sounded a lot like Leo. F. Drummond from 'The Rainmaker'. In fact Ponting's retort can be equated to the slip in class of the hon. Drummond from the novel.

The Aussies do not take it well when it is dished to them. Did they not incessently complaint when Sourav Ganguly payed back in kind during the 2001 test series? Weren't the Aussies who pushed India's federal minister and Cricket board head - Sharad Pawar off the podium after the recent Championship trophy. Was it not Michael Slater who went after Venkataraghavan like a madman for not allowing a catch in a test match, when replays showed repeatedly that Slater did not make the catch. Ricky, the list is endless.

The best thing in the whole incident is that Sunny has not backed off - an uncommon trait for an Indian. He responded back to Ricky & the Aussies team and hinted to them that the famed WI team of the 70s and 80s did not require classless behavior on the field to win when Aussies incessently indulge in sledging. Because Ricky could not keep off from picking a fight, Sunny - rightly so - did even bring the sad David Hookes incident as an example of Aussie behavior. If Hookes incident does not put senses in Ponting's mind, i don't know what will.

Ricky, Gavaskar is a legend of the sport - listen to what he says. If you disagree, keep it private. As a cricketer, Gavaskar has earned the right to voice his opinion. You are not going to win media battles with him. Focus on the upcoming tournament.

Cricket World Cup - Some Random Thoughts

What is common between Mohinder Amarnath, Ajay Jadeja and Navjot Singh Sidhu.

They were the 3 debutants that won their first ODI cap in World Cup Matches. In fact can you believe that our World Cup team had such great players like
  • Sunil Valson (who features as an answer to a great trivia question - Name the only player in the 1983 Cricket squad who never played in the World Cup event / never got an international match in his career)
  • Subroto Banerjee: 2 Matches in WC'92 & 6 ODI matches in his illustrious career
  • Salil Ankola: Remembered forever for dropping Arjuna Ranatunga in the Ind-SL group match at Feroz Shah Kotla - his only WC match. He played a grand total of 20 ODIs and 1 test match. Now better known for his roles in Indian movies and television
  • Aashish Kapoor: My childhood or whatever was left of it was spoilt when i witnessed a portly and slow Aashish Kapoor chasing the ball to the third man fence in the doomed Ind-SL Semifinal WC'96. Or was bowling the rank bad deliveries that the Sri Lankans cherised in the match or his golden duck during the batting collapse.
  • Amay Khurasiya: Paid rich tributes to his cricketing idol - Sunil Valson, when he did not feature in a single '99 WC match inspite of being in the team.
  • Nikhil Chopra: Another 'star' performer (not in studio!) of '99 WC squad. Failed to appear in any of the matches (Did we not play Kenya?)
  • Parthiv Patel: A decent keeper more reputed (or ill-reputed) for appealing for LBW decisions on straight drives (no, i am kidding - but he appealed for everything else!). However he made Sunil Valson proud - made squad of 2003 WC but did not see the cricket field
  • Ajit Agarkar: Of all the people on the list, this is the biggest surprise. Ajit Agarkar made it to the 2003 WC squad but did not play a single match (No Kenya? No Namibia? No Holland?)

Why did i put out the list? To prove 2 things:

(1): In no world cup did we have contributions from the full squad. In most of the world cups, we had players who did not play a single game or were the season flavors who got gettisoned after the World Cup (as listed above)

(2)It takes only 4-5 decent performances to win a cricket match and not all 11; forget all 15.

Some emperical evidence from last world Cup:

  • Holland: Sachin - 50+; Mongia - 40+; Srinath & Kumble 4-for
  • Australia: Lets forget this one. Mulligan
  • Zimbabwe: Sachin: 50+; Dravid: 40+; Ganguly (yes!) - 3-for; Srinath, Zaheer & Bhajji - 2 for: This game was a real team effort
  • Namibia: Tendulkar & Ganguly - 100+; Yuvraj: 4-for; Zaheer, Bhajji & Mongia - 2 for
  • England: Tendulkar & Dravid - 50+; Kaif - 40+; Nehra: 6-for; Srinath: 2-for; Dravid- 3 catches; Sehwag - 3 catches (including a brilliant one of the dangerous Andrew Flintoff)
  • Pakistan: Zaheer & Nehra - 2 for; Sachin & Yuvraj - 50+; Dravid - 40+
  • Kenya (Super 6): Srinath & Bhajji - 2 for; Ganguly - 100+; Yuvraj - 50+
  • Sri Lanka (Super 6): Sachin & Sehwag - 50+; Ganguly - 40+; Srinath & Nehra - 4 for; Zaheer - 2 for
  • New Zealand (Super 6): Zaheer - 4 for; Bhajji - 2 for; Kaif & Dravid - 50+
  • Kenya (Semi-Finals): Sachin-50+; Ganguly-100+; Zaheer - 3 for; Sachin & Nehra - 2 for
  • Australia (Final): Mulligan. Did i already not have one? Forget it. This was a rank bad match for most involved - so lets remove it as well

In Summary: Sachin (7/9); Zaheer (6/9); Ganguly (5/9); Srinath (5/9); Dravid (4/9); Nehra (4/9); Bhajji (4/9); Yuvraj (3/9); Kaif (2/9); Sehwag (2/9); Mongia (2/9); Kumle (1/2)

So as you notice above - we had significant contributions from not more than 7 players in match (England) and if we remove catches - 6 (Zim & Namibia matches). This debunks the theory that we need all 11 players to fire on any given day. Yes! in a match like the finals - under normal circumstances, you need a core that fires and others contribute as opportunities presents itself.

In summary -

  • I wish that either of Sachin or Dravid be the backbone of the scoring for the indian team and fire consistently
  • I wish for 5+ good performances (total estimated: 11 = 3 (round) + 6 (Super 8)+ SF + F)from the following: Ganguly, Sachin/Dravid, Zaheer, Ajit Agarkar
  • I wish for 5 good performances from: Yuvraj, Dhoni, Sehwag, Bhajji,
  • I wish for 3-4 good performances from: Uthappa, Pathan, Sreesanth, Munaf
  • Atleast 2 good performances from: Dinesh Karthik, Kumble

Thus - i think if the team plays at it best and gets beaten by a better team (ala WC'03) and not panic (ala WC'96) - i would be smiling at the end of the WC campaign - WC in hand or not!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Why me?

In the movie Pirates of the Caribbean, Captain Jack Sparrow cusses when towards the end and on the gallows - the soldier reads out "Jack Sparrow ...". He nods in disbelief as to how they could address his incorrectly and offers a correct way of addressal as "Captain Jack Sparrow"

I was reminded of this scene when i was sent an email from an old colleague of mine listing me as a 'Gems of Sairam' in the college's website. The first thought that struck me was - how can misspell my name as CH.V.Kalyan when it is Ch.V.Kalyan. Yes! I am very sensitive about the caps as, to me they are 2 different things. I am planning to write to the principal and see if he can correct it.

Yet another feather in the queer mind of mine!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

HSC Exams

I wanted to write a million blogs in the last 45 days and my performance is akin to the promises made by a election fighting politician - all promise, no delivery!

One of the main issues that i wanted to blog recently was the HSC Exams - commonly known as XII Exams started a couple of days back. I can only imagine the kind of pressure that one goes through for these exams. For not the first time in their lives, the kids are gonna be preached to put in their maximum efforts for a 'rosy and great future' - except that 'that' future never arrives. Welcome guys, to the rat race!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Sankaranthi Trip to Vijayawada - Day 1

For the Sankranthi holidays, the entire family spent a few days in Vijayawada - the first two days spent in a blur going to various pilgrimage sites and the next two recuperating from these journeys. On the first day it was a trip to Mopidevi temple. Unlike the way the name suggests, the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva & the serpent king. The temple takes the name of the village.

Next on the radar was a journey to a village called hamasaladeevi - i hope i spelled it right. The village is famous only for 2 things - an old but vibrant temple and that Krishna river joins the Bay of Bengal outside the village.

This is the snap taken on the way from the village to the beach front.

Since we were short of time, we did not take a boat ride from a marked spot to the joining point and instead settled on visiting the beach. The following snap is the long range photo of the spot where River Krishna meets Bay of Bengal

The building in the picture has been built by the Andhra Pradesh government as vantage points to be used by the tourists. However within the 20 days of its inauguration by none less than the governor of Andhra Pradesh, there was none in these guest houses and vandals had already defiled the place.

The following snaps are those of my family. From L to R, my sister-in-law's dad, Dad, Mom, Anna and Vodhina.

You can see me in between Anna & Dad

After the visit to the beach, it was time to go to Machilipatnam to visit my aunt - father's sister where i took a well deserved siesta for all the exertions of the previous few hours. Why not sleep in the cab? The cab had a DVD player and we saw Shankardada MBBS (a remake of the Hindi Superhit Munnabhai MBBS) and Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana (Translation: If you want to come, I won't say NO!). While it could be considered effective utilization of time to watch movies during the journey, it was not enjoyable as we missed on the jokes and general time-pass conversations. For the next day trip, i made up mind not to play DVDs during the journey.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Cricketing Idiosynchrocies ....

News out now shows the ugly underbelly of the business side of Cricket.
  • Doordarshan which was out-bid by a long way will get a 'clean feed' after it protested against receiving 'dirty feed'.
  • Nimbus will give the 'clean feed' with a time-lag of SEVEN minutes. Yes! you read it right., SEVEN minutes. What a joke! That's equivalent of 2 full overs lag.
  • BCCI is the worst of the culprits as it created the crisis in the first place by encashing on cricket's popularity and punishing the viewing public. What a 'classless' organization. In the last year, we have had cricket shown on DD Sports, Sahara ONE, Set Max and NEO Sports. Why is that BCCI has displayed very little acumen in balancing short term and long term interests of the game. In professional sports across the globe (Football, Basketball, Baseball, American Football), contracts are stable and drawn to established players and not to the rookie-who-outbid-everyone. Case in point is Australia, where the feed has always from Nine Sports and they have signed with ESPN-Star through 2011.
  • Prasar Barathi - Doordarshan's master are calling Cricket matches as events of "National Interest". How shameful that the country with rich culture has to claim national interest on a sports event. While not willing to shell the going price for cricket matches, they have always taken the negative approach of arm twisting the production companies and forcing them into sharing the feed.
  • Indian Government is looking to bring an ordinance / bill that makes it mandatory for all cricket matches involving India to be telecast on Doordarshan. There is nothing more ridiculous that the government trying to get involved in deciding which sports events should be showed on national television or not. This is the same government that has procastinated from passing the Whistleblowers Protection Bill and Women's Reservation Bill but has time to come up with ordinances and bills for cricket events. Rest assured, our future generations will laugh at our misplaced priorities.

The overall losers are the viewing public who are gonna be delayed to the extent of seven minutes on television. What's comical is that the Radio feed is going to be live and so is the data on the internet. If you plan to mute the television and hear commentary from the radio, you might re-think the strategy for these 4 matches!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Relook at Divisional Playoff predictions and looking for conference games

Relook at what i wrote last time around!

Saints v/ Eagles: The most likely match to figure an upset. Do i trust Jim Johnson's blitzes or Payton's play-calling. Tough to decide. I think the key matchup is Brian Westbrook against the Saints defense? I think the playoff experience will help the Eagles and they might just edge out the saints. Prediction - Eagles

Wrong. There is too much karma for the Saints, not to speak of Brees, McAllister and Bush. I still think that the Eagles could have won if McNabb was around. But Eagles have had a good season.

Seahawks V/ Bears: Lovie, do you know that a football game has been previously won without a single pass attempt. Remember that to win this game. If bad-Rex appears, only a cards-like performance will save Bears. I am suspicious of that and think the Bears are gonna thump the Hawks - once more.

While the Bears did win, they did not thump the Seahawks but squeaked by,

Prediction - Bears Baltimore Colts V/ Cleavland Ravens: You read it right. These teams were based out of different cities in their original avatar (Ravens are the original Cleveland Browns!). Key matchup would be Peyton's ability to generate passing yards against a top pass-rush team. I am not too sure that McNair should be used more than a game manager to win the game. If Peyton lights it up in the first half, the ravens can say good-byes and clean locker room at half-time as i am not sure that the Ravens offense can put up 30 points. Prediction: Ravens (unless Manning pretends that these are the Denver Broncos!)

McNair was no more than a game manager but the running game stunk and i can't believe it is all the colts defense. One more strike

Patriots V/ Chargers: While i am less sure of the result of this game - i am sure of one thing: BB will use the previous away playoff 51-10 loss to motivate his team, especially my fav - Rodney Harrison. Did i mention this game was played in 1963! Jokes apart, i am unable to make up my mind on this one. I love LT (i started following him initially because of the uniqueness of his name. In Madden 2006, i traded Correy Dillon, Faulk and a first round pick for LT!), wish MS can win a play-off game (5-12 post-season record in comparison to BB's 12-2!) and adhore their powder blue game uniforms (used once/twice a season!). But my favorite team is the NE Patriots! Prediction: Depends on NE Defense front 7 to stop LT. Still need a team? Depends on ability of NE offensive line to innovate and keep Brady upright for an entire match. Still need a team? Man, my mind says the Chargers while i still wanna go with the Patriots.

The Pats won! The Pats won! Infact, i saw the game today on ESPN and cannot believe how stupid the chargers were. If the Chargers were intent on winning the game, they would have - instead, they wanted to annhilate the opposition and made too many mistakes.

So, for this week's matches:

Colts V/s Patriots: Seriously, if Peyton cannot win this one - the albatross around his next will be secured as the Dan Marino of this generation. Even worse, he would be labelled the choke-master of all times. I dont think the colts defense is legit but i think they will do enough to stop the pats this week.
Prediction: Colts (though i cannot discount the Pats if Belichick has some magic potion for his team)

Saints V/s Bears: I wish the Saints can win this one but their only chance is if Bad Rex appears. Else, it is going to be the Bears representing the NFC in Superbowl.
Prediction: Bears

Superbowl match: Bears V/s Colts

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Divisional Round Predictions

Sankranthi holidays is to be spent in Vijayawada - my native town. With no live telecast in ESPN India of any of the four matches, suspect internet connectivity and to avoid raised eyebrows in my family, i would not have the opportunity to blog or follow the scores live.

However, i am making a few predictions:

Saints v/ Eagles: The most likely match to figure an upset. Do i trust Jim Johnson's blitzes or Payton's play-calling. Tough to decide. I think the key matchup is Brian Westbrook against the Saints defense? I think the playoff experience will help the Eagles and they might just edge out the saints.
Prediction - Eagles

Seahawks V/ Bears: Lovie, do you know that a football game has been previously won without a single pass attempt. Remember that to win this game. If bad-Rex appears, only a cards-like performance will save Bears. I am suspicious of that and think the Bears are gonna thump the Hawks - once more.
Prediction - Bears

Baltimore Colts V/ Cleavland Ravens: You read it right. These teams were based out of different cities in their original avatar (Ravens are the original Cleveland Browns!). Key matchup would be Peyton's ability to generate passing yards against a top pass-rush team. I am not too sure that McNair should be used more than a game manager to win the game. If Peyton lights it up in the first half, the ravens can say good-byes and clean locker room at half-time as i am not sure that the Ravens offense can put up 30 points.
Prediction: Ravens (unless Manning pretends that these are the Denver Broncos!)

Patriots V/ Chargers: While i am less sure of the result of this game - i am sure of one thing: BB will use the previous away playoff 51-10 loss to motivate his team, especially my fav - Rodney Harrison. Did i mention this game was played in 1963!
Jokes apart, i am unable to make up my mind on this one. I love LT (i started following him initially because of the uniqueness of his name. In Madden 2006, i traded Correy Dillon, Faulk and a first round pick for LT!), wish MS can win a play-off game (5-12 post-season record in comparison to BB's 12-2!) and adhore their powder blue game uniforms (used once/twice a season!). But my favorite team is the NE Patriots!
Prediction: Depends on NE Defense front 7 to stop LT. Still need a team? Depends on ability of NE offensive line to innovate and keep Brady upright for an entire match. Still need a team? Man, my mind says the Chargers while i still wanna go with the Patriots.

PS: I am definitely planning on a follow-up blog note to see how stupid i have been made to look with my predictions!

Monday, January 08, 2007

NE Pats V/s NY Jets - Wild Card Playoff Game

Musings from the NE Pats - NY Jets game:

  • What did we realize in the DAL-SEA game? Romo is not the second coming of Brady circa 2001. The ghosts of ‘iron leg’ Drew Dledsoe are exhorted forever …
  • Did i read right in NFL gamecenter - the Pats went “NO HUDDLE” for the second play of the game?
  • I hope mangini has some master plan as it looks like the “Empire Strikes back” is the show for the afternoon. Disclaimer: They just played ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’ on TV!
  • And the Jets go "no huddle" .. looks like the defenses might have a long day ... BTW, has there been any game with a significant "no huddle" strategy adopted
    across both teams
  • thats probably the difference between the jets and the pats. Both went "no huddle" - Pats went 4/6 for 50 yds on passing; 4 and 15 yds on the ground with a TD to boot. The jets had a sack, a scramble and an incomplete. but what scares me is, mangini is gonna put together a great team within a couple of seasons and AFC East might turn out like a AFC West (strong teams!)
  • Oh no! Not the 15 yd penalties again!!!
  • Great! Ramsey is in! Atleast Chad knew which direction to throw to ...
  • Purds/93: In this universe, everything that Tom Brady does is right and everything that Peyton does is wrong. I thought you figured that out by now!
  • In my books, Mangini missed a trick ... I dont think punting from your opponent's 36 yd line will win you games in playoffs. maybe i am wrong, but he did not take a right decision
  • 105/Purds: I said it in humor., since mine is bad - maybe you did not see it. BTW, i am upset that the Pats get a lot of 15 yd penalties but i also think that they are naive to draw attention from the ref (this is the 8th or 9th game where i have noticed a 15 yd penalty and the pats have not been able to adjust to it)
  • Was that a QB sneak from TB on 3 & 1? Since the Pats use it a lot, why are the opponents falling for it, for so long?
  • another 3&7 ... will the pats pass defense raise upto the situation?
  • The Pats are grinding the clock ... current drive started with 7:05 in second quarter and we are already down to 2 min warning .. i guess they will take another minute off the clock
  • The Pats take 6:54 off the clock for a 15 play drive killing any chances of Jets reply to the Pats score (unless there is a kickoff TD return!)
  • NE 12-Brady 10th straight playoff game with a TD pass, tying Ken Stabler & Joe Montana for 3rd longest streak in NFL history (Favre 16 and Marino 12). Some of
    the stats that don't add much value to any measure
  • There we go again ... another 15 yd penalty... as much as the pats fans can moan that they are BS calls., the fact that the pats players are being careless means that they are not learning anything ...
  • Is Asante Samuel in the game? I dont see him on the stats sheet.
  • C.Pennington to NYJ 46 for -6 yards. Wouldn’t that be a sack?
  • Wilfork chased down by Mangold .. man, that is two huge people rolling down the field ...
  • Is there anyone here who agrees with the Jets strategy of going for FGs rather than taking chances when in the redzone? I didnt like the last one and i didnt like this one as well.
  • Chad Jackson sighting in the game ... alas, only an incomplete
  • Pennington: 20/31 for 256 & 1 TD; Brady: 20/31 for 202 & 1 TD; pretty remarkable!
  • How did Asante NOT get picked for Pro-bowl? Qn2: Will NE pats give Asante a huge contract or will they leave him to go as a free-agent?
  • 320/James: Couldn't have said it better. Pats win because they have been before and they have a good running game. The Jets will be here (if they dont disgress in mangini's sophomore year!) with a good running game. Maybe they should move up the draft and grab AP
  • One final word: The Jets can be proud with the way they were able to stick for three and half quarters with the Patriots - a much superior team. With a few additions - pass rush and running game, they can stay as a force to recokon in the AFC East.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Ind SA - Third Test Grades (Not pretty if you are SRT or RD fan!)

Oh Man, after the great performance in the first test match, India reverted back to its old habits and lost a test series 2-1 that Sout Africa had no business winning, atleast not the last one.

Wassim Jaffer. Grade: B+
He has a bad habit. He follows a good innings with a bad one. Looks like he is always playing to keep his place in the side. I was disappointed when he lost focus towards the later part of Day 1 and gave away his wicket. That is where the advantage on Day 1 was lost. However, he was the least of India's problems.

KD Karthik. Grade: B
His Batting cannot mask deficiencies behind the stumps. While the official scorecard shows 7 byes, there were a lot more missed keeping chances.

V Sehwag. Grade: D+
Your batting in first innings is in the Lara-Ponting league while the second is more the Afridi league. He single handedly destroyed the coach's great move of having him open with another bone-headed shot

All Dravid/Tendulkar fans to skip this part

Rahul Dravid. Grade: F-
You are officially the first member of F- Club. If someone does not tell you that you singlehandedly lost the game for India, they are lying to you. Also, most of the bowling decisions back-fired and hence this would be one test match, you would like to forget in a hurry. Between, when the runs dry up, why do the Indians not look for singles and twos and rotate the strike.

Sachin Tendulkar. Grade: F-
Second member of the F- club. Who are you? I am sure that you are an imposter trying to ruin the name of ST. 14 runs of 62 balls with 1 four is but a shadow of what ST did in his career.

Maybe the CBI should investigate if ST has been abducted by space alien wanting his batting skills in the inter-gallatic match and replaced him with a poor and shoddy replacement.

On a serious note, i think it is not blasphemy to suggest that Sachin's game has fallen a lot. I don't know why, but someone in the dressing room should tell Sachin that he is but a shadow of the great player that he was. He no longer creates sleepless nights for opposition bowler and has many more bad innings in the last 2 years than the rest of his career combined.

Oh, by the way - i do know he scored a 64 in the first innings.

Sourav Ganguly. Grade: B
I think he made a statement in the overall series on his toughness. Makes me change my mind - i would rather have people with toughness than finesse. I do have to say that he did not help India's cause by exposing the tail in the first innings. How? Ganguly had 7 overs with the tail-enders (Kumble and lower):
  • Over 1: Kumble faces Pollock the first ball because the batsmen crossed on the Sehwag dismissal. Kumble is dismissed on the 4th delivery
  • Over 2: Ganguly takes a single on 3rd delivery
  • Over 3: Ganguly takes a single of the first ball. He also agrees to a single with Zaheer on the last ball. Zaheer is dismissed of the first delivery the next over.
  • Over 4: Ganguly gets strike of 3rd ball, gets a four and also a single off the last ball
  • Over 5: Ganguly takes single of 3rd delivery, Sreesanth dismissed with the last delivery
  • Over 6: Single of 4th delivery
  • Over 7: Ganguly dismissed of the first delivery.

VVS Laxman. Grade: D-
How can you give up a wicket in such a situation in the second innings. Outside tendulkar and dravid, you too should owe up for this loss.

Kumble: Grade: C
Bad run with the bat. In a long time, i haven't seen you have an off-match. My first reading was that you were trying too much and that you are not suited to bowl around the stumps (like a left arm spinner!)

Sreesanth. Grade: C
Quiet game, with the bat and the ball.

Zaheer: Grade: C+
Had a good game with the ball though the stats did not do justice to his effort, not in the first innings. In the second, he was to support Kumble in running down the opposition - he kept his side of the bargain

MM Patel: Grade:D
I thought India played with 10 players. Nope, MM Patel replaced VRV Singh. What difference did it make? Made no difference in bowling as he was given ONE over in second innings. In terms of batting, the south african bowlers were relieved that they were not going to bowl to a wild VRV.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

How can we not ....

How can we not register a FIR when a child goes missing ...?

The root cause of the Noida massacre (for want of a more violent expression!) which has claimed the lives of 17 people & alleged to include another 5 to 10 more people is the ineptitude shown by the Noida police in not registering the FIR.

I watched a NDTV special trying to question whether there is a class divide in India with respect to Police treatment. The answer, sadly is YES. How? Adobe India President's son was kidnapped in November and here is the link of the first news article. It mentions that an FIR was filed at Sector 20 police station.

However, why had the police not registered a case inspite of repeated and continous missing cases of young childern from a particular locality since October 2005?

Can the Prime Minister ask this question to his police machinery?

BTW, it is heartening to note that not a single lawyer in Noida who was willing to defend Moninder Singh and his servant.