SL sends India reeling!!!

March 23, 2007

By the time India wakes up todays match will be history and hope the fans take this as a game and not resort to showing emotions by burning or attacking players homes.There was aboslutely no devil on this pitch. Whatever was there was negotiated by the SL batsmen. The Indian batting was atrocious and squandered the advantage given by the bowlers. Why is Sachin coming in at No 4? He cannot play the slow waiting game. He is an agressor and he needs play his game which is the best at opening. Four years ago we were chasing a similar score against Pakistan. He and Sehwag blazed their way and tore apart Waqar and Akhtar. India will be better served with him at the top of the order. Murali wound his magic against the Indian batsmen and they had no answer. The worst was  Dhoni who walked out even before the umpire could give him out, mind you he was LBW. In my previous post I had mentioned Sehwag would get out going for the expansive drive but that didnt happen. He played beautifully and kept the score ticking along with some gorgeous drives and lofts. What was interesting to see was the SL bowlers made sure that every ball is met by the bat. There was no shouldering arms for the batsmen and this is something the Indian bowlers need to do consistently. Another notable feature was Sangakkara standing upto the stumps right from the first over for Vaas. Well, whatever it was Uthappa and Ganguly found it tough to get the scorecard moving.

Anyway, there are a lot of Australia haters. They are not a model team in terms of behavior on the field but can anyone complain the way they play cricket. For the past few years every time the team is in dire straits someone puts their hands up and plays an unforgettable innings. How many times has Steve Waugh saved Australia? Andy Bichel and Michael Bevan played beautifully to take them home. When are we going to see this kind of cricket from India. Of course we have had a Kumble & Srinath, Kaif & Yuvi but can we do this more consistently. I think thats why defines Australia and they have not got here overnight. I was listening to an interview with Chappell brothers by Sanjay Manjrekar and I was surprised to find them completely opposite in nature. While one loved to be in the middle of it always, the other liked the distance from cricket. When asked if coaching has changed Australia both concurred on one thing. Australia have not reached here overnight or a year. When Allan Border took over the team it was not the best team in the world. They too had problems but the administrators took notice of this and put together a plan and revolutionized cricket. Apart from coaching cricket players need to be mentally and physically coached as well. All this possible by having the right infrastructure in place and right administrators to carry it forward. This Australian team is an aging one. There are a few like Clark and Hussey who have spent the majority of their careers playing first class cricket. But when thrown in the middle there is no hint of inexperience. They play like  they have been veterans of the game and match after match prove that age doesnt matter. On the other hand we are trying to unearth a Tendulkar in every 16 year old. Suresh Raina is an excellent cricketer but against the heavy weights he was  found wanting. Sourav Ganguly proved everyone wrong with this batting, yes he is a liability on the field but how many of them arent!!!!Cricket is not all about bat and ball, some is played in the mind as well. None of the current Indian players are going to be around in 4 years time. Do we know our bench strength to fill these  big shoes? Will this loss wake up the adminstrators to take some action?

One other feature thats become more evident in this world cup is the fielding. Every team has improved by leaps and bounds except the India and Pakistan. Some of these associate teams are good fielding units and I hope the next generation of Indian cricketers are as good as any other on the field.

Cricket Calypso

March 21, 2007

welcome to cricket calypso brought to you by Narasimha & Nikil.

We will begin with updates on todays matches

Bangladesh were brought back to reality by SL after Jayasuriya blazed his way to a century. Aided with 50's by Dilshan and Silva SL made 318 after being asked to bat first. Ban bowlers could not repeat their magic neither could their batsmen. SL started cautiously but how long can you keep Jayasuriya under check!!!

On the other hand Pak playing in their last inconsequential league encounter against Zim posted a huge score and won the match. Its been a hard time for this team after the death of their coach Bob Woolmer which is now being treated as "murder". Inzi played his last ODI and was given a standing ovation from teamates and opponents alike. A tearful farewell to a very special talented batsman!!!

Will India qualify? This is in every Indian team supporters mind and will be answered on Friday. SL have done their bit to help India by putting on a huge score. Ban NRR is at -2.002 and will take some performance by them against Bermuda if they are to qualify. Of course this equation will be required only if India manage to beat SL which seems like an uphill task. Batsmen need to fire and bowlers need to find the right areas to bowl. Sehwag got a 100 against Bermuda. Will this help him tide over his bad form or has this given him the false confidence to fail again. I think he will fail against SL going for one of his expansive drives but for the sake of India qualifying I would like him to succeed. If last world cup had Kenya qualifying through the backdoor imagine this time around playing Ireland and Ban. I am not suggesting they dont deserve to be in Super-8's but these teams havent reached the stage where they can perform day-in and day-out at a consistent level. Ban in partiuclar have some dashing batsmen who played fearlessly but were unable to repeat their performance against SL. A win was not expected but atleast a fight would have made some believers happy that this team is capable of being in the big league. However Ban is similar to what SL was prior to their world cup victory and the next world cup we might see the emergence of Ban as a real contender.

Bob Woolmer Pak cricket coach was found unconscious in his hotel room on Saturday and later died. My first reaction to this was conspiracy!!!My wife and sil thought that I was crazy. Wasnt cricket supposed to be a gentlemen's game? Matchfixing, doping and now a potential murder has tarnished the reputation of this game. The amount of money involved in cricket is astronomical and the subcontinent, India in particular is the biggest money spinner of all. Last time match fixing happened cricket lost some fan base and I am sure this too will have some bearing on cricket followers.

Tomorrow matches: Group A: Netherdays vs Scotland Group C: Canada vs New Zealand