Monday, October 8, 2012

West Indies Win Gangnam Style

By the time the T20 final between West Indies and Sri Lanka ended and the mad celebrations took place on the field, ironically besides #WIchamps another word  became the trending topic #Gangnam.

Never before in the world of cricket and I doubt any sports, did the post match celebrations exubed so much inhibited entertainment. To some the post match celebrations were more entertaining then the match itself thanks to the extempore dacing performance of WI team esp one Mr Chris Gyale, who stuck to his words and danced like a Naked baby in a china shop - Infact his Gangnam imitation was by far his best performance, in the entire match.

The Jamboree witnessed at Comombo yesterday, even left the home crowd awestuck, and to some the free Gangnam show, by the relieved West Indies team, kind of abated the disappointment of loosing badly. For a neutral, the game and the ending, could not have been better. The match had all the masala, deservingly fitting for a T20 finale. The match started with the aggressive bowling and fielding by the home team, ebbed by the full home crowd. Gayle, who tweeted a day before that WI would win convinsingly, failed to perform and ironically batted too slow to ultimately perish to the guile of Mendis. Suddenly Windies lost quick wickets and were precariously places at 48-4 in 12 overs. At that moment guile was winning over strength, hands down.

But 1 Mr Samuels, had other plans. He showed his brutual strength and exploded it against the world`s best T20 bowler, slinga the malinga . In the process he hit two of the most towering sixes of the tournament and inflicted the worst bowling performance on a champion bowler like Malinga. The total though was not too big and Sri Lanka had a guile of Mahela and Sanga to chase it down.

But the day belong to West Indies and it was in destiny for them to win, as everything fell in place and in the end they crused to victory. Whatever followed is something a cricket fan won't forget too soon. In the end the Strength of West Indies ruled, which was further vindicated (juxtaposed) by Gayle`s one hand escoteric push ups.

As far as  Indian cricket fan is concerned, he could not have asked for more, but only wished secretly that the Gangnam style existed a year early.

PS- Would have been some sight to see men in blue dancing to the Gangnam style at Wankhede



Saturday, October 6, 2012

T20 Final- Guile Vs Strength

My last blog entry on cricket was a long time back. But the day is still etched in my memories, as India did the unthinkable and won the ICC world Cup 2011.

Almost a year later, I am penning my thoughts on another ICC world cup, albeit in a shorter version - The T20 world cup in Sri Lanka. Although I am not as excited as I was last year, when India were in the finals, and eventaully won, but I am still happy to see two teams, who I equally want to win the elucive cup.

West Indies after a long time, were touted to be one of the favourites to win the  tournament. With some luck and on the weight of some power hitters they have sneaked into the finals and proved all those wrong, who were rediculing the ratings when the tournament started. In cricket analytics, we often compare the experience of one team with another, by either calculating the number of matches played by each player of the team or the number of runs scored. More often than not, India used to win such comparisons hands down, esp during the days of Ganguly`s & Dravid`s and Tendulkar`s. For a format like T20, the most important aspect for such a comparison could BS- Brutual Strength. And who would win in such camparisons - West Indies, hands down.!!!. A glance over the shoulders would be enough to scare you, with likes of  Gayle`s, Samuel`s, Sammy`s, Russel`s & Pollard`s, no team stand close the beating them, atleast in the BS deparment. They are just humangous!  That for me is one reason why WI were piped to the winners. Strength is important in T20 and Gayle and his army is proving that.

Sri Lanka on the other side is a team who should be talked about the most esp in management schools case studies. If you need to teach somebody on how to never give up, just utter the word Sri Lankan cricket. After winning the 96 world cup in India, cricket in Sri Lanka changed. More and more youngsters got into the game, and cricket became the no1 sport for the island nation. But success of 96 could not be replicaed and after it has been the same story: So far, yet so near. In 2007 WC final they lost to Australia and in 2009 T20 WC final they lost to Pakistan. This year, they too were touted as favourites, as in any tournament a home team is, and so far they lived up to their expectations. The only thing to see is whether they would be able to break the jinx of loosing WC finals.

So all in all I am so happy to see both the teams in the final and for me the match is between the guile of the lankans and the brutal strength of WI. For if WI win the WC, it would be like a lifeline for a nation who ruled the game till the late 90`s with mercurial players like Sir Garfield Sobers, Everton Weekes, Gorand Greenidge, Clive Lyod, Malcom Marshall, Desmond Haynes, Vivan Richards but went into oblivian post the early 90`s with the rise of the Aussies. a win tomorrow, will truly lift the nation and send them into delirum. It could be a new dawn for a cricket crazy nation, a start of a new era, and return of days when players used to dread to play against the West Indies.

On the other hand, a win for Sril Lanka would help them come out of the jinx of loosing in the finals (earlier held by India) and would send the cricket crazy country into an avalanche of joy which was last witnessed 16 years back. Moreover, it will send the people of the Island Nation dancing in the aisle (which the cheer girls could not do for now, apologies for being sexiest).

So come tomorrow, history will be made as there would be a new T20 champion. If SL wins it would be for the first time a home team will win theT20 world cup and if West Indies win, it would be their first major WC victory after the win in 1979 WC. A longest draught ever by any previous WC winning nation.

Let the fireworks begin...!

PS- Personally I want the West Indies to Win:-)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


A night to Remember- 2nd April...2011

The last time I pened down my thoughts about the ICC World Cup was on the eve of India Vs England at Chinaswamy Stadium, Bangalore. On day day, I had vouched that I would be writing regularly when India plays, but the kind tension each match created (Esp the tie), my zeal to write somehow broke down.(May be it was also superstition)

But now all tensions have evaporated, the cup has returened after 28 looooongg years and we are well deserved CHAMPS (yehhhh fists go in air). I have been following the game of cricket since 1992 (At least that`s what my memory states) and never did I witness the kind of emotions on a day which will go down in the books of History - 2nd April, 2011. The day INDIA got together, cried out of emotions, smiled out of sheer joy, shouted out of pride and sang,danced, and drank on streets at Midnight oblivious of travesties of life. I too was part of the crowd and celebrations just went on and on and on................and ON.

Exaclty 10 days before the Final (India was about to play their quaterfinal against Aussies) I had a dream and quite a strange one (All dreams are strange though, "smile"). I dreamt that ,"What will I get if India wins the Match against Australia, then the semi-final and finally then the final". Imagine I was dreaming and I did not have any answers, except that I will be a tad happy, but then whats next, life moves on and proberly IPL would take over.

For the next few days I was quite disturbed and kept on looking for a answer~ Never did I realise that on 2nd April, 2011, 11.30 PM all my doubts would be answered when a cherubic muscular and tenacious lad from small town Ranchi with a sobriquet Mahi and MSD would smash the cricket ball over long on and send the entire country into dizziness and madness never witnessed before (may be during independence, not sure though..any takers??).

My dream after all did come true and I was able to see the after affects too. (hey it rhymes too,"smile"). The victory scenes are now deeply etched and entrenched in my memory and I am proud to say that our generation would be able to tell their Children and Grandchildren that "They saw, They celebrated and They remembered" 2nd April 2011, like our grand pa use to remind us of Kapil`s heriocs at Lords 1983, the only similarity though being 2 April..ableit 1983...

What a game, what a team, what player (sachin) , what a captain (MSD) what a Nation.

Proud to be Indian...

Until next time....Cheers!!!


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sammy another Lee Germon in making- Preview SF Vs WI - Kotla

Leaving aside the first match between India and Bangladesh on 19th Feb, the 9th Edition of the ICC world cup literally started with the clash of big titans- South Africa and West Indies, today. To be honest even India and Bangladesh wasnt bad, considering Banglas inflicted the mysery on India in the last edition. Infact the match lived up to the expections too, thanks toViru and Tamin.

Now coming to SF and WI two factors had put a question mark on the match- Weather and the Kotla picth. Thankfully both of them did not play a mojor role in the final result. The pitch was flat and the rain stayed away for the major part. But factor 3rd cropped in- A lackadaisical performance by WI. Both Gayle and Pollard, one of the biggest hitters in ODIs failed without leaving any impression . Infact the match which was being built as a major clash turned out to be a damp squid and the Proteas coasted to a comfortable win.

During the match i noticed a very important remark by Mike Atherton ," what role does sammy plays as a captain in the team; He bats at no 9 and bowls dibly doblies". What is he doing in India in the first place?

I emphatise with Sammy who had the courage to take the role of captaincy when no one else raised their hands. The person who comes to mind who was in similar position was New Zealand captain in 96 world cup which incidently also too took place in India.

Lee Gormon was a name never heard before & guess what, he not only landed in the team but was announced to be the captain. The only reason i could fanthom for such a move by the NZ selectors was that he was a total suprise to the opposition (NZ are good in producing suprises..rem deepak patel , the spinner opening the innings and being successful at it too)

But personally I felt the suprise was not worth experimenting as LG not a great batsman neither a phenomenal keeper and never deserved to be the captain. It was no wonder that NZ feared badly in the World Cup, had an early exit and no one heard of LG later. (Infact he was never seen too; i cant even find him on google)

Sammy too could face the same problem and WI are in grave danger of finishing even below Bangladesh unless Pollard and Gayle produce match winning knocks and Bravos injury recovers. India will surley beat them and so would England. So if I was Sammy I would resign at the earliest as that would surely prolong his career. In return i guess Chanderpaul should take the captaincy as it would be easier to fire him or he would finally retire from Intl cricket (Gosh he has been playing for ages)

That`s my take on today`s match, I will be back soon for the biggest clash of this cup- India vs England at Bengaluru.

Till then...take care!

Amit..a cricket fanatic !!

PS: Anybody who needs tickets for call....GOD...for help:-)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Eden suprises us once again!

Toss alaways plays a kep role in India. The reason quite simple; No touring side would want to bat last against the strength of India- Spinners.

So when the South Africans won the toss (once again) Millions of India fans were a tag disappointed for two reasons. The first that India would once agian would bat last and our spinners would be ineffective on day 1 track & second being a Sunday everyone was looking forward to seeing India batsman thrash South African bowlers to all corners of Eden.

If the toss was disappointing, what was to follow was even worse. Excepct for Zaheers early dismisal (a delight for TV audiences, its so fun to see the wicket go cart walking) of this buddy Graham Smith, the entire morning session belonged to a debutant and Amla. For an optimistic India fan the early dismisal would have meant that India would be dominating the proceedings, esp when the wicket was of the oposition captain. The probabilities were in India`s favour- After all how may times would you see a debutant scoring runs and that Amla was bound to fail.

But the Indian fans were let down, as both Amla and Peterson flayed with the bowling attack which looked mediocre to say the least. By tea the frustation levels starting mounting. The India fans were fealing despondent, Sunday was no more a fun day.Some pondered off to watch MNIK and other`s just dabbled with other tv channels, oblivious what was in store for them.

If first two sessions belonged to South Africa then surely the last session went to India. Eden gardens erupted and India`s were back with a bang, by not just capturing one or two wickets but by anhiliating the South African batting. Harbhajan was once again on a hat-trick and his post wicket taking dramatics displaying joy and celebrations brought back the memories of 2001- India vs Australia.

Eden garden suprised us once again; when all hope was lost and depondency was creaping in, Indians fought backm truly displaying the quality of being the No 1 team in the world. Before tea one of my friend remarked "We need a miracle to come back into the match, I said to him miracle do happen, never did i knew it would happen so soon! w

well done India.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

If`s and But`s- Nagpur Test

No 46- Another one in a loosing cause!

Cricket is indeed an amazing game. I had thought I would start a new blog in which my penchant for cricket would not be talked about for a change. But India`s recent performance against South Africa made me change my mind. I am back, doing what i do best- Talk about the game we all love.CRICKET

Now lets analysis and dissect the test match. Cricket is not a game of If`s and Buts as reiterated by Mr Navjot Sidhu zillions of times in his short stint as a commentary or I might say as a quotator (term discovered by me- As most of the time he was reciting quotes). But today lets us introspect and see how things could have been different.

India on the eve of the first test match were the favourites, not because they had world class players (which obviously they have and so do the South Africans) but because they were ranked No 1 in Test Cricket. But things started on a bad note when India not only lost VVS Laxman to injury but also his replacement Rohit Sharma just minutes before the start of the test match. It was touted to be a match between two of the best test playing teams (reiterated by their test ranking) but eventually it turned out to be damp squid (esp. for the ardent India fans).

The irony of playing for India is that, you might earn a spot in the team and even go to the extent of playing for the nation, but the timing of the match and the opponents are vey important . As proved for Mr Saha, who was picked up in place of Dinesh Kartik, who after numerous attempts could not cement his place in the team. But today he finds himself out of the team, pondering as to what went wrong.

Post the defeat all the fans are desperate to have Dravid, Laxi and to some extent Yuvraj back in the team. They even feel India lost due to their absence. It could even be possible that tomorrow`s headlines read as - Depleted India team capitulates in front of mighty springboks. Now coming to the "IF"- Had Murali vijay, Badrinath or Saha scored a match saving hundered the situation would have been quite different. The headlines would be been - India`s youth comes to rescue- Saves Nagpur test. In the days to come, news would have been making circles that India no more needs Dravid and Laxman. The new talent has to be given a chance, the youth should come forward, the oldies need to retire et al.

But nothing of that sort happened and Dravid (has just missed two test matches since his debut) and laxman would count them lucky. Dinesh Kartik would also be on cloud nine since his 2 tons in the Duleep Trophy final meant that he is back in the team in place of Mr Saha, who would be repenting of the fact that why did he got selected in the first place as Nagpur test did more harm than good to him.

In no ways during the entire test did it seemed that the world`s best two teams were playing. In fact the passion and zeal displayed by the World No 1 team in any sport, let alone cricket, was totally missing from the Indian squad. This was vindicated the way they gave in to the pace of styen and guile of Harris. I personally think that the rankings at times are very misleading and does not reflects the true picture of the current form of the team. India has been doing well, but against whom?? Minnows like Bangladesh, a team like Sri Lanka which has one of the most boring (if i can use that word) pace attacks.

India did bounce back last time when South Africa toured India, to level the series 1-1. To repeat the same feat, the India team would need to go back to the drawing board, forget about the rankings and just come out all cylinders blazing on a deck which supports the spinners (Mr Groundsmen- R u listening?)

Spinners are the only way India could stage a comeback as our pacers DO NOT (barring zaheer) have the speed to bother the South Africans. Unless this happens we would just be content on watching Sachin Tendulkar reach yet another milestones and watch him score yet another hundred in a loosing cause (happened 10 times till now)

Let’s hope for a better performance!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Shocking bowling performance lets India down!

All good things come to an end, and it finally did happen. After a long hiatus, India did finally manage to loose to Pakistan at a major international tournament. Pakistan started tremendously with Imran Nazir and Kamran Aklam, thrashing the bowlers to all the corners of Wanderers. At that time it looked that Pakistan had a huge advantage by winning the toss and that batting under light would be tough as the pitch would get low and slow. But, as things turned out, as the match progressed, the playing conditions did become good . For Dhoni loosing the toss , would have been a blessing in disguise, provided they bowled well, which unfortunatley they did not !

What let India down?- Three major factors! - After having Pakistan 70-3 in 15 odd overs, we just relented the pressure. I have never seen such a klutzy performance from India, after being in a strong position. May be the absence of Yuvi and Veru not only played dearly and affected our batting order. but had a huge influence on how Dhoni used his limited bowling attack. What mistake he did (albeit it is easy to say now) was that he thought of doing away with the 5th bowler`s quota of over`s at the earliest, which to some extent he was able to do (This technique works well in sub-continet, but in SA i think Bhajji should have be introduced and efforts should have been to take wickets). But, in the process he gave away Yosuf and Malik, easy singles and time to settle. A cardinal sin in Cricketing Parlance!

Second- Harbhajan was brought in too late and too add salt to injury he bowled shockingly. I hate the way he bowls too many bowls on the leg side which ends up going for 5 wides. After the batsmen got set, whatever India did, Pakistan came with up with something better. The ball was just kissing the boundaries to often. Shoulders were down! It was as if a t20 t20 match was on. No wonder Pakistan scored 165 runs in the last 20 overs. Wew! Indeed a challenging t20 score.

Third- India started well. In spite of absence of yuvi, veru and early fall of sachin, their was still a chance for India to pull of a a thriller, courtesy of flamboyance of Ghambir (which he gave away through a silly run out) and determination of dravid( he was left alone, too much for the wall) and a quick fire by Raina (star for future). But in the end, India fell way short and the sad part being was that they even could not complete its quota of 50 overs (a point which they would surely be ruing in next two matches). Pakistan was the better on the day, India did play well, but the poor bowling let them down. A score of 270-280 could have easily chaseble.

Time to regroup- Pakistan is almost certain to reach the semi-final courtesy their high run rate. So India needs to re-group and come out all guns blazing against Australia. They need to beat them and West Indies and that too handsomely, otherwise they would be home early, joining the country and their families in the festive season, minus any cricket!

All the best!