Saturday, April 21, 2007

Brian Lara retires

Today, 21st April 2007, Brian Charles Lara is playing his last match at international level. If you don't know what he has done in his career then better look at this record. BC Lara was one of the greatest entertainers of modern era. Lot of things were spoken against him and also blamed for WI poor performance. For me he remained the best batsman for modern era. A true fighter and capable of winning matches for the country. A true legend. Thank You Brian Lara.

Nobody could pack so much drama, meaning in every shot of cricket. Consequently nobody could so illuminate the point that this is a sport of such independent events, of an infinite number of worlds.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

East or West, Australia is the best

South Africa's honeymoon at Number 1 spot in ODI rankings did not last long, as the Aussies continued their surge towards Number 1 and beyond. They now have 24 straight wins in the World Cups. This shows where this team stands and how far other teams are. Australia seems to be the team with extra ordinary men. One of them is Ricky Ponting. Normally a front-foot player who likes to hit on the rise and when the ball is coming on nicely. The other day against England, the pitch was not at all suitable for his kind of play but they way he played, clearly showed his amazing concentration and focus. There was only one thing on his mind - to win. They way Aussie top order is playing, is almost a concern that lower order batsman aren't getting enough runs or time to spend on the pitch. May be we will see some changes in batting order later on. Coming to English performance, I think they lost the game when they slowed down (a little too much) in the middle of the innings(After Bell got out). Australia played the 3rd power play to the greatest advantage. Tait bowled great and did not give chance to the new batsman. Another unsung hero for this side has been Brad Hogg. His spin is creating problems to the batsman. He has performed well and have taken crucial wickets. Against England, he troubled Flintoff a lot and ultimately taking his wicket. There are still exploitable holes in Aussie bowling attack which were almost exposed by England but such is the beauty of this team that they know best how to come back into the game, No matter how bad is the situation. SA have to work hard against West Indies in order to avoid pressure situation later on. WI needs to win all 3 matches to be in contention for Semis. NZ and SL are well poised at this moment.

Australia regain top ODI ranking

Ricky Ponting led his side back into top spot with a win over England
© Getty Images
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Friday, April 6, 2007

A peaceful day with happy ending.

The most eagerly awaited day after India's dismal performance in World Cup had just gone by. A peaceful day on all accounts means that it was business as usual at BCCI camp and the hype was all about Media's obsession with Indian cricket. In the past few days, almost every cricket lover would have developed an opinion on Cricket India's future and very few people would have predicted events the way they happened today. Rahul Dravid retains captaincy , Greg Chappell offered a different role, Ravi Shastri's name as future Indian coach. All in all, happy ending for everybody. Personally, none of the above decisions are too bad. These may not be too optimistic but again, nobody had a lot of time to think. A hasty decision would have been a bigger disaster.

Rahul is a good captain because he can lead the team by example but BCCI should start grooming a younger leader to replace him in near future. Greg Chappell being involved in NCA is also not a bad move, though it depends on his decision to accept the offer or not. I would suggest a team working with him in tandem to put things in place. If this does not happen then I think we will loose on a lot of initiatives that were started by Greg. Last but not the lease, Ravi Shastri as the national coach. I like Ravi Shastri as a person and have seen him play also. He was not a great player of fast bowling but a good one for Spin (whacked Shane Warne on his debut). Coaching is a different ball game but I think BCCI is now willing to create a team of experts for batting bowling and fielding and Shastri being in charge of that team. I think definition of "Team Manager" is going to be changed now. But that is for near future. Team should start practicing for Bangla tour. What a time for Indo-Bangla cricket clash!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

An honest Start and I am not worried about results.

We all know Indian cricket is the richest in the world. Our players are highest paid and board enjoys everything from a government like stature and paid trips to the whole cricketing world. What Indian cricket lacked was, this type of concerted effort. Zee Group annouced an idea about Indian Cricket League. Subhash Chandra who heads the group talk about his brain child.

Subhash Chandra, who heads the Essel Group, owners of the Zee brand, has announced a breakaway cricket series called the Indian Cricket League (ICL). The Essel Group will invest Rs 100 crore (US$ 23 million approx) in the project, which will run parallel to the leagues and tournaments of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. The ICL will have six teams with two Indian internationals, four overseas players and eight juniors in each side. At the end of the third year, there will be 16 teams in the ICL.
This is the way to go and an honest beginning at a small level was required. The main idea is to create a pool of talent and not earn money by making national side play enormous amount of cricket.
To achieve its objectives, Zee plans to set up cricket academies equipped with state-of-the-art facilities across the country. Sports medicine would be introduced to ensure players' fitness and a full-fledged record maintained of their behaviour pattern, diet-plan and game statistics. The group will also appoint talent scouts in all 35 states to hunt for young players to play in the ICL.
Professionals at all levels of the game is the only way out. Like we do a job and get paid based on our performance and experience, the same should be applied to the whole institution. I won't be surprised to see people coming in voluntarily to support the cause. I urge former cricketers like Kapil, Sunny, Ravi Shastri to come forward and contribute. It is lot easier to write columns and talk on shows than to actually do it on the field. I think they owe this much to mother India.
The finer points of ICL:
- 6 teams or clubs to play in the opening year
- Talks on with BCCI for gaining access to stadiums
- Executive Board of the league under installation
- Pool of referees and umpires to be created
- Rules committee to form regulations for ICL
- Ombudsman to look into grievances of players
- League to begin with Twenty20 format and move to ODI format
- League to be a joint venture between Essel Group and ILFS Group
- Each team to have a mentor, media manager, psychologist, physio
- Prize money for the winner- US$ 1 million
- League teams to compete with teams internationally
- Number of teams to be increased from 6 to 16 in three years

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Sri Lanka is the team to beat!

Last week Ricky Ponting announced that New Zealand is the team to beat in this tournament and I agree with him. After India's exit, they are my favourites. Today I got an e-mail from my friend who is an ardent follower of the game and my good buddy. He said his favourites are Sri Lankans and finished his e-mail by "Come on Sanath". Well Sanath and Sri Lanka as a team, both proved that they are the guys to look forward to. When they advanced to Super 8's from Group B after winning all their matches, I thought they were not tested well enough and their real test would come in later rounds. Watching them play today against West Indies was a joy. This team is playing good cricket. Today they lost early wickets against a spirited opening spell but kept their cool. They stuck to a definite plan and the execution was perfect. They crossed 300 run mark with a last ball 6. This shows how good they have become and each player is playing to the potential. Sanath's century proved that he is still Sri Lanka's number 1 batsman. Middle order is rock solid and attacking attitude is scaring the opponents. Now once you cross 300 on a big ground and have a balanced bowling attack, half of the job is done. Sri Lanka bowled excellent and even though their main bowler Murali was expensive, other bowlers annihilated the windies batting. Only Chanderpaul played with some authority and played some great shots against Muttia Muralitharan. Sri Lanka is looking like a rock solid team with a very balanced side. They are brilliant in the fielding department and so many times we have seen that better fielding sides often win the match. They have a good pace attack spear headed by Vaas who has given them the break through in every match. Malinga is the leading wicket taker in the tournament and Dilhara Fernando is playing a role of a good support bowler. I think only Australia is having a similar attack. May be the advantage with SL is Muralitharan who on his day can rattle a team so easily. This team is going to reach semis for sure and they are the real threat for both Australia and New Zealand.
Sanath Jayasuriya looks skywards after reaching his century, West Indies v Sri Lanka, Super Eights, Guyana, April 1, 2007

Sanath Jayasuriya looks skywards after reaching his century, West Indies v Sri Lanka, Super Eights, Guyana, April 1, 2007

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