Category Archives: Cricket

Yes We Know Its Time For #Sachin, Yet We Want Some More

Sachin Tendulkar

By Ankush Kumar

A spider and its climb tirelessly inspired a king to fight again. Victory was still not guaranteed but the fear of failure did not act as a deterrent to the man’s attempts. Great warriors have died in the lamest fashion, but none are remembered for their end, history still talks about their life and their efforts to conquer the world.

Tomorrow modern age heroes will adorn pages in different textbooks, they will inspire generations, but for many they will just remain a reference point. Nothing more and nothing less.

Yet for some bizarre reason we still want to cling on to a few of them forever. Why are we not ready to come to terms with the fact that ‘All good things come to an end”. Is it our insecurities or is it the fear that we do not have too many people who will inspire us again?

I guess its a bit of both worlds. The few good men, who have entertained us, given us a ray of hope, have made us believe in ourselves, in the process have learnt nothing but that. Shahrukh Khan has said it umpteen numbers of times that his biggest fear is that ‘one day he will get up and the arc lights wont be around’. He still is in a profession where his fans can get entertained at 70. But what about heroes who play on the field? How can they entertain us till death separates the genius and its soul?

The bitter reality is that they cant. Beyond a point defying age is stupid. Yet the fans that want to see Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar bat again outnumbers the critics who don’t. So what does he do now?

Imagine how tough it must be for the man itself to think of hanging the boots if its so tough for the fans. There is a entire generation for whom cricket has started and ends with Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.

Few good men like him can adorn roles of mentors or coaches or teachers, but the reality is great sport stars make very average coaches. So how will the man entertain us? The answer is he wont. Once he walks back to that dressing room one final time, an era will be over.
Maybe the time has come, yes the BCCI has possibly squeezed in one tour before the SA series, maybe money was their priority, but then for once fans like me are not complaining. Maybe it will be his last test, maybe in bradmanesque fashion he will end his career, but that one chant ‘Sachiiiiin Sachiiiiin’ will reverberate through the roof of Wankhede this November.

Bruce triumphed, his failures are stories of folklore, warriors won, their battles are part of history, sport stars have fallen, lost, yet the only stories that are remembered is the number of hearts they have won.

His recent failures, have given a chance to his cynics to prove that he is Human not God, his fans knew that long back, its just that GODS were made by action and deeds and Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar falls in the same category. One part in me and possibly many others will go numb when he will be gone. But till then let’s savor each run the legend scores as possibly even we know that the time is up.

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Ashes, Champagne And Yuck: The Ill-Defined Peeing Episode

england players

By Ganesh Subramanian

So after the final test drew to a close after England’s late charge towards victory was halted by bad-light, the Poms well and truly got to lay their hands on the historic Ashes urn. Australia was totally outplayed in the series and England fittingly won the series 3-0. No doubt the historic rivalry of the Ashes transcends ages and generations, but that doesn’t call for an utterly disgusting way to celebrate the victory. For those who are wondering what I am talking about, a few players of the England team celebrated their victory by urinating on the Oval pitch.

Now comes the apology from the English camp for any offence that might have been caused to anyone by their actions. A few lines from the apology statement published in ecb.co.uk website are given below:

“The England cricket team would like to state that during our celebrations after winning the Ashes at no time was there any intention to disrespect Surrey CCC, the Oval or anyone else involved in the game we love,”

The interesting thing about this statement is that while England says that it did not have any intention to disrespect Surrey CCC, the Oval or anyone else involved in the game we love, what they actually ended up disrespecting was the very spirit of cricket by their “taking a leak” act. It was a shameful act to hear itself, let alone see it for the true connoisseurs of cricket. Wonder what MCC has to say on the English players’ actions given that MCC is the custodian and guardian of cricket!

The apology goes on to say that the act was a simple error of judgement from the English players more than anything else. How much more mean could that excuse be? No international player in his sane senses is expected to indulge in an act like that whether it’s a feeling of euphoria after the victory or something else.

In a series already marred by DRS controversies, Lehmann-Stuart Broad spat and so on, this was the last thing the series or more importantly the game of cricket needed. With interesting happenings in cricket on right now with Zimbabwe beating Pakistan in an ODI after 15 years, India A squaring the test series with RSA-A after their 2nd test loss, etc this post Ashes episode leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. One can only hope that in their quest for becoming a world-beating side, the English team learns a bit of modesty and humbleness also along the way.

Let’s Pledge To Sledge! Err I Hate Grammar! Cricket’s Best Battles

cricket sledging

By Ankush Kumar

The purists hate the idea of sledging; it apparently spoils the crease of their suits. The broadcasters love the banter amongst the players as it fills their coffers a little more, than expected. Cricket as they say is played between two teams of eleven players each, every era has seen domination by one team, but the winners of sledging still remain undecided.

Here are a few from trip down memory lane, enjoy and savor the one liners, and don’t forget ‘cricket still remains a man’s game, gentle though is passé’.

Rod Marsh to Ian Botham, when the England star took guard: So, hows your wife and my kids?

Merv Hughes to Robin Smith, after the batsman repeatedly played and missed ‘ you fucking cant bat. The next bowl was dispatched to the boundary and Smith said ‘Hey Merv we make a nice pair I fucking cant bat and you fucking can’t bowl’.

Michael Atherton during his first tour of Australia stood his ground during an appeal. At the end of the over Ian Healy said ‘Fucking cheat’ he replied ‘When in Rome, dear boy’.

James Ormond while playing his first Test match for England, Mark Waugh quipped ‘what are you doing here mate, you aint good enough to play for England’ He replied saying ‘atleast I am the best player of my family’.

After going past a couple of deliveries Shaun Pollock told Ponting ‘its red and round and weighs about five ounces’. The following ball was dispatched to the boundary and Ponting said ‘You know how it looks like, go find it’.

Glenn McGrath once asked Eddo Brandes ‘Hey man why are you so fat’? The Zimbabwean replied ‘because every time I sleep with your wife she gives me a biscuit’!

A young batsman was clean bowled by the great Fred Trueman and he said ‘that was a great ball Fred’ the great shot back saying ‘ Yeah! And it was wasted on you’.

PS: Hoping you enjoyed it and though you might consider yourself a purist, deep down if you are a man am sure these would have brought back a few youthful memories. 

Indian Cricket Since Independence: Why Not Much Has Changed In 66 Years

world cup team 1983

Kartik Kannan delves deep into Indian cricket since Independence and brings to you his opinion as to why he thinks not much has changed though we think otherwise. 

66 years post Independence in 2013, the Indian cricket fan must be elated looking at the way India have progressed from wanting to draw test matches, to wanting to compete, to wanting to regularly win. We’ve found our icons, we’ve made biopics on our heroes, we’ve become the central power in world cricket, and as audiences we’ve made cricket a central source of our happiness. We’ve won 2 cricket World cup’s, a T20 world cup, and mildly basked ourselves in the sunlight that Test cricket affords to the number one team. We have the crowning jewel in the IPL where the world comes to play cricket, where computer analysts and commentators dissect every 1/120th of an innings. Not a bad journey, for a side that was left to fend for itself in the post-colonial hangover of the British Raj, Isn’t it?

Not Quite! Indian cricket finds itself today, not too far from where it started, looking at patterns that and the big picture, despite the highs of Indian cricket, that are reminded to us in various re runs on the sports channels. Indian cricket has always resembled a Renault Duster, by the collective aura of its individuals, but when it comes to the seminal moment of the 4-wheel drive working in tandem with the steering wheel and the accelerator on a rough terrain, the experience that’s more often been given has been that of a cranky Maruti 800. We always have some part that doesn’t work, and the other sturdy parts take the pressure. The end result is that we have a Maruti 800, which goes by a few pleasant drives, but still is continually searching for its service station, despite having the highest number of service stations. The service stations’ are exactly BCCI’s coffers. No cricket board makes the kind of wealth like the BCCI make, but still the Indian cricket team is searching for the recipe that makes their concoction consistently tasty.

When I think of why we are the way we are, I see the following reasons

a)   No Domination DNA– Indian cricket is reflective of its education system, where the focus is on numbers and individual merit, with little focus on teamwork. India also historically has been a nation that’s played catch up to its rulers, and has never gone on war by itself to conquest territories. So the DNA to dominate or ward off attacks has not genetically been there. India has seen a Tendulkar, a Venkatraghavan, an Eknath Solkar, but not a team like Warwick Armstrong’s ‘Invincibles’

b)   Lack of Worth Ethic and Discipline– John Wright and Greg Chappell’s notes on Indian cricket did briefly touch upon the lack of work ethic and discipline in Indian cricket, which never quite allowed India to get out of the quagmire they find themselves stuck in. Speaking of lack of the need to charter a vision, India has never quite had a moment to themselves to feel the need to start a revolution to having a world-class team in all forms of cricket. Not having a clear memo to climb cricket’s Everest and staying there, and not finding the right men to climb regularly has been India’s undoing.

c)    No effect from Drubbings– When the West Indies they were bounced out in the 70’s and shamed with whitewashes from Australia, they decided to meet fire with fire, and scouted for fearless cricketers who’s primary responsibility was to instill the fear of life into the opposition. They never looked back until Steve Waugh shot the Caribbean bubble in Sabina Park, that had grown 15 years without a negative result across countries. That moment of shame never happened to India, despite two incidences of 0-4 drubbings in Australia in 4 tours across 2 decades. As a result the strong urge to build the world’s best team has not originated from the stare in the eye.

d)   Passing Shower, but not a consistent Monsoon– Whenever Indian Cricket faced an acid test, it found its way out of a hole (Like Eden Gardens 2001, Cricket World Cup 2011 being instances), but never quite allowed the positive energy to translate into a culture or a DNA forthe full value chain to absorb (Selectors/Domestic Players/Current Squad). We’ve allowed talent and grit in the shape of a passing shower to give us our cricketing monsoon, instead of having steady rainfall. We don’t need drought, we don’t need floods, we just need a consistent and threatening monsoon, but do we have the right rainmakers who promise the parched Indian fans of cricketing glory?

e)    Rainmakers- The Administrators– The final point is the need of having a great administrative unit, to run the show. While great administrators have come and gone by, Cricketing administration is a combination of respect for the audience, financial acumen and a vision to run the game with growth in mind. India’s done brilliantly on the financial acumen, while Australia and England have done well in the other departments. India with the financial backing it has, needs to put its eggs in the right basket and bet on a vision, rather than allowing random politicians stripping the game’s sanctity through their misdeeds.

India will still manage to produce a leader like MS Dhoni, a run machine like Virat, but it will struggle to produce their version of the ‘Invincible’, unless India pauses to think where they want to be. Like just another Indian cricket fan, despite the passing showers, I keep hoping that the “Fire in Babylon” moment in Indian cricket is not too far away, as I pass yet another Independence day, waiting for Indian cricket’s independence from its prejudices.

indian-cricket-team-icc-cricket-world-cup-2011-champian-21

Indian Street Cricket From The Eyes Of Jack Hoyle – 3

The final part of the three-part series on Street Cricket in India from Jack Hoyle. Watching these pics and his travel, one thing is sure, he definitely has a good book in his camera. Looking forward to much more from him. 

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A young boy shows off his cricket ball as a game gets underway in a temple courtyard, New Delhi.

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A youngster waits in the wings as the older boys show him how it’s done.

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Next man in.

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It’s not just boys who are mad about cricket, plenty of girls are too. A group of boys and girls play in the shadow India Gate, Delhi.

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A young boy takes a large stride as the ball goes past the bat and towards India Gate, Delhi.

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The ball goes flying over the keepers head and towards the government buildings.

Keep watching this space because Jack is going to give us his presentation on Myanmar next, his last place of stay. 

Depleted India Rout Zimbabwe To Take The ODI Series

ind vs zim

By Ganesh Subramanian

After M S Dhoni’s heroics in the final of the tri-series in the Caribbean, India embarked on yet another ODI series, this time against Zimbabwe. India was expected to dominate and probably win the series, but this 5-0 whitewash is slightly unexpected. Die-hard Indian supporters may vehemently disagree with this, but I am saying this on two counts. One is that India went in to the series with a new look squad with the likes of Ashwin, Dhoni, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar & Ishant Sharma rested. Secondly, Zimbabwe has always been a nation that has challenged India in cricket. They have been more of a thorn in the flesh kind of cricketing nation when it comes to matches against India. Remember the match in the 1999 World Cup when India lost by 3 runs?

Barring the first two ODIs where Zimbabwe managed to apply some pressure on the Indian side, the Indian team has been thoroughly professional in whitewashing the African nation. Zimbabwe batsmen appeared listless in the whole series, be it against pace or against spin. The batting has let them down badly in the series, mainly due to lack of contribution from their experienced pros. Brendan Taylor, the skipper, had a series to forget with the bat as well as with the gloves behind the stumps. The other seasoned campaigners like Masakadza, Elton Chigumbura and Sean Williams shone briefly in patches in the series and were not able to make a substantial contribution. The bowlers did their best but could not win matches given the low totals they were defending. The positives from the series for Zimbabwe have been Kyle Jarvis who looked impressive and Sikandar Raza Butt, who seems a good prospect for the future. Zimbabwe quickly needs to reflect on what needs to be done since they have series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka coming soon.

India must be pretty happy with their work in the series. All the batsmen have been amongst the runs at different points in the series. The seam bowlers have utilized the new ball to create dents in the Zimbabwean batting line-up and the spinners have polished off the innings quickly. Kohli’s captaincy has been impressive and he has been selfless in dropping himself down the order especially in the last 2 ODIs so that the others can have a hit out in the middle. Personally for me, I would have loved to see Parvez Rasool make his debut in the series to see what he has got. This was the best opportunity for the team management to try him out given that once Ashwin returns to the fold, it would be difficult for Rasool to get an opportunity.

Now India earns a much deserved rest for a couple of months before hosting Australia for one T20 and 7 ODIs followed by a tough tour to South Africa in November. The boys in blue need to make the most of this break to relax and enjoy themselves and get their batteries recharged for the series ahead.

Indian Street Cricket From The Eyes Of Jack Hoyle – 2

Here’s presenting the second part of the three-part series on Street Cricket in India from Jack Hoyle. Watching these pics and his travel, one thing is sure, he definitely has a good book in his camera. 

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The batsman makes a dash for it and picks up a quick single.

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Any patch of land will do. A recently ploughed field hosts an impromptu game.

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The ball gets lost down a rabbit hole

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A young batsman takes a swing.

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That’s what mostly happens in the ultra-short format on the streets. A big swing and a miss.

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No space is free from cricket. Local common ground in Khajuraho is taken over by a group of cricket players.