Tag Archives: Ricky Ponting

A Gentleman’s Game. Why Question Now???

Pak Players

Ankush Kumar talks how irresponsible talks and books only take away the interesting and unpredictable factor away from the game. This one is as straight as it gets and we hope it reaches Ed Hawkins.

Bookie update… India will bat first and score over 260, 3 wickets fall within the first 15 overs, Pakistan will cruise to 100, then lose 2 quick wickets, at 150 they will be 5 down and crumble and lose by a margin of over 20 runs.

I happened to read the book authored by Ed Hawkins. For people who don’t know him, you have Google. For those who know him very well, Read On!!!

India beat pakistan

Mr. Ed Hawkins ‘you’ have been awarded the prestigious sports betting writer of the year award. You know what? It is like our filmfare awards, when Shahrukh Khan cannot win the most coveted prize; we honor him with the power award.

It has possibly become a fashion statement to criticize every good performance by Team India in cricket matches. And for writers like you and many others from the west, it is pretty easy to post such scandalous blogs and taint our glory forever.

‘The only source of defense the book has perhaps is that ‘this information was passed on by an Indian source/bookie/punter’. Can the author tell us one thing, how do you trust such people when the law of the land says that they are doing illegal activities?

If you look at that script very closely ‘Sir’ (pun intended) such predictions are made by kids galore in different parts of India every day. And trust me quite a few actually get it right. So does that makes all these people fixers?

If this script is going to be a benchmark for you to ‘SELL’ your books (and people like me buying it). I can give you better screenplays, that can actually fetch you the most ‘coveted prize’.

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The first script dates back to 1999. The Australia vs South Africa world cup Semi final. Oh Boy! It was a pot boiler. Australia’s top order crumbles, Steve Waugh’s catch is dropped, and he goes on to say possibly the finest line in cricketing history ‘Mate! You have just dropped the world cup’. South Africa starts their modest total chase in a brisk fashion and then Warnie spells doom. Lance Klusner gets them to the finish line and they still lose the spot in the finals. Isn’t that quite similar to the above script? There is a difference though, this one had dialogues too!!!

The generic defense I am sure will be ‘Oh South Africa’ is a jinxed team! Maybe the jinxed factor can be used to good effect and we can have a potential story!

World Cup 1996 Semi Final: Australia v West Indies

The second script dates back to the 1996 World Cup semi-finals. (Must say semis are a big bet). Australia make a lowly total of 208 on a flat batting surface, thanks to batting efforts by Ricky Ponting and Stuart Law, West Indies make heavy weather of that chase, once again Warnie weaving his magic and Courtney Walsh getting bowled attempting a big heave when Richie Richardson was on the other end. Was this one fixed too?

Authors around the world might argue that it was not, because Australia was firm favorites to win that match. India were favorites too, to win the semi final against Pakistan in 2011. In fact we were tournament favorites to win the championship and we did it pretty well.

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There are numerous other examples you have mentioned in your book, that ‘suggests match fixing’. ‘Sir’ the only problem is that you have very conveniently forgotten the ‘Ireland v/s England match’. I believe it was on pure merit that the Irish won that match, but since you have said it through your book ‘that cricket won’t be watched without suspicion again’ I have raised my doubts here.

With due respect to all the people who have questions on their minds, ‘when Team Australia won the world cup nobody raised any questions, when Sri Lanka an island nation won it for the first time nobody raised any questions’. It is time to respect the fact that ‘Team India won on pure merit and nothing else’.

Cheap talks will linger on for time immemorial but this is where ‘respected’ people like you and others come into play, rather than believing what an irrational idiot says for generating eye balls to 24 x 7 media channels, we should applaud the efforts of cricketing nations.

P.S: The jinxed factor has a potential story ‘Sir’, and the ‘coveted prize’ is all for the taking.

 

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Mumbai Indians And The Problem Of Resources Vs Resourcefulness

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Mumbai Indians have a great team but a very poor resource utilization strategy. Venugopal Rajagopalan writes about that and more in this insightful piece.

Resourcefulness is optimal utilization of resources of a resource. From a corporate perspective, it is not cash that fuels the journey to the future, but the emotional and intellectual energy of every employee.

“A firm can sit atop mountains of cash and command legions of talented people, and still lose its preeminent position. Likewise, a firm can sometimes overcome enormous resource handicaps and successfully scale the heights of industry leadership” – Gary Hamel & C.K.Prahlad

Quoting another excerpt from the book Competing for the future – “Too often companies are judged in terms of resources rather than resourcefulness. Resourcefulness stems not from an elegantly structured strategic architecture, but from a deeply felt sense of purpose, a broadly shared dream, a truly seductive view of tomorrow’s opportunity.”

Now, relating this to Mumbai Indians’ case in the IPL, you can draw the same parallels. They have some of the biggest names in the business in the form of both players  and support staff. The likes of Sachin, Ponting, Pollard, Rayudu, Johnson, Oram, Harbhajan, Rohit Sharma etc prove that talent is there in abundance. In the coaching and support staff, we have people like John Wright, Anil Kumble, Robin Singh and even Mike Horn as a motivational speaker.

However, the point here is, you might have the best of resources and money power; however it’s of no use if you do not know how to utilize them. That’s what one can make of the performance of the Mumbai Indians team in all editions of the IPL. What’s the point in having spent so much to buy and retain a player of the pedigree of Kieron Pollard, if he gets to only face an average of 5-10 balls a match? In yesterday’s game against RCB at Bengaluru, he faced only 2 balls and that too at a stage where he hardly had any time to play himself in. You can’t possibly expect a man to come in to bat and hit an imaginary 30 runs in 5 balls and win you a match even he is Sir Vivian Richards.

MI has faltered in the area of strategy since the time IPL started. They lost the finals of the 2010 edition to CSK because of the very reason of not giving enough balls for Kieron Pollard to face and chase down the total. Their team management has not learnt from their mistakes in the previous editions at all. Any cricketing pundit would bat Pollard at #4 if not higher to give your match winner and best T20 player maximum time at the crease. It is not rocket science to understand that just giving him solitary 5-10 balls to face every innings is a waste for a player of his caliber.

Just imagine if Chris Gayle was asked to bat at number 6 by the RCB. Would RCB be the same force? The answer is a clear cut NO! T20 is a different ball game all together and the needs are different from the batsmen. However mouth watering the sight of seeing Sachin and Ponting opening the batting might be, the fact is that both are well past their prime. Either one of them, (ideally Ponting) should be batting at 3 or Rohit Sharma should be opening the batting for their batting order to be more effective. Pollard should be batting no lower than #4 or #5 to be effective in this format. Ideally, he should be coming in to bat not later than the 12th over of the innings to have maximum impact on the outcome of the match. If he fails to deliver or if there is a top order collapse, the Ambati Rayudus and the Dinesh Karthiks can surely resurrect the innings and get MI to a respectable total.

Will MI learn from yet another mistake or not, only time will tell, however it would be interesting to see if any other team would use this failed strategy to their advantage. Having said that, full marks to Vinay Kumar for bowling the perfect Yorker on that last delivery to Pollard under extreme pressure in that final over.

RCB Vs MI at IPL6 in Bengaluru

Bangalore win But IPL Won Big At Chinnaswamy

Sachin and Ponting

 

Sachin Tendulkar came to bat with Ricky Ponting, Chris Gayle continued his tornado batting in the T20 format and the audiences had a nail-biter, what more could be asked of IPL

After a dud first game in Kolkata (when was the last time Kolkatans, poor Kolkatans saw something that was exciting), T20 cricket was at its best, delivering things only this format and IPL could.

For starters Bangalore for the first time beat Mumbai in Chinnaswamy stadium, breaking a long-standing home ground jinx. There was nothing special though in the way they did it except for one man who almost on all occasions stands between Bangalore and losses. Yes, Chris Gayle again shone and this time on one foot, proving another fact that even on one leg, he is the best T20 batsmen the world will ever see.

It would not do justice to Vinay Kumar and Jaidev Unadkat if we do not give them some credit too. Mumbai had almost completed formalities in the 17th over with Dinesh Karthik spanking Daniel Christian for 24 runs. Mumbai needed 17 off the last two overs which in this format is a walk in the park. Kumar and Unadkat though had other ideas. Unadkat bowled the penultimate one and gave away just 7 runs, allowing Kumar a healthy 10 runs to bowl. It was then that this bowler often criticised for not doing justice to his potential delivered an over, very few could match. Giving away 7 runs, Kumar picked up two wickets and won the game for his side.

All this apart, the real big one was to see Test cricket’s two highest run-getters come out to open. It was certainly dream come true for cricket lovers across the world to see Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting come out to open in a format people thought was alien to them. Not only they came out to bat, they crafted a 50-run partnership. If this was not enough, another visual delight was to see Test cricket’s highest wicket taker bowl to them. Yes, it was Muttiah Muralitharan bowling to Tendulkar and Ponting.

One man though was unperturbed by all this. Christopher Henry Gayle began his party from where he left last season. He looked a little jittery to begin with but as he stayed on, runs began to flow. He got injured in the middle but continued till the end on one leg, only stating one fact, that no one is better than him in this format. Mumbai were in control till he let loose, and once he did, only one winner came out.

chris gayle Royal Challengers Bangalore wallpapers4

5 Reasons To Watch IPL Season 6

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Like it or hate it, Indian cricket’s biggest extravaganza is back and no matter where you try and run away to escape, some form of it will catch up. So better fasten your seat belts and enjoy the action. Here are my five reasons for this year.

1. This Would probably be the first time and maybe the last when I would see Sachin Tendulkar playing under an Aussie captain, that too none less than Ricky Ponting. Even if Sachin has not captained this side in one season (MI played under Harbhajan Singh then), the master blaster had always been in the forefront of things. Will we see the same this time or with Ponting at the helm, the Indian champion will take a backseat, only time will tell.

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2. This IPL could very well be the last one for many Indian and Foreign stalwarts. Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Mike Hussey and many others could actually call it a day from this tournament. So this will be a last chance to see some of the biggest heroes in action for the last time.

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3. Hyderabad has a new team and an exciting one at that. They have been one side which has always done the extremes. In season one, when they probably had the best team they turned out to be the worst performers and in season two and when nothing was expected from them, they actually lifted the trophy. They have a new look team this time with different owners, definitely something to look up to.

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4. If there is one justification IPL gives for its existence and help towards developing Indian cricket, it is the talented youngsters it throws up to the fore. The likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are without an iota of doubt the products of this tournament. It would be exciting to see who this season of IPL throws to the main league.

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5. And finally, one of my biggest reasons to look on for the IPL is none other than the West Indian great Chris Gayle. It’s his batting and spanking bowlers all and sundry is what makes the tournament just so extra attractive. The art in the manner he butchers bowlers of all statures is so much delight for the visual senses. I hope, this turns out to be another rollicking season for him and courtesy him, Vijay Mallya actually ends up winning something in an otherwise losing year on all fronts.

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