Sunday, March 24, 2013

How much celebration is ok ?

YAAY ! India beat Australia 4-0 ! Can you believe it ? We beat them Aussies 4 NIL.
But, but, this came after we lost 4-0 at Australia. What is the point ? This win doesn't prove anything. We are no better than them - both win at home and lose away.

But still, we beat Australia 4 Nil. That is a BIG DEAL. No ?
No, it is not, because we just lost 2-1 to England. At home. That proves that we are no good.

But, but, we did Australia 4 Nil no ? Surely that must count for something...
No, this is the worst Australian team ever. There really is nothing to write home about.

Oh come on, still we beat Australia 4 Nil - ok it was at home and against a not very good team, but we did what we could - right ?
No, completely useful - because we will get walloped in South Africa....

I don't know man, still winning 4-0 is commendable...
No, no, no - these were on dust bowls and mud cakes, not real pitches....

I give up.....

But hey, at least give credit to our young players please. They did well.
Naah, useless. Doesn't prove whether the batters can play pace and bounce or swing and seam. No good fast bowlers still.. And spinners are useless anyway outside the subcontinent.....

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pup Fiction

pup [puhp]  noun, verb, pupped, pup·ping

1. a young dog, puppy.
2. Nickname of the greatest non retired Australian batsman.

Before Australia came to India, Michael Clarke had scored 1 triple century, 3 double centuries and 1 single century since the start of 2012, in his last 12 test matches. He was in the form of his life and was arguably the best batsman on the planet. He promptly went on to score a fluent 100 in the first innings of the test series at Chennai. 
Since then, something remarkable has happened. He has been dismissed 5 times out of the 6 innings that he has batted, by the same bowler - Ravindra Jadeja. To say that Ravindra Jadeja has made him his bunny would be an understatement.

One of the wickets was extraordinary enough to create some really silly journalism

Not only this, some people have been inspired to create what I might call some fiction on wikipedia.

But jokes aside, what we are seeing is the emergence of an extremely talented all rounder in the test arena. Right now, his bowling is creating all sorts of trouble for the opposition, but as someone who has 3 triple hundreds in First Class cricket, it should not be long before the runs start coming for Sir !

Here is a possible explanation of what has happened - just think of Michael Clarke's innings as bullets :)

PS: Fun Fact: India's favourite ring tone gets its name from 2 characters of Pulp Fiction - Jadeja and Clarke - I mean - Pumpkin and Honey Bunny.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Cricket Australia: Daring to think beyond Test Cricket ?

Just about 17 years ago to the day, Australia were coincidentally also in Mohali. On 14th March, 1996, Australia and West Indies played one of the best ever World Cup Knock out matches - with Australia winning the semi-final by just 5 runs. It was a game, that I watched a little bit - with eyes red from the soul crushing disappointment of the previous night.
17 years later, Australia cricket provided me (and many cricket fans), a rather interesting event of dropping 4 players from their squad from the next test match on account of not completing certain presentations (apart from other things). Well, much amusement was had at the Aussies expense today - on twitter. I for one generally don't believe in kicking a man when down, but hey - who can let go of such opportunities. 
Nevertheless, while the postmortem of this rather bizarre event will no doubt remain ongoing for the next few days and weeks, I found a couple of rather interesting news articles in the Aussie newspapers.
The Australian carries the article: 

A certain domestic cricket coach is mentioned there - who appears in another story as the main subject. But before that, another headline - this time from the Herald Sun:

Australia's cricket mismanagement has created an unmitigated disaster, writes Gerard Whateley

And finally, the aforementioned coach has generated the following headline: 

Phil Hughes's coach accuses Cricket Australia of denying him preparation time ahead of India tour.

Take all this in together and you have a cricket side, which to an outsider like me, appears to be in disarray. And while it is all good fun to see the once all conquering Aussies - a little down, a weak Australian team cannot really be good for a cricketing universe, which has barely a handful of countries who take the game seriously.

Coming back to today's events, going by the standards of journalism set in the summer of 2011, I could accuse Cricket Australia of arrogance today. They are probably denying the paying Indian cricket public of seeing the best Australian cricket team in the next 2 tests. Perhaps they just made a mockery of test cricket with their complete John Buchanan-isation of selection. Note: They have had problems in the past, but they were dealt in a different way perhaps. Nevertheless, these are their internal matters. But just one last point before I end. If you read Clarke's statements from the interview, the below paragraph struck out for me.

"We can't accept mediocrity here. This is the Australian cricket team. Maybe I am biased [but] there is a big difference between this team and other cricket teams. If you play for Australia there is a lot that comes with that and standards, discipline, culture that is all a big part of what we are talking about here."

I wonder what he meant, when he said, there is a big difference between this team and other cricket teams. Was he implying that Australians happen to have a superior cricketing culture, tradition etc etc compared to everyone else ? Perhaps they do. But how did he come to this conclusion ? What did he mean when he talked about standards, discipline, culture ?  Not that it matters, but just for the record, the last Australian cricketer who played in such a manner (with their standards, discipline and culture) that I became a fan, made his test debut way back in November, 2005. Since then, I haven't really been impressed by any of their lot. But then, that's just me.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

On Wenger

Is Arsene Wenger still up for a fight ? Does he look motivated enough for his job ? Does he want to make Arsenal win trophies ? Does he want it bad ? Like, Real Bad ? Does he think he can turn it around and make things right ? DOES HE WANT TO WIN ?
The answer to all these questions in my opinion is YES. Like a very big YES.
However, is he capable of turning this around ? Is he capable of motivating his players to do greater things ? Does he make the right decisions in the transfer market anymore ? Does he still have the knack of unearthing gems and making them world class players ? Can he still get Arsenal to play great football ? Can he make Arsenal successful once again ?
The answer to all these questions in my opinion is NO. Sadly, NO.
My lack of faith in him for the present and the future does not mean that my gratitude for what he has done in the past is any less. These are two different things. Just like what he feels he can do and what I feel he can do.
These are my opinions and only my opinions and I state it respectfully. 

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