Saturday, July 29, 2006

Now some REAL breaking news

Today has been a phenomenal day for cricket newshunters.

First comes the preview of ex-India coach John Wright's autobiographical book Indian Summers where he expresses both reverence and reservations regarding skipper Sourav Ganguly. I guess after a 5 page email it is a whole book that Sourav now has on his plate.

Soon after we get the confirmation that Shahriyar Nafees of Bangladesh is growing in stature as an opening bat with every game.

Then comes the predictable stuff: early dismissal of both Pakistani openers in their second innings (too) on the 3rd morning at Old Trafford. By now it has almost become a part of the deal.
And then the one we all forgot to check out on: The 1st test between Sri Lanka & South Africa at Colombo! Sure we knew that the guests were all out for 169 and that not a single wicket fell yesterday as Jayawardene and Sangakara remained undefeated on double centuries at the end of 2nd day's play yesterday. But that only meant terribly one-sided fare and little more.
Now it means a little more to the record books though - Sangakarra stopped 13 short of a triple century and Jayawardene stopped 26 short of a quadruple. Yes - 374! They have also broken the record for the highest partnership for all wickets with their 624 run 3rd wicket duet.
Pakistan batsmen may learn of that development at Colombo and even find a reason in it to console themselves. After all Pakistan's position in the 2nd Test is vastly better than Ashwell Prince's South Africans, having conceded a lead of only 342 runs compared to South Africa's 587.
That was consolation for Pakistan, but what of South Africa? Well they always have Jaques Kallis. He may just urge his teammates on to another impossible mission by simply pointing out that the lead may be 13 runs short of a winning one!

Cricket buzz

Psychiatrists and plastic surgeons of Hampshire, in no particular order, are having a tough time attending to an unprecedented number of female visitors from various age groups. All of them have a common reason for depression: Not getting that sms even after sighting Shane Warne.

While on medicine, sure you already heard about the invitation received by half the English side for turning up as live demo during a session on 'Joints: All that can go wrong will go wrong' at the world sports medicine forum? Insiders say the boys are sore about the invitation, coming as it did only after the Pakistan Board refused it.

By the way, guess who are the fastest of friends in the Pakistani team?
The openers, of course! They spend so much time together in the dressing room.

Meanwhile, Irfan Pathan has instructed a ghost writer to start work on his autobiography. It will be titled 'The sine wave'.

His skipper Dravid is looking grumpy these days. Reason: He sees no further scope of using the word 'historic' for describing India's away performances in future tours. 'Historic' found its way into the Indian skipper's larynx at the time of 2004 Pakistan tour, charted its course through Zimbabwe and other controversies, got itself another skipper and exhibited lasting power in its new abode till the recent West Indies tour. Some fringe players of India expressed secret envy at the h-word's knack of ending up as every Indian skipper's favourite.

Glenn Mcgrath comes back to international cricket and immediately wants Troy Cooley to make him a 'faster' bowler. The university of biomechanics would do well to stop their usual arm twisting fare and check these Australians for intake of some strange potion that reverses ageing.

The seeds of doubt were sown as Australia kept inducting new players aged 30 that continue to improve with age, and now this Shoaibesque desire from the monumental metronome after attaining grandfatherhood in a veteran Australian side! Reincarnation is a favourite theme these days; and who can say with any authority that John Buchanan was not Getafix in an earlier birth? On that note, I am willing to bet my earnings that Merv Hughes is none other than Obelix reincarnated.

Accomodating international guests is going to be a problem in the sparsely populated Caribbean isles during 2007 world Cup. The West Indian team have discussed the matter and graciously agreed to "take a trip on a sailin' ship" for the nights they have to spend at venues most pressed for hosting space. Maybe the smart Calypso guys plan to maximise performance by staying bouyant.

There's some opposition from the selectors though: Brian Lara's overbearing desire to be a captain is an area of concern with that gesture, they point out.
[sources: unreliable]

Thursday, July 27, 2006

5 all out

A side in Yorkshire got themselves all out for 5 runs, all extras.
These were some of the explanations on offer:

"It was a very, very dodgy wicket." Henry Webster, chairman of Yorkshire side Goldsborough, comes up with an international-quality excuse after his side were dismissed for 5. None of the runs came off the bat
"We almost got a run but the batsman turned it down because he'd just been hit on the foot the ball before." Goldsborough captain Peter Horseman explains how it could have been so much better
[courtesy: cricinfo quotes]

The Yorkshire Post says: The team's captain, who perhaps understandably did not want to be named, described the experience as both "surreal" and "embarrassing".

To their credit Goldsborough came back and immdtly hit back at the opposition to get them 2 down (with again only 2 extras scored). However the opposition, Goldsborough's North Yorkshire neighbours Dishforth and division four leaders, scored the winning run with no further loss.
That winning run was reportedly the first run to be scored off the bat in the match! Besides putting up that brave defence for not scoring a single run with the bat the skipper of the losing team Goldsborough had more aces up his sleeve.

"When we were nought for four I jokingly said it would be strange if we were all out for ducks," said the captain. "But I certainly didn't plan it like that."

"You would have thought even when we were seven or eight down someone would have got an edge or something to get a run."

If it is any consolation, the side was a second XI. Amazingly all ten Goldsborough batsmen were out caught, which means all hit the ball but none scored.

A fan of the side summed it up just right at Goldsborough cricket club's official website:
"I know it was wet on Saturday, but nobody expected so many ducks."

[Indiatimes article here]

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The madness is here

As speculated in the previous post the Indian ISP's are indeed blocking blogspot blogs like the one you are reading now. Amit Varma of suggested a few solutions that enable Indian readers to keep visiting their favourite blogspot blogs till this madness is over (one hopes it will be). The easiest of them I guess is to simply visit and type in the relevant blogname in the box there. Alternatively you can directly go to the desired blog by keying in on your browser address bar [e.g. for visiting Pavilion View you need to type]

Update, 20-Jul-06: The reign of blogblock is over, it seems.......

Classic sledges - and we all are having some BIG reasons to use them

Here's a load of these sledging masterpieces painstakingly uploaded by some blessed soul on the wiki. And no sooner than I devour the stuff I get completely valid reasons to use them.
Amit Varma writes:
"The block on Blogspot blogs that I mentioned here seems to be spreading across ISPs."
There's a real possibility that you may not be able to visit this and other blogspot blogs unless you opt for the solutions suggested by Amit.

The Ashes 'war' turning out to be a hoax...

What else do you say when a team said to be harbouring a big dream finds excuses left and right to stop trying to win a Test match as early as middle of the 4th day? Decision making is indeed tough business when a long injury list adorns your first choice team sheet; but the English are doing their chances no favour if they constantly allow opposition to sense that they are content trying to 'save' games that they should really be disappointed not to win. Even the 'memorable' triumph at Mumbai 2006 spoke more of Indian surrender than English conquest.
With each cricket match this English side plays the talk of making a war out of Ashes 2006-07 sounds more like a desperate shout devised to conceal murmurs that English cricket is steadily going back to its defensive days of the 90's minus Vaughan's leadership, that they are happier letting opponents lose matches than them winning it, that the English would be more than happy to look for a handful of draws when they land in the Southern enemyland a few months later. And we all know the result of taking that approach against Australians, right Mr. Nasser Hussain?

Friday, July 14, 2006

When Greg Chappell takes over from Marcello Lippi

Amit Varma fantasises about the Indian cricket team playing football, World Cup ishtyle.

Brilliant buggers

Osman Samiuddin vents out his take on all that is wrong about Pakistan cricket and also the amazing 'right's that manage to outweigh them on such regular basis. Makes for good reading if you like the brand of cricket played by the Pakistani bunch.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The impatient Crowe

All of you must have heard of the fable where a patient crow keeps dropping pebbles one by one inside a pitcher till he succeeds in drinking the water inside it. Well here's a Crowe that is quite unlike the legendary bird, at least when we think of the patience aspect. Going by indications this one rather loves picking up stones from such a pitcher and dropping them on unsuspecting soft targets.


'I can be replaced, everybody else can be replaced. But, at this moment in time, Fred (Flintoff) can't be replaced because we haven't got anybody else in the country who can bat at six, bowl at 90 mph and stand at slip. I don't think you'll ever replace that."

That was English quickie Steven Harmison on the eve of a long-dreaded Fred-less Test for the Englishmen against formidable Pakistan. Even for a person as used to high praise as Andrew Flintoff of late, that beautiful thought from a peer must have pride of place adorned in frames of gold on some wall in the Flintoff household supporting most things dear to Andrew.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Now for the Strange World cup

For those who are still in the dark about the Cricket world Cup in its 'Frankenstein 2007' avatar (like I was, until Pratik pointed out in a cricinfo post) this link may be helpful. It is a rather strange format that strains to be foolproof and compromises the basic duration of a quadrennial showpiece in the process. Mutual isolation of the host countries renders the DNA strand like structure of the tourney all the more insufferable.

Come to think of it - the tournament lasts from March 11 to April 28......ONE AND A HALF MONTHS! ICC may as well have "Who awakes wins" on their logo. Seriously hope all the teams are allowed 16 man squads instead of the customary 14 (hotels permitting, of course - learnt that there'll be acute shortage of those!). The last thing we want is a final where a limping Pakistan team struggle to put up 200 on a belter and half-dead Indians struggle to chase it.
As for the Frankenstein part I can only pray that the apex competition in the game does not achieve the opposite of its basic aim of popularising the game beyond its present bounds. The 2003 edition of the Cup was not too successful in that respect, other than the bursting ICC coffers.
There are people that watch cricket once every four years, and they were virtually shooed away by a million inconsequential (mis)matches that had to be endured before the real action started - and ended soon after. Maybe enlightenment will dawn upon ICC some day of this auspicious millennium and they will be able to see that the world Cup is not exactly the stage where cricket lovers around the world would love to see fledgling sides learn their trade.
Dividing the 16 teams in four initial groups instead of the usual two is the first step the 2007 World Cup rulemakers have taken to curtail those 'promotion games' (cannot find any other words for those matches after the soccer world cup where even the 32nd ranked team looks consistently capable of causing an upset) . But in the process the Cup gets an overly long 'Super 8' phase that worries me no end. 24 more matches will be played during this phase, after the 24-match group league, and then only are we allowed to enter knock-out teritory. Hope you're still reading....
On the flip side, that very stage actually offers the cricket world a rare chance to compare the real strengths of so many leading cricket nations in the one day format while playing against each other. [I mean, even the semis and the final may pale in comparison to that cricket feast]. Reminds of the mini world cup of 1985, this Super 8...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Ask You: 03

Sanath Jayasuriya scored 150's in consecutive ODI's [5thODi vs. England, and versus Netherlands yesterday). I cannot recall that to have ever happened. Am I right?

Update: Jagadish says I am indeed.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The 6-6-6 men for Australian batsmen

Cricket funda: Hadlee's comet comes once in 29 years

The only 2 bowlers to take modern Australian batsmen for breakfast, lunch and dinner over full series, Sir Richard Hadlee and Harbhajan Singh, were born on the same day, 29 years apart.
Corollary: If we extrapolate that occurence then someone born somewhere on the 3rd July of 2009 may grow up to manhandle Aussie batsmen again.